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The Austin Blacks defeated the Oklahoma City Crusaders 26-14 in the final of the Austin qualifier Saturday to grab control of the Red River 7s Series.The tournament featured nine teams and an unconventional format. The teams were divided into three pools of three. Each team played two pool matches and were subsequently seeded 1-9 for the playoffs.
Pool A featured the Dallas Harlequins, Oklahoma City and the Austin Huns. Pool B grouped Bonobos, Little Rock and Angelo State together, and Pool C was home to the Dallas Reds, Austin Blacks and Alamo City. The Harlequins, Bonobos and the Dallas Reds all went 2-0, winning their respective groups and earning the top three seeds in the playoffs.
The 8th and 9th seeded teams played a play in match and faced Pool A winner, the Dallas Harlequins. The Austin Huns defeated Angelo State 24-12 for a date with the top seed. Shockingly, the Huns upset the Harlequins 14-10 and earned a spot in the semifinals.
Second-seeded Bonobos was the only group winner to advance to the semifinals. The Austin Blacks shut out the Dallas Reds 26-0 after falling to them 12-10 in pool play.
"The Boys were a little nervous and we made some structural errors in defense which let them in for a couple of tries early on," Blacks coach Tane Jericevich told Rugby Today. "In the first matchup we had to defend for long periods and they made it hard for us to obtain possession. When we met them again in the quarterfinals we made sure we didnt make the same mistakes and in turn we pulled out a good victory."
After blanking the Reds, the Blacks posted a second shut out defeating Bonobos 24-0 in the semifinals.
The Crusaders opened pool play with a win over the Austin Huns but fell to the Dallas Harlequins in their second match. With a fifth-place finish overall, the Crusaders met fourth-seeded Little Rock in the quarterfinals. The Crusaders defeated the Stormers and upended the Huns for the second time on the day to earn a berth in the finals.
The Blacks outlasted the Crusaders for a 26-14 victory in the final. With the win, the Blacks earned 6 points for the weekend and the top spot in the standings. Despite being dominated in possession, the Blacks managed to take home the win.
"Everybody was working for each other. the overall work rate was tremendous with everybody contributing to the victory," said Jericevich. "The team got better and better over the day. It was a natural progression."
Bonobos took the plate final with a shutout over the Huns.
The next qualifier will be held on July 12th in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
|Red River 7s Standings||Points||Austin||Tulsa||Houston|
|Oklahoma City Crusaders||4||2nd|