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Swiryn at Elite City 7s

The second version of Elite City 7s kicks off this weekend at Greater Chester Valley Sports Association in Malvern, Pa. The overall field remains the same size, with four women’s teams set to compete for the first time and the men’s competition shrinking from 12 to eight.

On the women’s side, the newly minted club 7s champion American Rugby Pro Training Center will face off against the maiden Women’s All American 7s team, an All-Armed Forces side and Boston. ARPTC should be considered the favorite in a small but competitive bracket, which will see each team play one another on Saturday and semifinals and finals Sunday.

The Boston team, a part of the Northeast Academy, represents the greater Northeast and beyond, with players from Maine, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Hawaii, California and New Jersey. This squad scrimmaged with the ARPTC recently to get ready for the weekend.

The All American team is led by Brandon Sparks, who coached Cal’s women and led the Berkeley All Blues to a club 7s title in 2013. He is currently the men’s coach at Michigan. The All Americans draw players from all over the United States – West Chester, Penn State, Davenport, Chico State, Cal, Arizona, Michigan, Central Washington, Life and Life West.

The men’s side has taken a big hit from the inaugural event in Houston last summer in terms of participation. The defending champion, Seattle, is not back, nor are Denver, Washington, D.C., Dallas, San Francisco, Houston or Chicago. New to the competition are Atlanta, New York, and an Armed Forces team.

Organizers from some teams cited decreased financial support from USA Rugby for their decision to not participate, but the larger issue seems to be player disinterest due to timing and the length of the 7s season.

The tournament was held in conjunction with the Scotland test last June in Houston, which meant many players were getting ready for the club 7s season. This year, the club 15s season bled deeper into June than normal, and the next 15s cycle is already starting in much of the country, eliminating many players from those areas.

It also seems entirely possible that the club 7s season has become too congested as is. For many top players, getting around their respective regions for multiple tournaments in a club 7s series, followed by Nationals, Serevi RugbyTown and World Club 7s, is a big financial, professional and personal ask in and of itself. Throw in an extra coastal trip, and it becomes a bridge too far for many.

Nevertheless, Elite City 7s will provide performance director Alex Magleby, Men’s 7s coach Mike Friday and women’s assistant Richie Walker, all of whom will be on site, another valuable opportunity to take stock of some of the country’s top talent.

The tournament will be streamed live by USA Rugby

 

Saturday
10:00San DiegoBoston
10:20OhioPhiladelphia
10:40New York CityAtlanta
11:00Salt Lake CityArmed Forces
11:20Little RockWCAA
11:40BostonArmed Forces
12:00BREAK
12:40San DiegoPhiladelphia
13:00OhioBoston
13:20New York CityArmed Forces
13:40Salt Lake CityAtlanta
14:00Little RockArmed Forces
14:20BostonWCAA
14:40BREAK
15:20San DiegoOhio
15:40PhiladelphiaBoston
16:00New York CitySalt Lake City
16:20Armed ForcesAtlanta
16:40Little RockBoston
17:00WCAAArmed Forces
Sunday
8:00*W1*W4
8:20*W2*W3
8:40M Bowl SF
9:00M Bowl SF
9:20M Cup SF
9:40M Cup SF
10:00BREAK
11:00W 3rd/4th
11:20M Bowl Consolation
11:40M Bowl Final
12:00M 3rd/4th
12:20W Cup Final
12:45M Cup Final