12 Jul 2017

Mathew Brown – The Rugby Channel Column


The Rugby Channel’s Summer of Sevens got off to a roaring start last weekend with some quality performances from the Santa Barbara 7s at Elings Park. In case you weren’t able to catch the tournament LIVE, all six of the vital matches are available for viewing using our Video On Demand archive.

The Open Division Semifinals featured the host Santa Barbara Grunions versus Los Angeles and Santa Monica taking on Riverside. The Open Final saw Santa Monica and Los Angeles doing battle for the tourney title.  

The Social Division Semifinals pitted Bonsai against Las Vegas Irish and PV Old Boys meeting Pasadena, with a Final pairing of Las Vegas Irish and Pasadena.

All six matches are ready to be watched at your convenience, which would be a good way to get ready for this Saturday’s action at the Sunsplash 7s in Long Beach, hosted by Belmont Shore.

Or if you feel like checking out just the highlights of the Open Semis and Final, give TRC Report #59 a look. This week’s episode focuses on the Santa Barbara 7s but also includes an outstanding tries package from the June Tours that was part of World Rugby TV’s 2nd Quarter Highlights program.

And for those of you with an interest in Eagles history, The Rugby Channel’s Try of the Week and Archive Pick are combined in a cool four pointer scored by Ray Nelson at the 1987 Rugby World Cup against Australia in Brisbane!

SUNSPLASH 7s – Saturday, July 15 at 5:00 PM ET

This weekend’s Sunsplash 7s in Long Beach, California will definitely be a humdinger. This long-running tournament is the third of four qualifiers in SoCal for the National Club Championships in August so it is sure to bring out all the top sides as they look to book their places in Minnesota.

The Rugby Channel will begin its coverage with the knockout rounds on Saturday so that you’ll be able to watch all the best teams in action with qualification positioning on the line.

TRC’s Summer of Sevens will continue next week in Santa Monica with the fourth and final qualification tournament in what promises to be a full-on battle to make it to the big dance in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Southern California is home to more than its fair share of sevens squads and any that qualify from here have to be a threat to go all the way at the Emirates Airline Championships.

Next on the schedule after Santa Monica is the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s from England. The tournament has undergone a change from last year’s format that saw multiple events culminating in a final weekend to determine a champion. This time around all twelve Premiership teams will be split into three pools of four to play on Day One, then compete for Cup, Plate, and Bowl Championships on Day Two at Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton.

And of course, The Rugby Channel will have it all for you, LIVE, on Friday July 28th and Saturday, July 29th. Last year’s final between Wasps and Exeter was an all-time classic that was decided at the death after a massive back-and-forth tussle. This year’s tourney promises even more thrills as every club in the Premiership will have a shot at glory.

The Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championships will take place at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota on August 12-13 and if the 2016 version was any indication, it’s going to be an incredible weekend of competition for national titles. Defending champs Utah have already qualified on the men’s side so they’ll definitely be ready in their attempt to win back-to-back crowns.

The Club 7s National Championships are more than just a tournament to secure silverware for two dedicated squads. They are also an opportunity for new sevens talent to get noticed on the big stage and for more experienced players to press their claims for Eagles inclusion by showing off their skills against the top teams in the nation.

And the way things have been trending lately, making it into the men’s and women’s USA sevens teams seems to be a better than ever pathway to earning a spot on the Eagles 15s squads as well. Just take a look at the most recent USA men’s and women’s National teams and see how many of the players have represented their country in the abbreviated version of the game first and that will tell you what’s at stake in Minnesota.

Basically, you’ll absolutely want to watch the whole weekend on The Rugby Channel and see the USA’s stars of the present and future on display!

The last sevens event of the Summer will also be an awesome one to watch. The Rugbytown 7s annually attract some of the finest teams from the USA, Canada, and overseas. In addition, the five branches of the U.S. Military (Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy) play their Championship as part of the tourney.

Played over three days at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado from August 25-27, the Rugbytown 7s is a premier event on the sevens calendar. Some of the teams who’ll compete in 2017 are the Viti Barbarians (with members of Fiji’s Olympic gold medal winning team participating), the RAF Spitfires from Britain, widely-travelled Tiger Rugby, former winners the Denver 7s Selects, the British Army team, the Atavus All-Stars, the USA All-Americans and the host Glendale Merlins.

And for added incentive, every team in Rugbytown USA will be in the mix to win not just the cup but also $10,000, which definitely gets the competitive juices flowing!   

The Rugby Channel’s Summer of Sevens is chock full of excitement and fast-paced action so Subscribe Now and watch it all, all Summer long, in seven minute chunks!


The folks over at World Rugby TV have put together all their best stuff from April through June and as usual, it’s well worth a look. Pay particular attention to the aforementioned June Tours Tries package that starts off with Cam Dolan’s score against Canada in San Diego.

There’s also a segment about New Zealand fans opening their homes to visiting British & Irish Lions fans that really exemplifies how rugby is unlike any other sport in the world.


The latest weekly installment begins with a focus on the USA’s RWC Qualification match against Canada at Torero Stadium. The in-depth piece includes interviews with coaches John Mitchell and Mark Anscombe and captains Todd Clever and Brett Beukeboom. It features plenty of behind the scenes footage and pays tribute to Clever’s final outing.

This is one of those pieces that is fantastic to watch knowing that the Eagles won and earned their spot in Japan, getting to re-live that elation that everyone associated with USA Rugby must have been feeling!


Every single week this show provides insight into why New Zealand is the premier rugby nation in the world. Some weeks it’s a major anniversary for a small town club or an interview with a longtime club man who’s seen everything over the years. Sometimes the play on the pitch is exceptional or there’s a unique individual who has contributed to the game in an extraordinary way.

This week it’s the revival of a tradition that I suspect was a lot more common in the fairly recent past, an exhibition match for charity between members of different professions. In this particular case, it’s schoolteachers squaring off against police officers in Palmerston North in the Manawatu region. It comes about halfway through the episode and it looks to have been a very successful exercise.

The last time I saw a version of this must have been a decade or so ago when politicians played musicians as the curtain raiser to either a Wellington or Hurricanes match at Westpac Stadium.


Right now is a very opportune moment to become a subscriber to The Rugby Channel. A subscription will cost you less than a single dollar per week and will give you access all of our LIVE Summer of Sevens programming plus the ability to access our full archive.

That means you can go back and re-enjoy the top matches from 2016 and 2017 in the Anglo Welsh Cup, the Guinness Pro12, the RBS Six Nations, the Americas Rugby Championship, the June Tours, Fall Tours, and the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series.

Or you could catch up on shows like the TRC Report, World Rugby TV, Toyota Grassroots Rugby, and Mainfreight Rugby.

Subscribe Now and feel free to binge watch without any decent restraint!