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Falcons 7s Showcases Some Special Talent

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Falcons 7s Showcases Some Special Talent

Fallbrook players: Left to Right Julia Tippin, Emily Weber, Liberty Benitez, Jordan Duncan, Tiahna Padilla, Ace Dalton, Brianna Beath, AJ Haughey

The Falcon 7s opened the door to elite-level 7s for women and girls players, and we saw some talent rise to the top.

Julie McCoy, who heads up hosts American Rugby Pro Training Center (ARPTC), ran the tournament, and pulled triple-duty as live-streaming commentator, was impressed with the standard of play, especially on the high school side.

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“I was impressed with the level of play, especially from Summit and Fallbrook,” she said. “Their game knowledge, their coaching, and how they play 7s together as a unit, and how they made adjustments on the fly— I was blown away.”

Rhino Rugby Academy made the final against Fallbrook playing a bit more of a 15s-style game, “and it worked well for them,” said McCoy. “They had some impressive individuals.”

But it was interesting that existing school teams Fallbrook and Summit were right there with them. Fallbrook, behind an MVP performance from AJ Haughey, beat Rhino in the final to take the HS bracket.

The South Panthers took the consolation bracket. Iowa, with some impressive ability to bust through the middle, also showed flashes.

For the smaller women’s bracket, there was no MVP, mostly because the ARPTC Hawks, which featured several players on USA Rugby’s national team radar, did what would be expected of them and won through.

The Hawks assembled with only eight players, and rather than add players, McCoy called on them to battle through with just the one sub. In 7s, you have five substitution moments, meaning you can sub someone on and off—you just have five substitution actions per game. This rule allowed the Hawks to keep players rotated through.

However, on Day Two, with one player in HIA protocol, they had no such luxury, but they pulled through anyway.

In the end, though, win or lose, this was about exposing players to the next level.

“You could tell which programs were putting development first, and that’s what we want to see,” said McCoy. “Overall we saw some really good rugby, and I was impressed with what those programs are doing. It’s something we want to build on.”