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Tropical 7s Kicks Off

irish rugby tours

Tropical 7s Kicks Off

Tropical 7s ready to kick off again.

The Tropical 7s kicks off Friday with 135 teams in action at the Tournament Sportsplex in Tampa, Fla.

The event will be live-streamed on The Moment at https://themomentlive.tv/landing/index - starting at 1AM ET Friday you can purchase access. 

11 Brackets

U18 Boys Elite, U18 Girls Elite, U18 Boys Open, U18 Girls Open, U16 Boys, U16 Girls, U14 Boys, U14 Girls, U12 Coed, U23 Men, U23 Women.

Largest Brackets

Somewhat surprisingly, two of the largest brackets are the U23 brackets. This is an age group that has sprung up in the last few years—college teams combining with college-age select sides. It's clearly a move for college teams to get more 7s competition, and then players who a) want to play at a high level and b) maybe don't have enough for a college team can play in a select side.

In the women's bracket, it's mostly single-college sides. Led by Army (which has two squads), Queens University Charlotte (also two squads), and Davenport, we have teams that are testing themselves before the major college 7s events later this spring. But you also have the likes of Rock Rugby out of Texas, Rhinos out of Southern California, and Celtic Barbarians, which draws from a wide range, competing.

Six out of the 16 teams in the men's bracket are are select sides, with half of them—Celtic Barbarians, Rhinos Rugby, and Rogue Samurai—in one pool. it's good to see Canada's Upright Rugby back in action and the same goes for the Canadian Misfits. Both of those programs have been hugely important competitors in major 7s events in the USA. 

Keep an eye on the USA South Panthers, Wheeling University, and Queens University also.

But the biggest bracket, and this isn't a surprise, is U16 boys. This is the age group where players are looking to establish themselves and even be seen by colleges. Alaska Youth Rugby has shown well here before, while familiar programs such as Atlantis, USA South Panthers, Upright Rugby, Celtic Barbarians, Rhino, Rock Rugby, and Eagle Impact Rugby Academy are there also.

Youth Rugby in Alaska Shows Its Talent in Florida

Keep an eye on the Arizona Pumas, a program that cut its teeth at the U15 level at last June's National Youth 7s Championships.

HS Elite

Twelve teams from each of the Elite brackets are in action. It's a packed level, and as such tough to call.

It's not as if there's a clear frontrunner. Certainly EIRA won the U18 Elite boys bracket at the NAI 7s last summer, but that's a long time ago. EIRA, Atlantis, Upright, Gorilla, Rocky (as mentioned above), and USA South are all in there.

But that doesn't mean you turn up your nose at, say, Pioneer 7s, which is a program that showed plenty of talent at the NAI 7s and draws players from Hawaii and Utah. Same goes for Berks, a program from Pennsylvania that has logged some solid results in 15s but also brings a dynamic look at 7s and isn't afraid to play against some pretty vaunted opposition.

Some of the same teams play in the Girls Elite, although we also see Alaska, Rugby Colorado Academy, Pasefika Hawaii, and a Badger Academy team that has already showed it can travel and perform at the Carolina Ruggerfest.

Open Brackets

There are so many good teams are in the non-elite Open Divisions that you feel like it should have some more elevated names. Belmont Shore, Alaska, and Maui are there along with Upright Rugby, King's-Edgehill, and Misfits all coming from Canada to spice it up. The girls have Hawkeye Rugby which brings in players who are well experienced in 7s.