NY 7s Provides Crucial Test For Elite Teams

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The New York 7s may be during the American Thanksgiving weekend, but the Canadians give thanks for the long-standing tournament every year.

The largest one-day rugby tournament in the Western Hemisphere, the NY7s will be live-streamed by FloRugby November 25 from New York, New York; the event features top teams from all over the world in multiple brackets.

"The New York 7s is a really good one-day competition, one of the best we have participated in," said Tyler Leggett, who coaches the Upright Rugby Rogues program out of Ontario. "There is always very good competition from both sides of the border and it gives our teams a chance to compete against some good programs."

Upright has won the NAI 7s at the U18 level and will bring a U18 Boys Premier team, two U18 Girls Premier teams, and a U18 Boys Open team to Randall's Island this year.

"We are very fortunate to have a talented group again this year with a few newcomers that have really helped boost the overall level of skills and athleticism," said Leggett. 

First-year Rogues Jonathan Darrell, Kevin Oh, and Kaleb Delaney have all made a very positive impression early. 

"We will be looking to our veterans to step up and ensure that the standard of play that they have been accustomed to is maintained," said the coach. "Players like Andrew Easson, Liam Moran, and Declan Finerty will all play big roles for our squad. And lastly, David Richard has been invited into the National 7s pathway and recently competed with the Junior Maple Leafs at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Bahamas. David is highly talented athlete and definitely has a bright future ahead of him in 7s. He is fortunate to have a great supporting cast and will need to take on more of a leadership role with the squad as we prepare for NYC."

"We will be looking to our veterans to step up and ensure that the standard of play that they have been accustomed to is maintained"

Upright is coming off a disappointing NAI 7s where the boys team lost in the quarterfinals.  

"It was tough not to have done as well as we had hoped, but we didn't have the same team we had in 2016 with only four players returning this summer to compete," said Leggett. "This, coupled with the fact that we lost three to injury on day one, and I knew we would be in tough to place in the top three. Still, this is 7s.... tournaments are physically demanding and if you can't keep a healthy roster, especially of your top players, you're not going to fair too well.

"In the end, I was very proud of how the boys stepped up and played eventual champs, EIRA. Ultimately, I just don't think we were able to match up, athlete-for-athlete, and we came up short."

Video: Upright Rugby v USA Rugby South

And that's why the New York 7s is so crucial for Upright and teams like it. The Rogues need that competition and need that opportunity to rebuild and rebound.

"I believe the athlete profile is changing. We are seeing more and more phenomenal athletes, bigger, faster, and stronger, get involved in rugby in the U.S. As a Canadian program coming down to the U.S. for the past four years, it is apparent that we simply don't get enough exposure to athletes of this calibre and 7s rugby at this level. It is a real privilege for us to be able to come to tournaments like the New York 7s. Not only do these competitions provide for us an opportunity to compete but they also provide a real insight to the growth of game in the U.S. and makes us astutely aware of what we need to do in Canada to keep up and be successful."

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For the second year in a row, Arkansas won the Red River Rugby Conference 7s championship, defeating Texas A&M 26-12 in the final on Saturday in Stephenville, Texas.