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Rocky Gorge brought home the NOVA Ruggerama 7s trophy by defeating Schuylkill River, 40-26.

Original Post by By Evan Lappen of RUGBYTODAY | 07.11.16

Mirroring its success in 15s, Rocky Gorge brought home the NOVA Ruggerama 7s trophy by defeating Schuylkill River, 40-26. Gorge was lucky to survive pool play and then edged Northern Virginia (NOVA), 12-10, in the semifinals. The young team composed of mostly newly recruited college players met the undefeated Schuylkill River in the final. The Exiles beat Gorge earlier in the day, but in the final, Gorge pulled away late to earn its first Mid-Atlantic 7s qualifier victory. In the Women’s Premier bracket, Scion Sirens won its second straight qualifier besting NOVA, 29-12.

On sweltering hot Saturday at Morven Park in Leesburg, Va., 38 teams in five divisions gathered for the Mid-Atlantic Conference’s second national qualifier. For the Men’s Premier division, NOVA, Washington, Pittsburgh, and the Washington Irish were in Pool A and Schuylkill River, Rocky Gorge, Baltimore-Chesapeake, and Norfolk in Pool B.

NOVA and Schuylkill River emerged from pool play undefeated with Pittsburgh and Rocky Gorge advancing with the next best records. Pittsburgh went 2-1 in the early rounds, while Gorge was 1-1-1 and needed help to reach the next round. In the semifinals, Gorge clipped NOVA, 12-10, and Schuylkill River bashed Pittsburgh, 31-14.

“It was up and down for us as we didn’t play very well in the pool games,” Rocky Gorge 7s coach Chuck Moore said. “We are still coming together as a 7s programs and we are very young. We are still figuring things out and we squeaked through to get into the semifinals. In the semifinals, we finally got everything together and beat NOVA on the last play of the game.”

The final was rematch between Schuylkill River and Rocky Gorge where Schuylkill won 19-7 earlier in the day. In an incredibly close scrappy game, Schuylkill led 21-14 at the half. The clubs exchanged tries to begin the second half until Aki Raymond tied the match for Gorge at 26-26. With two minutes left, Nick DiMichele and Raymond scored back-to-back tries off kickoffs to seal the 40-26 victory for Gorge and earn their first qualifier win.

“It was a back and forth game and they were up five minutes into the second half,” Moore added. “We came back and at the three minute mark, we scored a try and won two kickoffs in a row and scored tries off them immediately to go up… They finally decided to pull it together as a team and play defense. It all came together for us.”

For the Women’s Premier, the Scion Sirens dominated the competition on their way to 29-12 tournament title win over NOVA. Scion scored 186 points in five games and did not surrender a point until the final. In the eight team bracket, Scion, Pittsburgh, NOVA, and Philadelphia advanced to the knockout stage. Scion blanked Philly, 31-0, and NOVA handled Pittsburgh, 29-14, in the semifinals.

The third leg of the Mid-Atlantic 7s series is next Saturday in Columbia, Md. for Rocky Gorge’s Slug 7s.

Updated 17:49 – 25 Jul 2016 by Randy Helsman


Northern Virginia (NOVA) bested Schuylkill River, 19-15, to win the Men’s Premiere Division

Original From RUGBYTODAY By Evan Lappen | 06.28.16

The Mid-Atlantic Conference began its summer 7s series on Saturday with the Wilmington Rugby Club’s Blue Ball 7s at Alapocas Run State Park in Wilmington, Del. A total of 31 clubs came together representing five divisions to start the 7s season. In the Men’s and Women’s Premier finals, Northern Virginia (NOVA) bested Schuylkill River, 19-15, to win the Men’s and Scion edged Philly, 24-14, on the Women’s side.

The Men’s qualifier included a six team field with Schuylkill River, the Pittsburgh Pandemonium, and Washington in Pool A and NOVA, Baltimore-Chesapeake, and Rocky Gorge in Pool B. Last year’s MAC 7s Champions, the All Army 7s, is not participating in the conference this summer.

NOVA emerged from pool play unscathed followed by Rocky Gorge with a 2-1 record. Washington and Schuylkill River also advanced to the semifinals with a 1-1-1 records. After blanking Rocky Gorge to start, NOVA survived a 7-5 scare from Washington and beat BC to close pool play. For Schuylkill, it tied Washington, beat Pittsburgh, and lost to Rocky Gorge, 19-10.

