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The first day of the USA Rugby Club 7s Nationals is in the books with all teams having completed pool play and the quarterfinals of their respective playoffs. The Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic had strong showings as both of their respective qualifying teams reached the quarterfinals.
The most compelling game of the round of eight was a rematch of last year’s Cup final. The Seattle Saracens lost 17-7 in pool play to an 1823 side that swept the Central region and met their old Rival Old Blue who went 3-0 in the pool stage.
Seattle jumped out to an early 12-0 lead on the New York side but Nate Augsperger did all he could to keep Old Blue in the match. He scored a well-deserved try to cut the lead to 12-7 and after falling behind 19-7, busted through for a long run that was capped off by Richie Kirkland in the corner. Alex Schwarz scored his first of the game after chasing down a kick but the conversion was missed and Seattle maintained a narrow 19-17 lead.
Old Blue had a chance to steal the game on the last possession of the match. It appeared as they had done so after dotting down in the corner but the referee ruled that the pass was forward. The final whistle blew and the reigning champs move on the semi-finals tomorrow.
On the same side of the bracket, Mystic River and the US Army Selects battled for the right to take on the Saracens. This game proved to be the least competitive match of the Cup Quarters as the Mystics scored the first 24 points of the contest and only conceded a try as time expired to earn the victory. Jared Collinson dotted down twice for the boys from Malden, Mass., who controlled play throughout.
On the other side of the bracket, the Denver Barbarians pulled away from Schuylkill River to earn a berth in the Cup semis with a 21-10 victory. River jumped out to a 5-0 lead but a dazzling try from Kevon Williams, who took home the MVP at the NSCRO Collegiate Rugby Championship, evened the score for the Barbarians. Current USA Eagles player Martin Iosefo had a strong game and scored a dandy of try to take the lead before Ben Pinkelman sealed the victory with a try in the 10th minute.
The final game of the quarters saw 1823 outlast the Austin Blacks 14-5 in a defensive struggle. The Blacks struck first in the first half and took a 5-0 lead into the break. Lindsay Crook and Alex Elkins, however, scored tries in the second half to give 1823 a date with the Denver Barbarians.
The Cup semifinals take place tomorrow. It is being streamed live at usarugbytv.com with games starting at 9AM ET.