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Eight hours of rugby in Columbia, Md. was cut short on Saturday when lightning and rain stopped the Mid-Atlantic Conference’s Slug 7s.

Originally Written By Evan Lappen, RugbyToday | 07.18.16

Eight hours of rugby in Columbia, Md. was cut short on Saturday when lightning and rain stopped the Mid-Atlantic Conference’s Slug 7s just before the cup final matches in the Men’s and Women’s Qualifier division. It was determined that the finalists in each division would share the tournament championship and qualifier points. For the Men, Schuylkill River and Norfolk split the title and the Scion Sirens and Northern Virginia (NOVA) would be co-champions in the Women’s Qualifier.

Hosted by Rocky Gorge, the 26th annual Slug 7s featured over 560 athletes competing on 47 teams spread over five divisions. The Men’s Qualifier was composed of Schuylkill River, Baltimore-Chesapeake, Rocky Gorge, and Norfolk in one pool and NOVA, the Pittsburgh Pandamonium, Washington, and the Washington Irish in the second pool.

During pool play, one group was hotly contested, while the second had a clear winner. Schuylkill River beat Rocky Gorge and Norfolk convincingly and edged Baltimore-Chesapeake in a track meet, 43-38. Norfolk also advanced to the playoffs with wins over BC and Rocky Gorge.

In the second pool, three teams completed the opening round with identical 2-1 records. NOVA, Pittsburgh, and the Washington Irish ended up tied and NOVA and the Irish moved on based on point differential.

In the semifinals, Norfolk upset NOVA in an extremely close match, 10-7, and Schuylkill River slipped past the Irish, 15-5. With about 20 minutes to go until the start of the cup final, the tournament was called for lightning and Norfolk and Schuylkill River were named co-champions of the event.

In the Women’s Qualifier, Scion and NOVA were the runaway winners of the day poised to meet the final after going undefeated in all of their matches. Scion was especially dominant scoring 150 points, giving up only ten points, and blanking Philly, 53-0, in the semifinals. On the other hand, NOVA breezed through pool play outscoring its opponents 88-15 and was challenged by the D.C. Furies in the semifinals. Ultimately, NOVA persevered to win, 17-12. With sharing the first place tournament points, Scion and NOVA have basically locked up their tickets to Nationals.

With the Mid-Atlantic Championship next weekend at the Monk Vaughn 7s in Richmond, Va., it’s a three horse race for the Men with Schuylkill River, NOVA, and Rocky Gorge jockeying for position. Schuylkill River and NOVA have the inside track to advance to Nationals, but Gorge could break into the top two with top finish in the final tournament.

Updated 17:54 – 25 Jul 2016 by Randy Helsman


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