In the playoffs, Schuylkill River won its rematch against Rocky Gorge, 24-5, and NOVA edged Washington, 19-10, to reach the final. The semifinals set up a final between two teams that have historically excelled at 7s in the Mid-Atlantic.

The cup final was one of the closest matches on Saturday with NOVA completing its undefeated run with a 19-15 win over Schuylkill. Both teams exchanged tries over the course of the game with Adam Henderson and Brady Harrington scoring for NOVA and, finally, Toshi Palamo touching the ball down to win the game.

Commenting on the match, NOVA coach Clarence Williams said, “We had some good fortune. It was back and forth game. Schuylkill was tough as always and they played solid defense and were fit and committed.”

“We were fortunate to keep possession in the last moments of the game,” Williams added. “We had a lot of phase play and we were able to push over for the game-winning try. We were able to get through a really tough defense by sticking to our patterns.”

The Women’s qualifier featured seven teams with Scion, NOVA, Pittsburgh, and Philly advancing out of pool play. In the semifinals, Scion beat NOVA, 19-12, and in the one of the narrowest victories of the tournament, Philly clawed past Pittsburgh, 26-24. For the final, Scion came out on top winning 24-14 over Philly to claim the first place prize.

The summer 7s series in the Mid-Atlantic continues in two weeks with the Battlefield 7s in Leesburg, Va. on July 9th.

Updated 18:00 – 25 Jul 2016 by Randy Helsman



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Updated 17:39 – 25 Jul 2016 by Randy Helsman

One of the most successful 7’s programs over the last decade, Schuylkill River RFC adds a new layer to its young, but storied history.

Schuylkill River 7’s launches U23 Academy Team

Philadelphia, PA-

One of the most successful 7’s programs over the last decade, Schuylkill River RFC (Philadelphia, Pa), adds a new layer to its young, but storied history. Beginning this summer, Schuylkill River is proud to announce the formation of its U23 7’s Academy that will compete throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. SR has tabbed one of nation’s most well-known and renowned coaches, William “Biddy” Boyle, to guide this young squad.

“For the last couple of years, we fielded 3 to 4 sides a weekend many of them almost entirely made up of college players, so this is decision was easy to make and actually long overdue” stated SR 7’s Director, Pat Boyle (no relation to Biddy Boyle). “Now we have given these young athletes an identity and we know it will only fast track their development.”

The U23 Academy Team will train side by side with SR’s Men’s Team creating a true pathway for up and coming 7’s players. Regardless of age, any player talented enough will still compete with SR’s Premier Men’s side, but the U23 Academy will serve as a vital tool in preparing the next generation of great 7’s players. SR’s renowned coaching staff will individually track each player, communicating with their College coaches and Touring Side selectors about their development.

Chris Ryan, Head Coach of SR 7’s added, “We hang our hat on developing 7’s rugby players. We aren’t a club, nor want to be one that flies in players for tournaments. The Academy side is the next level of enhancing our ethos of developing rugby players. We finished 6th in the country last year with every player living locally, 8 of which were 23 or younger, and not one international (1st thru 5th place at Nationals in 2015 all had at least 1, many placing below SR), so we aren’t just saying these things, we truly believe it and the results bear it.”

For new U23 Academy Coach, Biddy Boyle, it’s just another notch in his long history of developing rugby players. Most recently, Coach Boyle has been aiding in the development of Atlantis U19 side which recently won Vegas 7’s as well as resuming his duties as 7’s Coach at the University of Delaware since their reinstatement. “My work with the U19 Atlantis team has really reinforced my beliefs in what works in rugby. We have been lucky enough to have that group for a couple tournaments and practices and the results have been amazing. It is not a group of superior athletes thrown together and said go win. It’s not to say they aren’t great athletes, but the key was they actually got to train together a bit and results followed. The same is true for my new role with SR’s U23 side except it takes it a step further. These athletes will train and play together all summer long. Whatever their goal is SR Men’s side, College All-American, an Atlantis cap, or hopefully the Eagle’s for some, our program will fast track that goal.”

Schuylkill River’s 7’s program we still field multiple Men’s side this summer, but it’s clear they will have many young players pushing them every day. Schuylkill River’s 7’s program is open to all athletes 18 years or older regardless of experience, or 15’s club affiliation.

