Eighteen teams qualify for Club 7s Nationals through regional qualification

LAFAYETTE, Colo. - Over half of the field that will compete at the 2016 USA Rugby Club 7s National Championships at Dick's Sporting Good Park in Commerce City, Colo., qualified for the premier sevens event of the summer over the weekend. Ten men's teams and eight women's teams now have their sights set on a run to the Cup Final of the Aug. 13-14 Championship weekend, including five clubs that will be making their very first Club 7s Nationals appearances: Austin Huns, Austin Valkyries, women of Charlotte and Little Rock, and the Tempe Ninjas.

Frontier

Pioneer 7s - Salt Lake City, UT

The Club 7s National Championships will not feature the Denver Barbarians for the first time since 2000. The seven-time Cup Finalists lost to local rivals Glendale Raptors at Pioneer 7s after going undefeated in pool play. The other Semifinal saw the Kansas City Blues get past Rugby Utah to qualify Kansas City for Nationals. The Barbarians and Blues traveled to Salt Lake City tied for second place in the Frontier competition and, although the Blues were smashed by the Raptors in the Final, 34-0, Kansas City's appearance in the Pioneer title match punches its ticket to Club 7s Nationals.

Rugby Utah's National Development Academy side had already qualified for Nationals after taking first place in each of the first two Frontier events. The NDA out of Utah finished its home event in fourth after dropping its consolation match against Denver, 38-19.


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Mid-Atlantic

Monk Vaughn 7s - Richmond, VA

Northern Virginia Rugby qualified two teams to Nationals over the weekend at Monk Vaughn 7s. The women of NOVA held onto their second-place position in the Mid-Atlantic by reaching the Cup Finals, where they lost to a red-hot Scion Sirens, 24-12. Scion had already wrapped up its qualification process prior to the Monk Vaughn event. With the Mid-Atlantic competition completed, the Sirens will get to work on how to improve upon last year's 11th-place finish at Nationals.

The men of NOVA were in a similar position as their female counterparts heading into the final Mid-Atlantic leg. NOVA needed to place two spots ahead of Rocky Gorge to claim the region's second seed to Nationals, and the team did just that. NOVA placed third while Rocky Gorge settled for second after its unsuccessful attempt of knocking off Schuylkill River in the Final, 19-5.

2016 will mark the Exiles' sixth consecutive Nationals appearance. After reaching the Cup Semifinals last summer for the first time since 2012, Schuylkill River will not be taken lightly at Dick's Sporting Good Park.

Midwest (East)

Rock Hard 7s - Grand Rapids, MI

There were few surprises in the men's bracket at Rock Hard 7s as several top clubs readied themselves for this coming weekend's Midwest Championship. The region's top two clubs, 1823 and Chicago Lions, met in the Final, where 1823 prevailed, 29-19.

In order to reach the title game, 1823 took care of Cincinnati Wolfhounds, 29-17, while the Lions got past Cleveland Crusaders, 35-7.

Chicago Griffins Women's Rugby Club proved its first-place finish at the July 16 Duck 7s was no fluke by taking the top prize at Rock Hard 7s. The Griffins picked up wins over Chicago Lions and Youngbloodz, but were hammered by 1823 in pool play, 32-0. However, Chicago refused to let its poor form earlier in the day against 1823 hinder its confidence, and the Griffins topped the Midwest select side, 22-5, in the Final.

Pacific North (Northern California)

SFGG 7s - San Francisco, CA

It was a Life West-dominated day in San Francisco as northern California teams got their final run before this weekend's Pacific North Championship event. The Gladiators avenged a loss to NorCal Pelicans by defeating the young all-star squad, 24-19, in the Final. Life West will be joined by fellow northern California teams East Palo Alto Razorbacks and Olympic Club at next weekend's regional championship, where the Pacific North's Seattle Saracens and Westside Ronin will also be in contention.

The Gladiatrix of Life West earned the top seed for the women's bracket at the Pacific North Championship. The DII National Champions in 15s blanked the Berkeley All Blues, 33-0, in the final game of the afternoon. On July 30 a five-team field of the All Blues, Gladiatrix, Oregon Sports Union, San Jose Seahawks, and Seattle Saracens will duke it out for three spots to Club 7s Nationals.

Pacific South

SaMo 7s - Santa Monica, CA

A semifinal between Old Mission Beach Athletic Club and Santa Monica decided the Pacific South's second seed to Nationals, and it was the hosts that came out the victors. Leading OMBAC by three standings points going into the final regional event of the summer, the Dolphins' 19-5 win against their Pacific Rugby Premiership rival put them into the Final and their third consecutive Club 7s National Championships.

In the Final, Santa Monica went up against an already-qualified Belmont Shore side that won two of the previous three Pacific South events. SaMo 7s gave the boys from Long Beach their third tournament victory by outlasting Santa Monica, 12-7, in sudden-death overtime.

Red River

RRC South 7s - Austin, TX

By advancing beyond pool play of the Red River's third and final Red River sevens series, Austin Huns and Little Rock Stormers qualified for Club 7s Nationals - marking both clubs' first appearance at the Championship event. The Huns ended the day as the region's No. 1 seed by advancing to the Final, while Little Rock's afternoon ended with a 19-10 loss to the Dallas Reds.

Austin, however, was not able to win a second Red River event. Dallas, which was doubled-up by the Huns in pool play, ended its summer by beating the Nationals-bound side, 40-31.

South

South 7s Championship - Charlotte, NC

Two men's and women's clubs from the South's competitive region are now booking travel for Denver after reaching the Finals of the South Championship. Orlando has been dominant playing out of Florida all summer, and looked just as strong at the regional championship in Charlotte. The Lady Griffins outplayed Charlotte, which qualifies for nationals as the South's No. 2 seed, 15-12, in the Final.

After both squads made National Championship appearances in 2013 and 2014, neither Atlanta Old White or the New Orleans Royale placed at Nationals last summer. Both teams will be heading back to the Championship event with Cup Finals appearances this past Saturday. Old White got itself into the title game with a 31-12 defeat of Orlando, then preceded to breeze by the Royale, 28-5.

Of the four teams that will represent the South at Nationals, only Orlando played in the 2015 event.