GRR on X  GRR on Facebook GRR in Instagram GRR Vimeo Library GRR on YouTube RuggaMatrix America Podcasts Support GRR on Patreon

Panther U16s Targeting Another Trophy, This Time at NAI 7s

irish rugby tours

Panther U16s Targeting Another Trophy, This Time at NAI 7s

Panthers at National Sevens Youth Championships. Alex Goff photo.

Following on from their National Sevens Youth Championships win in Cleveland, the Panther Rugby Academy is looking to get another trophy at the NAI 7s.

The Panther program will field two U16 teams and will also compete in the U18 brackets. 

But right now let's have a look at this group that won the Youth 7s in Ohio.

Of that group of 13 that won in Cleveland, eight will be in Salt Lake City.

"And the expectation is to compete for the championship," said Coach Santiago Cuccarese. "The Elite team will be completed with some other great players from our Academy. Even though the calendar makes it difficult to secure some of our most experienced players, Salt Lake City, as well as Tampa and Cleveland, are staples of our program, and we focus our efforts on fielding competitive teams that showcase the value of Panther rugby."

Coming to to coach Panther is Tom May, who played internationally for England in 15s and 7s and had a hugely successful 19-year career as a professional rugby player, playing for Newcastle, Toulon, Northampton, and Lond Welsh at center, fyhalf, and wing.

His understanding of backline play and identifying space will be a massive addition to the Panthers.

He will work with the elites but he will also have an important influence on the other Panther teams. 

The Panther U16 open side will feature some of the emerging talent coaches have identifies.

"We expect them to become the core of the future U16s in the next few years," said Cuccarese. "As with any Panther side, the expectation is to compete for the championship.  These three tournaments in particular allow the Academy to assess the progress of each age group and its individual players; the data that we extract from these tournaments help us work with the individual players as they progress through their youth rugby careers."

See more about the NAI 7s at