Pat Boyle concluded with saying “You can pay a lot of money these days for camps and other types of instruction in our sport. Those certainly have a place, but the feedback we have gotten from college coaches is a summer in our program where you are training and actually playing every week far exceeds the camp setting. Sides targeted specifically for the U23 group I think will only lead to more local players choosing our development path. We are honest, we don’t tell kids you’ll be the next Eagle if you play for us, but certainly tell them we can take their game to the next level and if a player’s next level is the Eagles then our coaches will get him there.”

Any U23 or men’s player interested in joining should contact Pat Boyle, Director of 7’s.

Schuylkill River’s 7’s program was established in 2008. Since that time, SR has qualified for the USA Rugby 7’s Nationals 6 times, winning the MAC Championship 4 times and finished 6th at the 2015 USA Club National Championship. The program has produced 4 USA National Camp invitees, 7 Collegiate All Americans, and over 25 players have gone on to play for US select/touring sides.

Updated 17:51 – 25 Jul 2016 by Randy Helsman


The week that was, is and will be ….

The Exiles travelled to Pittsburgh on Saturday and ended up earning a 20-20 draw. Matt “The Hawk” Henderson scored a try and Bob Rosato scored twice. Owen Jones earned a “Jones-Bro” hat trick which consists of a penalty kick, conversion, and a black eye.

The Exiles currently sit in third place but have a home game against Norfolk coming up so it appears that we control our own destiny in our quest for a home playoff game. According to Coach Bill Jalbert we’ve got our work cut out for us and it’s time to grind hard. One up tackling must be our top priority.

Captain Randy Helsman’s view is that it was a tale of two halves. Oddly enough both sides played better/more aggressively against the strong winds because you had to run it out instead of relying on the foot. Though it’s not an ideal outcome a tie allowed us to come home with some points from one of the tougher spots to travel to.

The Troop had a clear mission on Saturday, travel to Happy Valley and get a win in order to qualify for MAC playoffs, and I am happy to report that thanks to our emphasis on friendship the mission was accomplished in a 41-17 victory. Coach Michael “Arizona” Clark’s win streak has already crossed international and state lines and now he can add Centre County PA to the municipalities that have felt the wrath of his victory march.

Try scorers in this match includes Sea Isle’s Finest Frank Feola X2, Austin Lucas, Tim Lowe, and John “Hines” Hines Jr X2. Dan Callahan’s foot was golden as he added 4 conversion and a penalty in very difficult conditions.

According to Coach Arizona, after struggling with kick offs and the winter conditions, the team was able to come together and get an early lead by working our system and playing stingy defense. We were able to make up for our mistakes with our strong scrumming and our ability to move the ball.

Captain Dan Callahan stated that Troop’s ever rotating ensemble of players looked good this weekend. We overcame adverse weather conditions and a long drive to get the win and Captain Callahan thinks this team looks ready for the playoffs. As a Kutztown Golden Bear Dan has less than fond memories of Penn State so it also felt good to get a victory on their campus.

The Nomads travelled to North Penn on Sunday and tied 15-15. According to Coach JB both teams fought to the end in sloppy conditions. The tie brings the Nomads record to 1-1-1 (2-1-1 overall). Scoring for the Nomads were Keyon McCloud X2, and Alandy Fleury (1/2 on conversions, 1/1 on penalty kicks). Congrats to David Barksy on being named Nomad of the Match. His leadership in the back 3 really shined through.

The Otters unfortunately were snowed out this weekend against Warwick and are looking into make-up dates.

Friends and Family Day is this weekend!
At Pennypack on Saturday we’ll have an Old Boys game against Harrisburg followed by D3 hosting North Penn and D1 hosting Baltimore. This will be a family friendly event so please make an effort to be there and spread the word to your loved ones.

On Sunday the Nomads are home against Blackthorn and the Otters travel to Elizabethtown.

The Exiles have a big home game on April 30 against Norfolk and could use as much support as possible on the sidelines. Troop has qualified for playoffs starting May 7 so we’ll be sure to update everyone once we know where that match is taking place. We are hosting a 7s tournament on May 21 for High School, College and Men’s sides and anyone who is interested in entering a side can reach out to me directly.

Updated 22:38 – 11 Apr 2016 by Randy Helsman