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Almost 100 At South All-Star Tryout

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Almost 100 At South All-Star Tryout

The USA South Panthers  held a well-attended weekend camp Feb 4-5 with a total of 98 boys and girls looking to be selected for one of several South all-star teams to play this year.

The South will be fielding a U14, U16, and two levels of U18 teams at the Las Vegas Invitational, and this was an open tryout in Roswell, Ga. The Panthers program's High Performance partnership with Tiger Rugby mean that former Eagle Nese Malifa, and longtime coach James Walker, worked with attendees on technical skills in the breakdown.

The added value of having these coaches at the tryout was two-fold, in that they helped raise the skill and understanding of the players, but also it allowed the Panthers coaching staff more time to consider selections. Malifa and Walker also provided their own eye for talent identification to the proceedings.

The Panthers will select a U14 Boys 7s team for the LVI, a new development as Program Director Mark Williams hadn't expected to get the demand for such a team. However, this past weekend he had 24 under-14 players looking to get better, and so the Panthers will field a U14 team in Las Vegas, and possibly also at the NAI 7s in Salt Lake City.

In addition, the Panthers overall program will select a South U16 Boys team, and a Tennessee Tri-Star U16 Boys team for the LVI. The Tennessee Tri-Star teams will most likely be all Tennessee players, but not necessarily. If there's a South athlete from another state who is close to South Panthers selection, he might be put on a Tri-Star team.

And at the U18 level, the Panthers will field a Girls U18 team in the Open and Elite brackets at the LVI, and two Tennessee Tri-Star teams (one all-Tennessee, another with some out-of-state players), and one South Panthers team in the Open bracket. Then a South Boys U18 tam will compete in the Boys Elite bracket, as well.

That's nine teams, with Williams overseeing things, and his wife, Theresa, running the logistics, and each team getting its own coach and manager.

"It's a big undertaking," said Williams. 

Players will be told they are in the player pool first, so they can make travel plans. Final selections are made at the two-day camp Feb 18-19 in Brentwood, Tenn.

South Panthers leadership:

Director of USA Rugby South - Kevin Kitto  k.kitto@verizon.net

Panther & Tri-Star 7’s Director - Mark Williams   mwilliams@rsucontractors.com 

Management & Travel - Theresa Williams   theresa@willtravelvacations.com 

Marketing & Communications - Dana Catron  xxrugby@gmail.com