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National Youth 7s Kicks Off on Brilliant Friday

irish rugby tours

National Youth 7s Kicks Off on Brilliant Friday

Alex Goff photo.

Quick notes from National Youth 7s and a lot of interviews.

Overall we have to say the standard of play was excellent—kids knew what they needed to do; they could pass and catch and tackle; they were smart and exciting to watch. In some respects, such as the girls goalkicking, and teamwork in all brackets, the standard was better than college 7s we have seen.

LA Tribe looked imposing in the U14s Boys thanks to some big strong lads and then outstanding pace and elusiveness—all combined with the ability to connect the two.

Sosene Schuster didn't start the opening game and apparently that stuck in his craw because when he did start all he did was score five tries.

Panther Academy pieced the pieces together very nicely. They did a superb job of bringing the different players together and had them working together nicely. They, like the Tribe, went 2-0.

LoCo out of Virginia exploded for a well-taken 2-0 day while a CATs team that took some players from the U14 Rookie Rugby league in Cleveland also impressed and won both of their games.

In the girls bracket Belmont Shore A was brilliant, with a nice combination of ball movement and strength. They were very quick on the ball and very quick to punish turnovers. Pasefika from the North Shore of Oahu was as strong and powerful as anyone, but they also could mix it up. Their punishing defense was a hallmark. Ofa Taumoepeau could handle all of that—strong in the tackle (and busting out of it) she also could make breakaways or set up her teammates.

Pasefika won two and lost none.

Going 3-0 was EIRA, who won their first game by a big margin and their last game by a big margin.

In between was a supremely tight clash with a Hawkeyes team that didn't back down at all. In fact Hawkeyes matches them try for try. The ended on a weird thing—Hawkeyes scored to make it 14-12. During the conversion attempt EIRA assembled for the restart, but got confused and lined up on the wrong side of halfway. Could Hawkeyes have restarted and just run in to gather the ball uncontested a scored again? It's a conundrum. Coaches from both teams thought that, or perhaps an offside penalty (EIRA was, technically, offside).

In the end the referee suggested a rekick and reminded EIRA where to line up. It's a debatable situation for sure. EIRA was able to kick to touch to end the game 14-12.

Hawkeyes will likely want another shot at EIRA.

It's all to play for in the U16 boys bracket with only Belmont Shore and Panther Rugby Academy unbeaten. Charlotte won in dramatic fashion, but were also upended by those pesky Belmont guys, EIRA edged rivals Atlantis but then lost 26-0 to Panther Rugby Academy.

The Panthers clawed San Diego 17-12.