Saturday, March 12, 2016

American Sides Wrap-up Vancouver Rugby Festival

There were a handful of American sides involved in the Vancouver Rugby Festival over the weekend. Some teams struggled while others saw a lot of success. This was the first year of the tournament, which runs parallel to the Vancouver 7s, and it's expected that more U.S. teams will enter next year.

Although the Women's Elite bracket didn't have as many teams as the LVI the quality was there with the Falcons playing Great Britain, Maple Leafs Red, and France, all teams with significant numbers of national team players on their rosters, just like the Falcons. Unfortunately for the Falcons it didn't go too well losing all of their pool play matches before winning their final match.

First up was Great Britain. The Falcons were competitive but lost 22-12. They then closed out day one with a 31-12 loss to to the Maple Leafs Red. On day two they met France in a rematch of the LVI semi-finals and lost 24-5 to finish out pool play. They then lost to the Maple Leafs White 31-10, the first place finisher in Pool B, before finishing up with a 19-0 win over the Aptoella Angels in a consolation match.

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The Stars similarly struggled in the Women's Elite. They similarly went winless in pool play falling to Aptoella 27-0 and the Maple Leafs White 39-0 in Pool B. That then meant a match against France where they lost 58-0 to end their tournament.

The Girl's High School All-Americans stormed through the U-18 bracket. They beat BCEY 33-0, the Washington Loggers 34-0, Edmonton Gold 48-0, and BC Rugby Development 44-5 and 57-0. For their part the Loggers beat Salmon Arm Gold 39-0 and 37-0, and Edmonton Gold 24-12, lost to the GHSAAs and BCEY 31-0 and 24-12.

The Stars men had a bit more success in the Men's Elite. They started pool play with a 17-0 win over the BC U-23s. Loui Fesolai, Antony Fitch, and Brad Jones each had tries. The team then lost to Fiji Blond 22-5 followed by a 22-17 loss to the Ravens in overtime. Matt Ryan had two tries and Brandon Baker one. Despite the losses credit should go to the Stars who had to battle illness and injury throughout the tournament. In their final match they lost to to BC U-23s in a rematch 20-7 with Lucas Hotton scoring the lone try.

The Central Washington women's team had one of the best tournaments among the American sides making it to the final of the Women's Open bracket. They beat the Grande Prairie Sirens 31-0 and the Valkyries 31-15 while losing to BC Rugby U-23s 15-14. In the semi-finals they once again beat the Valyries, this time 21-14. They lost to the BC U-23s 24-17 in the final.

TIAR"s Vancouver coverage is brought to you by Canterbury USA.

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