Just three weekends away from Club 7s nationals and many of the contenders are separating themselves from the pack.
A couple of squads can sit back and relax and enjoy early qualification, while some teams tighten their grip on the region.
Sunsplash 7s (Pacific South)
Belmont Shore looks to lock down two spots at nationals this weekend at the Sunsplash 7s. Both the Belmont Blue and the Belmont Gold teams are in prime positions to qualify through the Pacific South region, which gets two bids to nationals. Standing in their way will be the Oceanside Chiefs and OMBAC, but one would expect the class of Belmont Shore to pull through in this one.
On the Women’s side, defending national champion San Diego Surfers look to punch their ticket to Kansas City, but they’ll have to overcome a tough Santa Barbara team to do so. Santa Barbara won Sunsplash a year ago, and defeated a strong Berkeley All Blues team a week ago to claim third at their home tournament. Also at Sunsplash will be Tempe and Belmont Shore.
Willis Prediction: Belmont Shore Blue (Men), Santa Barbara (Women)
Rees Prediction: Belmont Shore Blue (Men), San Diego Surfers (Women)
Goff Prediction: Belmont Shore Blue (Men), San Diego Surfers (Women)
Saratoga 7s (Atlantic)
After three qualifiers, Old Blue and Mystic River have already locked in their spots at nationals, but how they are seeded entering the tournament will come down to this weekend. Old Blue took the first two qualifiers over Mystic, but in the most recent outing, it was the men from Boston who took first place honors. NYAC and the Fairfield Yankees will want to finish out the summer qualifiers with a good showing, but it figures to be another Mystic River, Old Blue showdown in the final.
New York leads the way in the region, but Boston can still push them for first in the Atlantic North. Both teams performed well at nationals a year ago, and could be dark horses this year. Roots Rugby is also strong, and should continue to grow over the coming years. However, for now it’s New York that remains the team to beat.
Willis Prediction: Old Blue (Men) NYRC (Women)
Rees Prediction: Mystic River (Men) NYRC (Women)
Goff Prediction: Mystic River (Men) NYRC (Women)
It’s a consensus in Northern California, Life West is going to dominate.
The men have locked up a nationals spot with a super qualifier victory, so they can try out new combinations and rest tired legs.
The women can’t be stopped. They won their home qualifier a month ago and then ran off three more tournament wins since. This weekend Life West will get all their Eagles back from the Super Series.
Willis Prediction: Life West (Men) Life West (Women)
Rees Prediction: Life West (Men) Life West (Women)
Goff Prediction: Life West (Men) Life West (Women)
Savannah 7s (Southern)
Atlanta Old White and the Atlanta Harlequins are unstoppable down south. They’re both fresh off Hotlanta 7s victories.
Optimus is assembling a contender squad with sevens talent pulled from those USA South fifteens teams. Old White’s infusion of Life University players, Daemon Torres and George Phelan, puts them over the top in the south once again.
The Harlequins performed relatively poorly at Cape Fear, so while they can’t be touched in the south they clearly have some fine-tuning to attend to before nationals.
Willis Prediction: Old White (Men) Harlequins (Women)
Rees Prediction: Old White (Men) Harlequins (Women)
Goff Prediction: Old White (Men) Harlequins (Women)
Cin City 7s
The Midwest gets two bids, so it all comes down to this championship weekend in Cincinnati. The Lions hold the top spot with two qualifier wins. Detroit has a win and they sit just behind in second.
Metropolis might just be the most improved team in club 7s and they are not out of the equation.
The midwest is different because they don't rely on points they decide their bids this weekend. Play well this weekend and Metropolis can be that team sprinting to the terminal to catch a flight to Kansas City.
North Shore took care of business early in the season, but they left the door open for the Lions at Legacy 7s. Expect the Lions and North Shore to make nationals and thwart off anyone in their way.
Willis Prediction: Lions (Men) Lions (Women)
Rees Prediction: Metropolis (Men) North Shore (Women)
Goff Prediction: Detroit Tradesmen (Men) Lions (Women)
It all comes down to this one. It's a two-horse race for one bid between Beltway and NAV. However, Schulykill, NOVA, and Washington RFC are all teams that have proven to have an upset or two up their sleeves.
Beltway got off to a hot start with a win in the Rites of Summer qualifier. Schuylkill pulled off the impressive victory at the super qualifier to find themselves automatically qualified to nationals.
NAV seems to be peaking at the right time and they're hoping to continue their good form into this weekend's decisive qualifier.
The Mid Atlantic may just be the most captivating finish to the season.
Willis Prediction: Beltway (Men)
Rees Prediction: NAV (Men)
Goff Prediction: NAV (Men)
Show-Me 7s (Frontier): Columbia, MO
At Bloodfest, Rocky Mountain Magic held up well against some of the best teams in the country. Early in the day, they beat the eventual champion, Berkeley All-Blues. They fizzled out later in the day and fell to ARPTC Blue, but the Magic are nationals contenders.
The Magic don’t have too much competition in the area and that spells good things this weekend.