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Saratoga U23s Win Bermuda International Sevens

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Saratoga U23s Win Bermuda International Sevens

All the teams line up.

The Saratoga U23s won the Bermuda International 7s over the weekend, defeating Dartmouth in the final.

The tournament featured 10 collegiate-level teams, including the local team, the Bermuda Stars, and early on it did seem like Saratoga and Dartmouth were on a collision course. Early on Day One, Friday, the teams tied 12-12.

Through Pool Play on Friday, both Dartmouth and Saratoga came through unbeaten. Dartmouth edged Bermuda and shut out UHSP to go 2-0-1, while Saratoga won in comfortable shutouts over Bermuda and Rowan.

But, interestingly, no team came through the day with a perfect 3-0 day. Iowa State beat Dartmouth II and Rowan, but were upended by Iona. Meanwhile, Iona also beat Norwich 5-0 but lost to Dartmouth II. It was that kind of day. 

Day One

Rowan 19-12 Dartmouth II
Iona 31-5 Iowa State I
Dartmouth I 12-12 Saratoga U23
Bermuda Stars 43-0 Iowa State II
Iowa State II 5-30 UHSP
Iona 5-0 Norwich
Dartmouth I 17-14 Bermuda Stars
Iowa State I 33-12 Dartmouth II
Saratoga U23s 38-0 Rowan
Norwich 38-0 Iowa State II
Dartmouth I 36-0 UHSP
Iowa State I 24-19 Rowan
Dartmouth II 26-14 Iona
Saratoga U23s 22-0 Bermuda Stars

With 10 teams in action the top eight played in the quarterfinals, while the #9 team, Rowan, and the #10 team, Iowa State II, didn't play in the Cup Quarters and went straight to the Plate Semis.

That made for three (!) Plate Semifinals, with the four losing teams from the Cup Quarters plus Rowan and ISU II playing off. Those teams were seeded based on those results (somewhat mirroring the way the World Rugby Series works now). Iowa State II lost via forfeit to Iowa State I, and UHSP lost by 19 to Dartmouth II, so those two played for the Shield.

The closest losing team from the Plate Semis, Rowan, then faced Iowa State I for the Bowl.  

Day Two

QF: Iona 12-7 Bermuda Stars
QF: Dartmouth I 48-0 UHSP
QF: Norwich 17-5 Iowa State I
QF: Saratoga U23 19-5 Dartmouth II

Plate SF: UHSP 19-38 Dartmouth II
Plate SF: Rowan 15-19 Bermuda Stars
Plate SF: Iowa State I W-L Iowa State II

Cup SF: Saratoga U23 22-7 Norwich
Cup SF: Dartmouth I 31-5 Iona 

Shield Final: UHSP 27-5 Iowa State II
Bowl Final: Rowan 7-19 Iowa State I
Plate Final: Dartmouth II 22-5 Bermuda Stars
3rd-4th: Iona 19-12 Norwich

Final: Saratoga U23 17-14 Dartmouth

Saratoga U23s is a traveling team of college players, many of whom are from the Northeast but augmented by players from England. 

“Our programme has very high expectations going into this tournament,’’ Head Coach Lain Zembek told Bermuda's Royal Gazette before the tournament. “We have a group of tenacious, well-experienced rugby players from different areas of the United States and England. When assembling a group with little preparation, chemistry is always in question. Most of these individuals have played together in some form, so we have high expectations."