With the Elite division featuring more and more top teams that is making the Men's Aces division increasingly competitive. We thought we'd help get things going with a quick preview of each pool. Play begins on Thursday morning with play found on fields 16 and 17.
Pool A: Humless, Team Quebec, Arctic Legion, Titans Hawaii
Humless have been the top team in the division for the past few years. They consistently put together solid teams with a lot of players from Utah. That will be the case once again but they are going to have competition in their pool. Team Quebec may be known for their strong women's team but the men's team isn't bad themselves and could make a run.
Pool B: Army, Mana Rugby, West Valley Lions, Legacy Rugby
You could call Pool B the Utah pool with the West Valley Lions and Mana Rugby both from the Beehive State. The men's game in Utah is extremely underrated and year after year they produce good teams. They may not have enough to get past a fit Army team but that also depends on whether Army is bringing their top players or a more experimental team.
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Pool C: Upright Rugby, Denver 7s, New Orleans 7s, Nuts and Jugs (classy)
This should be the most fun pool to watch. They have three teams that will feel they can go far in the tournament. Upright Rugby are from Toronto and will have a good base of players to pick from. The Denver 7s is the second string side but given the depth in Denver they should be fun to watch. New Orleans haven't had some of the success they've wanted in the past few years but can still put together a very good 7s team.
Also, just a note. It's hard for rugby to grow in the country when teams name themselves Nuts and Jugs. They may think it's funny and that it doesn't matter but the image rugby portrays to the broader community is important. What do you think a mother or a prospective player would think if she saw a team named Nuts and Jugs?
Pool D: BC Rugby, Atlanta Old White, Bridge City, Hooligans Selects
BC Rugby should be the team to watch here. British Columbia is an extreme hotbed for rugby and they'll be a good team. Atlanta Old White always plays well and Bridge City from Portland has been producing good teams as of late. We expect BC Rugby to be there at the top but there could be a surprise.
Pool E: Chicago Lions, The Selects, Cowrie 7s, PNRFU Loggers
This is another very strong pool. The Chicago Lions are one of the best domestic 7s players in the country. That said, they haven't had a lot of warm-up time before Vegas would could make an impact. The Selects are an invitational team that has amped up their recruiting this year and will have a couple of experienced players. The PNRFU should also have a lot of talent.
Overall, the Aces division is usually pretty wide open. We think that the Lions, BC Rugby, The Selects, and Humless will be there at the end.