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Gorilla Rugby Looks To Shake Up Freetail, LAI

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Gorilla Rugby Looks To Shake Up Freetail, LAI

Gorilla Rugby from December 2018.

When Mickey Patterson was taking Eagle Mountain Rugby to a select-side 7s tournament for high-schoolers, he saw that three of his strongest players were going to miss it because they were playing with a major select-side in a higher bracket; Patterson looked around, concluded he had a pretty good group of athletes, and figured "maybe I can have an elite select-side team too."

And that's basically how Gorilla Rugby got going—a team with can't-miss jerseys and can't-forget talent is mixing it up with the big boys. The Texas-based select team will participate in the Freetail 7s December 30-31, and then go on to play in the Los Angeles Invitational as part of the LA 7s weekend at the end of February, and they're happy to take on anyone.

Teams, Schedule Set For Freetail 7s

The Gorilla team appears to be a mix of players from college teams around the country—AIC, Texas A&M, Kutztown, North Texas, Lindenwood, Arkansas—but there's a connection between them as these players are almost all former teammates or opponents from the Rugby Texas high school league.

"I like that they know each other and we benefit from that," said Patterson. "Six of the guys we're going to have at Freetail played with us during the summer, and they did really well."

Gorilla came close to qualifying for the USA Rugby Men's 7s Championship tournament, playing only college players. The results are evident Gorilla co-captain Dutch Patterson was named MVP of the Red River Conference 7s playing for Texas A&M. Evan Conlan has shown well at Lindenwood, and the team will likely welcome Tyson Lucas from Arkansas to bolster their playmaking ability, too.

LA Invitational A Massive Festival: Details

"That's not really a set rule that we're under 23 unless that' the rule of the tournament we're in," said Patterson. "It's just how it's worked out. We want to develop young players and get them understanding what it means to play at an elite level. Over the summer we were taking on the Dallas Reds, Austin Huns, and NOLA, and we did it with a bunch of 19-year-olds and stood up to them. 

Checkout Gorilla Rugby's Facebook Page for more info.

Watch for links to watch the Freetail 7s on Goff Rugby Report, or go here for tickets >>

For more on the LA Invitational and the various brackets there, go here >>