(Dobson Images courtesy of Rugby MAG) Belmont Shore are the Men's Club Sevens National Championship after defeating Schyulkill River 37-14. They had a tough path to the final on Sunday escaping from the Eastside Banshees in the Cup Semifinals 17-12. Enterprising play and flat out pace and skill gave Belmont the edge, and exceptional passing and team play made the difference in the end.
Tries from Taylor Howden, Justin Boyd, Ed Pitts, Alex Ross and Rian Hamilton gave Belmont a comfortable lead throughout the match, but Schyulkill River never gave up, fighting for a last minute consolation try.
Belmont coach, captain of the USA Men's Sevens team and Belmont Shore man Matt Hawkins credited a whole team effort with the win.
"Having 12 guys with plenty of skill and talent isn't enough. The team needs to gel and work together. If you look at teams like Schyulkill River, they played exceptionally well as a team and that is why they were successful," Hawkins said praising his side's determined opponents.
Tournament MVP and USA international, Shalom Suniula, touted his team's group effort and noted that the level of play was encouraging for all the teams in the tournament. A regular on the USA Men's Sevens team, but having played most of his club rugby in Australia and New Zealand, Suniula acknowledged the quality of play of all teams was impressive.
"Given the short summer sevens season, the team came together really well. We kept things pretty simple, used the width of the field and didn't try to do anything too fancy," Suniula said of his team's tactics in the final.