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The Men’s Club 7s National Championships went pretty close to form on Day One, with the favored teams, for the most part, clinching quarterfinal spots after Round 2.
Barbos Escape, Mystic Flows
In fact, the only pool really in doubt was Pool A, where Denver’s opening-round tie with Atlanta putting the Barbarians in big trouble early. Meanwhile, Mystic River, paced by Jared Collinson and Jeron Pantor, won two early games and took control of the pool. The only question was, who would join the Boston-area club in the top eight? Atlanta needed to beat Belmont Shore Gold in order to overtake Denver, but failed, falling 19-12. The Barbarians, then, entered their last game - against Mystic - needing only to take the field. In the end, Mystic won that game 15-5, and both moved on.
Vets Do The Job
In Pool B, a depleted Washington Athletic Club got a full day’s work from Mike Palefau and Peter Tiberio and unleashed Shane Moore when they could. Metropolis - highly-touted by FloRugby - won its opening two but looked ragged in doing so.
Somehow WAC battled on, and a late try from Ian Wright secured a third win and tops in the pool.
Heavily-favored Old Blue looked every bit the favorite in snapping past Kansas City and Cleveland Academy. Gavan D’Amore-Morrison and Connor Wallace-Sims were superb in a strong team effort. Dallas wasn’t as dominant, beating Kansas City on a last-minute try from Dylan Carrion and Cleveland Academy on a late try from Chad Joseph.
In the clash between 2-0 teams, Dallas led well into the second half, but Wallace-Sims tried it up, and then when Chris Saint was yellow-carded at time expired, D'Amore-Morrison was the hero and Old Blue ran the table for Saturday.
Pool D was also a case of one team overwhelming everyone else. Bulldog, made up mostly of college players, and with two more veteran Central Washington grads helping out, was hard to stop. Jihad Khabir and Marcus Tupuola kept making tacklers miss, and Aaron Matthews and Cristian Rodriguez kept scoring tries.
A veteran Belmont Shore Blue team enjoyed a big day from Keni Nasoqeqe and Adam Channel, as teams keyed on Viliame Iongi. This group is too experienced to get frustrated at that and won its opening games easily.
These two teams met in a classic battle of experience and strength versus youth and vitality. Nasoqeqe’s try put Belmont Shore up early, but some excellent work from Juan Romero tied it and tries from Mike Nelson and Harley Wheeler put Bulldog up 17-7. Nelson and Tim Stanfill produced some audacious plays and also served as the blue for the young Bulldog team, and they ended up 3-0.
Here are the Cup Quarterfinal Matchups
Mystic River vs Metropolis
Bulldog vs Dallas
WAC vs Denver
Old Blues vs Belmont Shore
Consolation Cup Quarterfinals
Beltway Elite vs Cleveland Academy
Belmont Shore Gold vs New Orleans
Kansas City Blues vs NYAC
Santa Monica vs Atlanta Old White