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Thursday, August 24, 2017

RugbyTown 7s Preview: Pool A & Pool B


As we mentioned in our squad announcements this weekend's RugbyTown 7s should be one of the best to date. The action kicks off tomorrow and will be available on The Rugby Channel.

Pool A: Denver, Upright Rugby Rogues, Spitfires, Tiger Rugby, Rugby Utah

The format of this year's tournament means that some very, very good teams are going to miss out on the quarterfinals. That is the case especially in Pool A where you have teams like Denver, Tiger Rugby, and Rugby Utah. Starting with the defending champions Denver they look like a strong candidate to make it three in a row. They bring back the core of the team that finished second at the Club 7s Nationals for the Denver Barbarians a few weeks ago. They've added a few players to that group as well like Walt Elder. With the addition of playing at home and sleeping in their own beds Denver should be raring to go. Players like Michael Al-Jiboori, Kevon Williams, Siale Maka, and Max De Achaval can carry any team.

Of course Denver (at least the Barbarians) lost out to Rugby Utah two weeks ago. There are few things that Utah doesn't do well. From top to bottom they have a roster that can defend and do something special on offense. They, along with Denver should be considered favorites to take the whole tournament. Look for Don Pati and the Whippey brothers to have a big tournament.

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Tiger Rugby are also bringing a very strong squad. JP Eloff has been around the Eagles 7s picture for awhile and after some injuries should be set for a big breakout. Nick Feakes has been one of the best college 7s players in the country the last few years as well. Throw in Connor Wallace-Sims and Naima Fualaau, both of whom have been with the Eagles 7s in the last year and they have a strong team. All of that said, the one player we have our eye on is Sebastian Kalm. After a big breakout year with the Ohio Aviators Kalm has flown under the radar a little bit. This weekend could see him coming out again.

The Upright Rugby Rogues and the Royal Air Force Spitfires are the two wildcards in the group. The Rogues are bringing a mixture of club and college players from Canada. It's not know what kind of team the Spitfires are bringing but they have traditionally been a very good side.

Prediction: We could see Tiger Rugby slipping in as a top two team but we're going with Utah and Denver.

Pool B: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy

Pool B is the Armed Forces pool which doubles as the Armed Forces Championship. The Army has traditionally been the top team in the division over the last few years and looks to be again this year. They haven't finalized their squad but based on their camp roster they have the likes of John Cullen, Mattie Tago, Anthony Welmers, Will Holder, Andrew Locke, and Dom Mauer available. Several of those players have been capped in 7s or 15s or have been in the discussion. With that type of squad the Army should not only make the top two in the pool but could easily make some noise in the quarterfinals.

We've only been able to track down rosters for the Army and the Navy so it may be hard to read some of the other teams. The Navy has traditionally been one of the stronger teams but they have also jostled with the Air Force in that regard as well. Playing close to their home base is a big plus for the Air Force. Also, don't count out the Coast Guard. They were the surprise team a few years back and have a camaraderie that is hard to beat.

Prediction: We're going with the Army and the Air Force.


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