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A New-Look Club 7s Championships and What it Means For Players

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A New-Look Club 7s Championships and What it Means For Players

Action from the 2017 Club 7s Championships. Dropkick Photos.

The new-look USA Club 7s Championships is set for August with some significant changes afoot.

As you know, GRR concentrates on College and HS rugby rather than senior men’s and women’s rugby, but with collegiate players being such a huge part of the Club 7s scene—a team made up almost entirely of collegiate players won the men’s national championship in 2018—this is important news for players from every level.

USA Rugby’s splintering means that governance of the domestic game being handled by councils specific to the rugby constituency. With regard to Senior Club Rugby it means the end of those Competitive Regions (CRs), and now it is the Senior Club Rugby Council oversees the Club 7s Championships.

Here’s what we can tell you about the event:

1. There is a long-term plan to have teams qualify via local and national play with a points system. You play in certain tournaments in your area and also out of your area and accumulate points that qualify you for Nationals. 

Every former CR will host at least one tournament that allows teams from other regions to compete. These Super-Regionals would be for more points, and would allow strong teams in weak regions to get better competition and for those teams (and those who make the seedings) see what the pecking order is.


2. This year, with the COVID pandemic still having ripples around the country, the tournament plan is being modified somewhat. In regions where it is very difficult to play, clubs can gain an invitation to Nationals through performances in out-of-region tournaments, or through having a history of success.


3. The tournament will be keeping an eye on who clubs have on their roster. Yes you can, as has been the case in the past, form a club just for 7s. You can also compete as a 7s version of a 15s club. You can recruit players, such as college players, from outside your region or have someone move from one 15s club to your club for 7s.

You can even have someone come from overseas to play 7s for the summer. What you won’t be able to do is not play much all summer and then show up with a roster of players from all over the place that have no connection to your team’s home. So parachuting someone in just for the national tournament is a no-go.


4. USA Rugby doesn’t financially support domestic national championships anymore, so there will have to be an entry fee.


5. The date is set for August 14-15, but the venue has not been confirmed.


6. More than 16 teams can participate, with the top 16 playing for the Signes Cup (16 men’s teams, 16 women’s teams) seeded based on performance. The additional teams past seed #16 will still play, but they’ll compete for the Silver Cup. 

This is a way for teams that want to attend the national tournament to confirm that trip early. It allows those teams to plan travel, their fundraising, and their time management because even if they’re not in the top 16, they will go to the event.


7. Because of this format that will be room for teams that demonstrate ability on the field to get a later invitation.

 

All of this is the result of a lot of hard work from club 7s advocate and now USA Rugby Club 7s Commissioner, Howard Kent, who worked closely with Club Council member Erik Geib and other people in the new 7s Championships Subcommittee to figure out how Club 7s would operate going forward. He has been blowing this horn for a while, and as a result there’ll be a tournament this summer, and plan for qualification and operations going forward.

The upshot is this:

There will be a Club 7s National Championships

It will be held in Mid-August

College recruits will be allowed to play in it

If you’re recruited by a club that says it’s going to Nationals, that’s probably true

USA Rugby Player Eligibility Rules—Sevens Rules are Section 5 which is on Page 5>>