Sunday, August 13, 2017

Utah Wins Second Straight Club 7s Title

Rugby Utah are back-to-back Club 7s champions after beating the Denver Barbarians 22-21 on a last second try. Utah had to work on their way to the championship but they did the right things and the right moments all weekend to defend their crown.

Denver had the bulk of the possession early with good runs from Eric Sykes and Cody Melphy. Utah caught a break a couple of minutes in when Barbarian Landon Peterson was shown yellow for throwing the ball away. From there it was simply a matter of staying patient and Utah scored via Joseph Nicholls. Utah nearly had a second try a couple of minutes later when they intercepted a pass but were correctly called offside.

The momentum swung back to Denver after Don Pati was given a yellow card for tackling a man in the air. Like Utah, Denver was patient with the match advantage and soon Michael Al-Jiboori was able to bounce off the defender for the try. At halftime Denver led 7-5.

Take the jump to read more.
Utah was able to burn some time off their yellow card at the start of the second half but Denver was able to isolate a Utah player and from the turnover Al-Jiboori added his second try. Still, great passing from Utah led to a nearly immediate response with Gabe Ruflin scoring. The conversion was off putting Utah down 14-10.

Denver kept pressing and soon had a champagne possession of their own. Devrin Young made an initial strong run  and then played give and go with Al-Jiboori and Max De Achaval before finishing the effort. That made it 21-10. Josh Whippy came right back himself to give Utah a chance with two minutes to go. That would be crucial with just seconds to go. De Achaval kicked the ball down the pitch trying to burn time off the clock but starting with Pati and then extending through nearly every Utah player on the pitch Josh Anderson scored under the posts to seal the win. A lot will be made of Denver's decision to kick away but at the same time Utah's counter-attacking abilities deserve credit.

To reach the  final Utah easily got past Belmont Shore while Denver needed a last minute try to beat WAC 26-21.

In the 3rd place match between Belmont Shore and WAC. Tyler Sousley scored to put Belmont Shore up 7-0. Pete Tiberio scored for WAC to even it up at 7-7. Another run from Tiberio led to a high tackle from Pono Haitsuka resulting in a yellow card and a penalty try. 14-7. Former England star Mat Turner then made it 19-7 at halftime. Each team traded tries to start the half but then another from Belmont Shore, their second in 30 seconds, brought it back close to 24-21 in favor of WAC. A try from Turner thanks to a great grubber from Tiberio gave WAC the cushion it needed for the win. The final was 38-19.

The Plate final went to Old Blue who beat Northeast rival Bulldog 19-14. Dallas won the Bowl. We'll update the rest of the winners and results later in the day.

Cup Quarterfinals

Utah 24-14 Old Blue
Belmont Shore 17-14 Chicago Lions
WAC 26-5 Bulldog
Denver 40-0 Life West

Cup Semi-finals

Utah 31-7 Belmont Shore
Denver 26-21 WAC

Cup Final/3rd Place

Utah 22-21 Denver (Final)
WAC 38-19 Belmont Shore (3rd Place)

Plate Semi-finals

Bulldog 27-7 Life West
Old Blue 14-12 Chicago

Plate Final

Old Blue 19-14 Bulldog (Final)
Chicago Lions 26-5 Life West (7th Place)

Bowl Quarterfinals

Metropolis 22-0 Austin
Dallas 5-0 Beltway Elite
Optimus 12-5
Santa Monica 17-15 Charlotte

Bowl Semi-finals

Metropolis 26-10 Santa Monica
Dallas 19-14 Optimus

Bowl Final

Dallas 19-5 Metropolis (Final)
Santa Monica 19-14 Optimus (11th Place)

Shield Semi-finals

Charlotte 33-7 Austin
Beltway Elite 17-12 Schuylkill River

Shield Final

Charlotte vs. Beltway Elite (Final)
Austin Huns vs. Schuylkill River (15th Place)

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