Saturday, August 26, 2017

RugbyTown 7s Cup Down To Four

And then there were four. After two hard fought days the RugbyTown 7s are down to four Cup semi-finals. Rugby Utah, the Ramblin Jesters, the British Army, and Fiji will duke it out tomorrow to see who wins the title and the $10,000 prize.

Give the big fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor would come not long after their match it was only fitting that Rugby Utah and Azul would figuratively trade punches in one of the best matches yet at the RugbyTown 7s. Neither side wanted to give an inch as they opened quarterfinal play but in the end someone had to win and a superior second half was good enough to give Utah a 24-19 result.

Utah looked to have gone up early when Kenny Scott touched down in the corner less than 30 seconds into the match. However, despite the conversion having already been taken the referee noticed on the big screen replay that it looked like Scott had gone into touch. The ref called for the TMO and reversed the call. Despite that setback Utah was relentless early and soon Joseph Nicholls and Don Pati would execute a great give and go to give Nicholls the score.

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Azul punched right back. They've been one of the more physical sides all weekend and they used their physicality to muscle over a try via Colton Cariaga. The conversion was good and the match was knotted up at 7-7.

The game changed when Ahmad Harajly was shown a yellow for a high tackle on Nichols. With the advantage Don Pati would score to give Utah a 14-7 lead at halftime. More physical play from Azul would have them level the score once again to the start the second half with Duncan van Schalkwyk scoring.

The teams then traded great tries to leave it at 19-19 with just a minute left. That is when former BYU star Josh Whippy was able to create some space on the sideline and run in for the winning score. It was a physical match but one that showed great defense and attacking rugby from both sides.

The second quarterfinal match saw the most lopsided score. The Ramblin Jesters have been the class of the weekend outside of their setback against Atavus on day one. They beat the Air Force, who were playing their sixth match of the tournament, 38-0.

In the third quarterfinal the British Army jumped out to a 12-0. Tiger Rugby didn't help themselves when they had a player sent to the bin for a dangerous tackle. However, they were able to kill off the ball and even had a chance to score. Unfortunately they couldn't make it happen and suffered another player sent to the bin, albeit they stayed at six men as the first binned player came back on. Still, the Army were extremely clinical and led by a couple of tries from Craig Edwards were able to score timely tries for the result. The halftime score was 17-0 before finishing at 17-14 thanks to a couple of late tries, including one at the hooter.

The last quarterfinal saw unbeaten Army up against Fiji. The Fijians didn't look that strong early in the tournament but started to come on as the tournament progressed. The Army looked good from the start but also had to play an extra match in the heat to claim the Armed Forces crown. It might have been that fatigue that played a part in the first try. The Army simply through the ball into the hands of Samisoni Viriviri who quickly went the other way. Just like that Fiji were up 7-0.

Coming back the other way the Army had a good chunk of possession deep in the Fijian end. However, the Fijian defense was up to the task as they earned a turnover to relieve the pressure. Waisale Serevi thought he had a try soon after but good defense from the Army pushed him into touch. Fiji would maintain the bulk of possession and just before the stroke of halftime added a second try to lead 12-0.

Viriviri added his second try not long into the second half. The Army were able to rally somewhat after that but at that point Fiji were in firm control. Dion Crowder had a couple of great tries, including a Houdini act on one, to cap off the game. The Army did score a late try to get on the board. Final score: Fiji 31-5 Army.

Play gets underway on day three of the RugbyTown 7s at 1:00 p.m. et/10:00 a.m. pt.

Cup Quarterfinals

Utah 24-19 Azul
Jesters 38-0 Air Force
British Army 17-14 Tiger Rugby
Fiji 31-5 Army

Cup Semi-finals

Utah vs. Ramblin Jesters
British Army vs. Fiji

Plate Semi-finals

Azul vs. Air Force
Tiger Rugby vs. Army

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