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Rumors of the death of the 7s All-Star Championship are greatly
However, RUGBYMag.com sources say the event may well undergo some significant changes.
The 7s NASC events for both men and women were left off USA Rugby’s recent
release of championship venues and dates. The reason for that, said USA
Rugby Director of Rugby Operations Jim Snyder, is the event may well be
changed in how it is run, who plays in it, and where it’s held.
As a result, USA Rugby opted to hold off announcing it. The organization’s choice to avoid any mention of the 7s NASC has led some to speculate that the tournament might go the way of the Men’s Senior 15s NASC – eliminated from December for a replacement tournament at another time, and then forgotten.
Snyder said that won’t happen to the 7s NASC.
“The default scenario is that we go back to the way it’s always been,” he told RUGBYMag.com. “Letting it disappear is not an option.”
However, USA Rugby and, reportedly, USA 7s coaches, would like to change
the event. Since the 7s NASC has never succeeded in drawing a lot of fans –
certainly not as many as the club 7s draws – the event seems to be moving
toward being simply a national team trial.
If that is the case, perhaps the best option is to have the tournament held at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. The USA coaches would have significant input into what players are selected, and would also work with territorial coaches to discuss coaching philosophy and their approach to High Performance.
“It could become a combination of a tournament and a combine,” said Snyder.
Currently the 7s NASC is a key selection vehicle for the USA women's 7s team. But it has not been so for the men; more widespread scouting and competitions, and Al Caravelli's long tenure as coach, means he is rarely surprised by an All-Star performance. That fact, however, isn't reason enough to kibosh the tournament altogether.
Timing for this tournament is still in question. The USA 15s MNT is expected to play a World Cup warmup test match on the second weekend in August. Therefore, the 7s Club Championships were moved back to August 20-21. This leaves less of a window for the 7s NASC to be played. However, if this becomes more of an Olympic team trial, perhaps money would be available to make it easier to bring players in a week after the club championship, rather than the traditional two weeks.The upshot is that the 7s National All-Star Championships will be held, in some form, this year. But it may change, and could even change drastically.