Friday, August 11, 2017

Club 7s Nationals Preview: Men's Pool A & Pool B

With the Club 7s Nationals a day away we preview Pools A and B of the men's tournament.

Pool A: Austin Huns, Beltway Elite 7s, Bulldog 7s, Rugby Utah

Without question Pool A is the pool of death at this year's tournament and that is saying something given the depth of the other pools. Each team in Pool A has a chance at going extremely far in the tournament. It all begins with defending champions Rugby Utah. The select side has had another fantastic summer with a series of wins across the Frontier. They are deep and they come with plenty of experience. It often seems that people in the rest of the country overlook the amount of talent in Utah given that only until recently they've lacked a top men's club team. However, they have a strong combination of players that have played the game from an early age, played at a high level in college, and love to play open, attacking rugby. They won't be able to surprise as many teams this year but it's hard to not envision them going far again this year.

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All of that said there are plenty of trip-up matches in their pool. The Beltway Elite 7s are a team made up of some of the best players from the Mid-Atlantic. They are also extremely deep and very athletic. They had no difficulties winning in the tough Mid-Atlantic this year and we think they could be the favorites to finish second in the pool.

Bulldog and the Austin Huns will also have a claim for that as well. After a slow start the Steve Lewis led Bulldog team came on strong at the end of the Atlantic North season and seem to be clicking at the right time. Lewis always has his teams ready to play and with some 7s specialists on the team they know how to play in big tournaments. The Huns had a mixed season in the Red River but still have enough skilled players to make a lot of noise.

Prediction: Rugby Utah and Bulldog make it out of the pool.

Pool B: Dallas, Metropolis, Old Blue, Washington Athletic Club

Pool B has more traditional clubs than Pool A but clubs that are no less talented. Washington Athletic Club appears to be the favorite. They have incorporated a lot of players that have played for the Seattle Saracens in recent years and it is important to remember that no club has dominated 7s like the Saracens in the 2010s. The likes of Mike Palefau, Shalom Suniula, and others make Washington Athletic Club are tough side to beat. However, they haven't exactly played the toughest competition this year and did finish second to Life West in the Pacific North Championships.

Old Blue are another team with plenty of 7s experience. They also bring a talented and deep roster that is designed to go far. They were overall the best team in the Atlantic North this year and are accustomed to travelling. We think that they could even take the top spot over WAC.

Dallas and Metropolis have the ability to make some noise. Metropolis especially is a side that has some underrated 7s talent. If those players can make the most of playing at home they are our dark horse to go far in the tournament.

Prediction: WAC advances along with Old Blue who barely edge out Metropolis. 

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