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HS 7s Action In NJ

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HS 7s Action In NJ

St. Augustine Prep in New Jersey is hosting a tournament as part of the Rugby New Jersey Fall 7s HS season.

The fall 7s has started to become a bigger part of the high school rugby calendar in the Garden State, and this year teams such as St. Augustine, Christian Brothers, St. Peter's Prep, Union Mudturtes, Morris, and New York Rugby.

Fall 7s has been expanding around the country as more athletes who don't play football have opted for the high-pace tournament style of 7s. 

Marywood and Doylestown host tournaments this coming weekend in Pennsylvania, while in New Jersey, Morris, Hudson Catholic, and Union will all host later this season.

St. Augustine won the opening tournament at Christian Brothers Academy, held at CBA. Andrew Whiteman led the Hermits' effort and William Bumbernick was also solid in a good team effort.

But Hermits Head Coach Brendan Towell said playing 7s in the fall is an important part of bringing young people to the game. Winning is important, yes, but it's more about recruiting.

"I live in Pennsylvania but work in New Jersey so I see a little bit of each," said Towell. "Both unions are invested in 7s in the fall and what they see is tat we're showing that rugby can attract multi-sport athletes. If you want to grow the sport, you want to make it more available."

Towell said athletes who play baseball and lacrosse, both spring sports (like 15s rugby), have shown an interest in rugby, and fall 7s is a good way to bring them in.

"We have our guys from football and soccer, and we have our guys from lacrosse and baseball," he said. "We want you to continue to play the sports you love. We practice the ideal of 'both, and' instead of either-or. This has worked out really well for us. Our athletic director loves rugby and we have support from our football coach and our lacrosse coach. If you want to attract more kids to rugby in America, you have to make it available to them."