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The New England Prime is another new program that is entering the NRU 7s scene this summer. The Prime is the result of a merge between Middlesex and Mystic River. Both clubs are based out of Malden, Mass., which is a small city just north of Boston.
Last summer Middlesex finished seconnd in the Northeast series and went on to take seventh nationally. Mystic River struggled throughout the 2013 season, as they were overwhelmed with injuries. Typically, each club practices a mile away from one another; however, they started to work together with the start of the Northeast Olympic Development Academy. Eventually, both organizations decided to join together to make a strong program that can compete on a national stage.
“The big thing for us is getting our team of new players to jell together,” said co-head coach Josh Smith. “We hope to improve each week so we can peak at nationals.”
Coaching Staff: Co-Head Sevens Coaches: Kayne Bubb and Josh Smith
Notable Returning Players to watch:
Chris Frazier: Frazier, coming from Mystic River, just finished a tremendous career at Northeastern University. He is a great athlete who crossed over to rugby after Northeastern’s football program folded. Due to his size and speed, he has seen playing time at a plethora of positions in 15s, including No. 8 and wing. As an experienced player who's played at the Las Vegas Invitational and the Collegiate Rugby Championship, Frazier should be a standout at prop this year.
Evin O’Driscoll: Evin, another Mystic River player, will be featured mostly in the centers this summer. The Irishman is coming off of a phenomenal Man of the Match performance for the NY Rhinos at the Super Sevens Exhibition. He is a dynamic player with great skills that brings experience to the squad.
Jared Collinson: Collinson had a remarkable season last year for Middlesex. The speedster is one of the best finishers in the series with a phenomenal work rate off the ball. He is also a strong defender and should be one of the top try scorers for the Prime this year.
Jon Kokinda: The high motor hooker has great skills and excellent field vision. Furthermore, he is one of the most experienced players on this team. He suffered a leg injury during the LVI in January, but should be back in form for this summer.
Aaron Smith: Smith is another Northeastern player who brings knowledge to this side. He has played in the CRC on two occasions and has traveled on two trips to 7s Nationals with Middlesex. He is a reliable forward that has a good mind for the game.
Notable New Players
Jon Feldman: The Stony Brook graduate is making the switch from Long Island to the Prime for this season. He is a quick, playmaking scrumhalf and flyhalf that can read defenses to set up his teammates, as well as be a dominant attacking threat himself.
Notable Players that may not be returning this season
Dimitri Efthimiou: Efthimiou suffered a torn ACL last summer during a training session prior to the World Club 7s in London. The coaching staff hopes he can make a return midseason. As an accomplished player with great athleticism, Efthimiou would be a lucrative addition to the Prime.
Vini Daley: Daley is a powerful center who was one of the best NRU players last season. Unfortunately, he suffered a very serious leg injury at the World Club 7s in August. After months of arduous rehabilitation, Daley aspires to make a midseason return.
Diego Maquieira: Maquieira suffered a shoulder injury at the Collegiate All-American Camp this past week. The coaching staff is hopeful he will make an expeditious return to the pitch for 7s this summer.
ODA Players Playing For the New England Prime: Chris Frazier, Diego Maquieira, Evin O’Driscoll, Dimitri Efthimiou, Vini Daley, Jon Feldman, Jared Collinson, Jon Kokinda, Aaron Smith, Aaron Reich, Adnan Kawuma