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Girls NAI 7s Brackets Full Roundup

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Girls NAI 7s Brackets Full Roundup

Provo surprised many on Day Two. Alex Goff photo.

Champions were crowned at the NAI 7s in the girls brackets.

We've got some pictures, some videos, and some thoughts.

Get more on The Rugby Advantage winning the Girls Elite here>>

Girls Elite

The Rugby Advantage held off Majestics to win it all. Use the link for more. While this was a competitive bracket, it was fairly clear that the top three, TRA, Majestics, and Pasefika, were somewhat ahead of the rest.

Girls U18s

This was a fascinating bracket. Provo entered both a U16 and a U18 team, but really it was mostly the same players—there were some U18-dedicated players on Provo playing only in the U18 bracket, but for the most part it was a bunch of U16 players. On Day One they won the U16 games by wide margins. But it was a bit of a bridge too far as injuries beat the team down and the coaches decided they could only play in one knockout bracket. 

Despite being in a position where they felt strongly that they could win the U16 bracket, the team opted for the more difficult U18 knockout rounds. The coaches liked the idea and the players, said Coach Wesley Biutanaseva, wanted the challenge.

"We are trying to expose them to good competition," said Biutanaseva. "We want them to compete at a higher level and not have it be easy for them."

So they opted to shoot for the U18 Cup.

They came into the knockout rounds not even having won their pool as the Sacramento Harlequins had beaten them on this third game of Day One. Eagle Mustangs dominated in their pool and the San Mateo Wolverines won all three of their games and didn't allow a point while USA South and Washington Academy of Rugby tied in their clash to decide tops in Pool 4.

But it was all shaken up in the playoffs. San Mateo finally allowed a try, actually two, but kept it together to beat Bitterroot Koa. The Harlequins held off WAR and Eagle had to really work for it against Kahuku. Provo? No Problem against USA South with a 24-5 win.

Both semifinals were close (in fact the same scoreline) and both showed how competitive this bracket it. The Harlequins edged San Mateo 24-19 and Provo beat Eagle by the same score—center Vasiti Turagavou broke through for the game-winner for the Steelers. The team's kicker and one of their best defenders and playmakers, she was a finisher, too, when needed.

So to the final and a rematch between the Harlequins and the Steelers. In that game Provo, now perhaps a bit more rested as they were only playing in one bracket, turned the tables. Halfback and flyhalf Phoebe Biutanaseva ran the attack superbly and scored two tries, both at crucial moments, with Zion Stone setting up the scorers,  to help pace Provo to a 24-17 victory.

It was a wild result given that the Provo team was so young. Halfback and flyhalf Sela Uluave played every minute of every game and was superbly consistent with a smart rugby mind. Laura Pulu led from the front at prop, making smart decisions and showcasing excellent ball skills and the ability to get the offload even when two players tackled her. Another forward, Skye Scholpy was a ball hawk and just worked enormously hard.

All of that combined nicely for a Provo team we will see again.

Eagle beat San Mateo for 3rd, Bitterroot beat USA South for 5th, and WAR took 7th over Kahuku. Hawkeyes ran out two squads and they took 9th and 10th, respectively, bouncing back from 1-2 records on Day One. Rock, Try Time, Rush, and Pleasanton followed on.

Girls U16s

With Provo out of the playoffs all eyes turned to Belmont Shore, which outscored pool opposition 160-0. Hawkeyes and Rhinos also looked solid. But Rhinos upended Belmont Shore in the semifinals while Hawkeyes hit their stride with a 24-7 quarterfinal win over Lakewood and a 27-0 shutout of California Grizzlies in the semifinal.

It was a tense final with very little in it as both defenses were strong. A conversion was the difference and Hawkeyes won 12-10. 

Belmont Shore won big to take third over the Grizzlies and Atlantis edged Lakewood for 5th. With Provo relegated to 8th due to pulling out of these playoffs, Guam took 7th. For Guam this might be a bit of a disappointment because they were 2-1 on Day One, but even their losses on Day Two were close. Guam had arrived at NAI 7s for the first time two years ago and the girls had to latch on with another team. Their growth in numbers and in execution has been impressive.

Girls U14s

Local Utah Cannibals were very quick and stayed strong in contact, beating San Mateo 19-7 in the final. Los Al Tribe held off Atlantis for third. Belmont Shore took 5th, losing only twice, both times to the eventual champions. Legendz was 6th, SacPal Amazons 7th, and Sacramento Harlequins 8th.