GLENDALE, Colo. – Tony Pacheco’s AIG Men’s Collegiate All-Americans Sevens team defeated the hometown Glendale Raptors 31-12 in the Cup Final of the Serevi RugbyTown Sevens Sunday to finish the weekend tournament with a perfect 6-0 record.
Captain Madison Hughes almost set up the MCAAs with the perfect start with a great run through the Raptors’ defense before offloading to the speedy Steve Tomasin. Tomasin drew a Raptor and passed off to Tanner Barnes, who was taken down just before the try line and turned over possession without support.
Glendale went down the field with their attack and were free in space with an open 20 meters to the try zone, but an unfortunate knock-on ended the threat.
Glendale struck first, but it was not without a fight from Ryan Matyas, who almost held up the try-scorer. The conversion was missed.
Hughes fed an onrushing Matyas a minute later and Zinzan Elan-Puttick finished off a masterful switch pass with the MCAAs’ first try. Elan-Puttick nailed the easy conversion to put the MCAAs up 7-5.
The MCAAs won a lineout near midfield and Elan-Puttick sent a seemingly unthreatening chip kick deep into Glendale’s half. The defender grabbed the ball and had to wait for a teammate to get back onside, but the eventual pass was bobbled and knocked, giving the MCAAs a scrum put-in in great position. A poor decision by a Glendale player talking to the referee also resulted in a yellow card to the home team.
Barnes received the ball out wide from the penalty restart and took no time dotting down in the try zone to extend the lead. From a difficult angle, Hughes put the ball directly in the middle of the uprights for the extra two points and a 14-5 lead.
Tomasin played a useful dummy to find space to use his speed downfield, but was taken down just before he got to the try line. Glendale’s sinned player reentered the fray before the half, but the MCAAs were able to score another from Hughes before the whistle blew, making the halftime score 19-5.
Matyas quickly opened the second-half scoring and Hughes again kicked a perfect conversion from a tough angle. Ryan Roundy fed Tomasin a few minutes later for another try and a 31-5 lead with a few minutes remaining in the second of two 10-minute halves.
Glendale scored a try as time expired after a few MCAA penalties within 10 meters of the try zone, but it was too late for the Raptors in the 31-12 loss. The MCAAs were presented with the Cup and the $10,000 check from Glendale and Hughes was named tournament Most Valuable Player.
“He’s just a great all-around player,” Pacheco said of the Dartmouth fullback. “He has a knack for showing up in big-time moments.”
Six matches in two days did not faze the MCAAs, who repeatedly went up against adults during the tournament. It did not take long for the some of the Glendale Raptors players to show fatigue in the Cup Final, but the MCAAs kept going.
“Young, fresh legs probably helped after two days,” Pacheco said. “We took care of business in pool play and were able to rest some for day two.
“Their performances speak to the depths of the college game. There is so much talent out there. The expectation we had going into the tournament was to win.”
The MCAAs booked their place in the Cup Final with wins against Air Force (43-0) and Tiger Rugby (19-14) in the Cup Quarterfinal and Semifinal, respectively. In pool play, the All-Americans defeated Bermuda (54-7), Negro y Azul (42-12), and Glendale (26-15) to finish as one of three undefeateds after the first day.
The USA Falcons, also made up of Collegiate All-Americans, opened pool play with a 14-7 win against Royal Air Force, but lost to both Northeast Rugby Union (17-31) and Serevi Selects (7-39). The Falcons were placed in the Bowl Quarterfinals and defeated Cayman Islands 26-7 before dispatching Marines 34-0. In the Bowl Final, however, the Falcons were undone by Negro y Azul (19-26) in a tightly-contested match.
“I think they got better as the tournament went on, but just ran out of gas in that Final,” Pacheco, who served as the assistant coach of the Falcons, said.
Newly-announced Men’s Eagles Sevens Head Coach Matt Hawkins was also in attendance at the Serevi RugbyTown Sevens scouting potential Eagles, including the Collegiate All-Americans. Hawkins has been busy since his appointment, also taking in the 2013 USA Rugby Men’s Club Sevens National Championship in Pittsburgh, Penn.
“I thought they looked fantastic,” Hawkins said of the Collegiate All-Americans. “They played a very straightforward game plan; they all had their role and they did it well. That’s what allowed them to win and they played some great rugby.
“At the end of the day, that’s the future of USA Rugby. If you looked at that, the future’s bright. The trick is getting those national team players at that level to playing in the Sevens World Series at that level. As far as the development pathway goes as a stepping stone towards the national team and the Olympics, Tony and the All-American program is doing some fantastic stuff. It was wonderful to see this weekend.”
USA Rugby AIG Men's Collegiate All-Americans | Serevi RugbyTown Sevens
Head Coach - Tony Pacheco
Assistant Coach - Aaron Manheimer
Manager - Eric Taber
Physio - Brian Green
|Tanner Barnes||Center/Wing||Fresno, CA||Central Washington University|
|Patrick Blair||Prop||Seattle, WA||Central Washington University|
|Joe Cowley||Flyhalf||Charlotte, NC||Life University|
|Zinzan Elan-Puttick||Halfback/Flyhalf||Amarillo, TX||Arkansas State University|
|Madison Hughes||Halfback/Flyhalf||London, United Kingdom||Dartmouth College|
|Ryan Matyas||Wing||Phoenix, AZ||University of Arizona|
|Zac Mizell||Center||Dallas, TX||Arkansas State University|
|Shaun Potgieter||Prop||Port Elizabeth, South Africa||Arkansas State University|
|Ryan Roundy||Prop||Provo, UT||Brigham Young University|
|Glen Thommes||Prop||Philadelphia, PA||University of Delaware|
|Steve Tomasin||Center||San Diego, CA||San Diego State University|
USA Falcons | Serevi RugbyTown Sevens
Head Coach - Aaron Manheimer
Assistant Coach - Tony Pacheco
Manager - Eric Taber
Physio - Brian Green
|Tim Acker||Halfback/Flyhalf/Center||Philadelphia, PA||Kutztown University|
|Sondai "Sonny" Adjei||Halfback/Wing||Chicago, IL||Davenport University|
|Mason Baum||Hooker||Grand Rapids, MI||Davenport University|
|Steyne Benade||Prop||Hermanus, South Africa||Arkansas State University|
|Ryan "Pono" Haitsuka||Center/Wing||Honolulu, HI||Oregon State University|
|Ryan Hargraves||Prop||Grand Rapids, MI||Davenport University|
|Bobby Impson||Halfback/Flyhalf/Center||Tulsa, OK||University of Oklahoma|
|Jack McAuliffe||Flyhalf||Washington, D.C.||U.S. Naval Academy|
|Max Narewski||Hooker/Flyhalf||Philadelphia, PA||University of Central Washington|
|Ben Pinkelman||Prop||Centennial, CO||Colorado State University|
|Aladdin Schirmer||Prop||Seattle, WA||University of Central Washington|
|Zach Siemens||Center/Wing||Minneapolis, MN||University of Central Washington|