GLENDALE, Colo. – One of the biggest rugby events of the year returns to “RugbyTown USA” this month when Glendale hosts the Serevi RugbyTown Sevens (SRS) International rugby tournament August 14-16, 2015 at Infinity Park.
Seventeen teams from across the nation and the world, including teams from each branch of the United States Military, will compete in 50 rugby matches over the three-day period for a winner-take-all $10,000 prize.
“It’s our fourth year hosting so we’re quite excited,” said Glendale Raptors head coach Andre Snyman. “It’s a unique tournament. Quality players come from all over the world: some from overseas, some local and some nationally based. It’s really a good opportunity for players to measure themselves against some quality teams. There’s always a surprise team that comes out of it, so I can’t wait for this year.”
The SRS tournament serves as a grand event to conclude the summer Rugby 7s season, a format which offers more fast paced action and explosive offense compared to the traditional 15 aside rugby union format seen during the Pacific Rugby Premiership season. It offers both a challenge for the Raptors and a delight to local fans.
“It’s tough for a club side to compete against teams with 12 All-Star players. I’m just trying to help the boys and get our team up to par,” Snyman said of the challenge. “There’s good teams coming in. Pretty much all the other teams are select sides. I’m busy recruiting players to strengthen our side. Unfortunately we’ve had some injuries and hopefully the players will be back on track for Serevi.”
One of those All-Star programs, Stars Rugby 7s, is excited to participate at Serevi RugbyTown Sevens for the very first time.
“Last year I attended Serevi Rugbytown 7s for the first time as several of our Stars players were playing for the programs involved. I was impressed with the competition and the quality of play,” said Stars Rugby 7s Director Elizabeth Entwhistle. “As Stars Rugby 7s is building our program, we’re looking to play in the best competitions possible with a professional setting and SRT7s sets the benchmark for the men’s 7s game.”
This year’s action kicks off August 14 with Free Fan Friday, beginning with pool play competition divided amongst four different pools.
All five military teams will compete in Pool A. Tournament hosts Glendale will compete in Pool B alongside the Bermuda National Team, Stars Rugby 7s and Upright Rugby Rogues. Pool C will feature locals Denver All-Stars, newcomers Atlantis Rugby, Northeast Academy and Mexico Serpientes National Team. Rounding out the tournament field in Pool D are the Serevi Selects, Texas-based Negro y Azul, Collegiate All-Americans, and the Bahamas National Team.
Tonga withdrew from this year’s tournament, but this year’s tournament is far from lacking in international representation.
“Bermuda Rugby is extremely proud of our partnership with Serevi (Atavus) Rugby, and our participation at the SRS tournament in Glendale is a highlight in our calendar, and a focal point for the development of our 7s program,” said Bermuda coach Jonathan Cassidy.
New to this year’s tournament is boys’ high school tournament, which will take place on the Infinity Park Sports Field adjacent to the men’s tournament. This year’s inaugural participants include clubs such as Atlantis, Utah Lions, Atavus All-Stars, Rogue River (Canada), Rocky Mountain Rebels and the Raptors Academy being featured.
At the conclusion of Friday’s matches, a Fallen Rugger Ceremony will take place on the pitch. On Saturday, August 15, pool play will continue followed by the High School Cup Championship at 3 p.m. and the Armed Forces Championship at 3:56 p.m. Cup and Bowl quarterfinal matches round out the competition on Saturday afternoon.
The Armed Forces Championship has become a staple of the tournament and a highlight of the weekend for fans and participants alike.
“As Marines, our primary attraction to this tournament is the opportunity to square-off with our fellow services in the Armed Forces Rugby Championship,” U.S. Marines Rugby coach Major Russell “Bubba” Strange said. “What makes it even sweeter is that Glendale hosts a first-class event that we could never replicate on a military base, and we expose our players to a higher-level of rugby than what they are used to seeing.”
The second day of the tournament will also see the return of the Glendale’s Bruises and Brews Beerfest with an impressive lineup of Colorado craft brews and distilleries from noon to 4 p.m. Tickets for the Beerfest are just $35 and include entrance to all rugby matches held Saturday.
Sunday’s events will have implications for all tournament trophies including the SRS Shield, Bowl, Plate and Cup with games kicking off with a Shield Semifinal at Noon. Championship matches will begin at approximately 3:30 p.m. culminating with the Cup Final set to kick off at 5:14 p.m.