Mathew Brown – The Rugby Channel Column
The 2017 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championship will take place this weekend in Blaine, Minnesota at the National Sports Center - the world’s largest amateur sports facility -and The Rugby Channel will bring it to you LIVE, for free!
Coverage of every match from Pool Play on Saturday, from both fields, will be accessible LIVE on the website. On Sunday, every meaningful knockout match from the stadium and the bowl venues will also be delivered LIVE, all the way through until the crowning of men’s and women’s champions.
The action gets underway on Saturday at 11:00 am ET and the first matches in the stadium in Pool A are going to be a couple of entertaining ones as last year’s women’s champs the Scion Sirens get their title defense underway against the Tempe Ninjas, followed by the Life West Gladiatrix taking on the Glendale Merlins (formerly the Raptors).
Meanwhile, over at the bowl field we’ll have Pool D action featuring Seattle Atavus versus Minneapolis to start, then Northern Virginia will take on Orlando. The hardest part of the weekend for most viewers is going to be deciding which matches to watch LIVE and which ones to view later through our Video On Demand option.
The quartet of women’s matches beginning at 5:00 pm ET in the stadium are ones to definitely keep your eye on as they will pit the two highest ranked women’s teams in each pool. First up are the Scion Sirens vs. Life West Gladiatrix, next is Seattle Atavus vs. Northern Virginia, then New York Rugby vs. Philadelphia Rugby, and wrapping up with American Rugby Pro Training Center vs. San Diego Surfers.
The men’s competition gets going at 12:20 pm ET on both pitches but you’ll have to wait until 6:20 pm ET to see the top seeds in each pool go head-to-head. Those matches will be in the stadium with defending champs Rugby Utah Selects vs. Bulldog Rugby, Chicago Lions vs. Life West Gladiators, then Old Blue of New York vs. Metropolis Rugby, and Denver Barbarians vs. Belmont Shore.
On Sunday our coverage kicks off with the women’s Bowl Quarterfinals at 9:00 am ET, followed immediately by the men’s. Beginning at 10:40 am ET we’ll bring you the four women’s Cup Quarterfinals – two in the stadium and two in the bowl – with the four men’s quarters next in line in both venues.
The Cup Quarterfinals are typically some of the hardest fought matches in the whole tourney and you won’t want to miss them so get up early and give them a look – or sleep in and catch them later at your leisure on VOD because with The Rugby Channel you choose how you want to watch!
The Club 7s is a fantastic tournament because it is a direct qualifier. Teams have had to dominate their regional sevens tournaments in order to make it this far so every side has a legitimate shot at continuing their hot play and causing upsets regardless of how they are seeded.
Four men’s teams and two women’s teams are making their very first appearances at the National Championship. There are also three former champions among the women’s clubs (Scion, ARPTC, and Surfers) and four in the men’s bracket (Utah, OBNY, Belmont Shore, and Chicago).
This week’s edition of The Rugby Channel Report includes all the best Eagles tries from the 2017 Summer Series and their two leg Rugby World Cup Qualifying Series against Canada, complete with replays and commentary.
Want to see Nic Civetta and John Quill charge down Joey Carbery and score against Ireland? Or Matt Jensen finish off a sterling effort with some great passing against Georgia? Or perhaps you’d like to re-live Mike Teo’s double versus Canada in Hamilton, including his length of the field intercept? Or maybe you’d like to re-watch Cam Dolan’s opening brace in San Diego, or once again experience Brian Vizard’s obvious joy as the Eagles pack pummeled Canada and scored repeatedly from in close?
The United States learned valuable lessons from their losses against Ireland and Georgia and then turned that into a draw and a resounding victory over Canada to earn a spot in the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Watch TRC Report #63 and see the evolution for yourself.
Plus, you’ll also get another look at the Women’s Eagles in their last hit out before the WRWC when they played the WPL All-Stars at Torero Stadium on July 1. The Report features a try from Kris Thomas and also one from Naya Tapper, both of whom are expected to be big factors in the Eagles attempt to win a second RWC title.
If you are a fan of women’s rugby in general or the United States in particular then this is a must watch episode of World Rugby TV. The first segment details the pools and structure of the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland, providing previews of various teams and players to watch.
The last piece is the most interesting, profiling Eagles star Alev Kelter, her Alaska upbringing, her involvement in elite soccer and hockey, and eventual conversion to rugby that led to her representing her country at the Olympics and at this World Cup. Kelter is obviously a special athlete and the Eagles are fortunate to have her in the team, definitely give it a look.
EAGLES UPDATES FROM WRWC
The Rugby Channel has an embedded videographer with the United States Eagles in Ireland who will be periodically putting together behind-the -scenes packages to keep you up-to-date with their progress throughout the tournament.
The USA is in a difficult pool along with England but fortunately the schedule favors them as they start with relatively easier fixtures against Italy and Spain. This should give them a chance to get a couple of wins, build some momentum, and look to either pull off the upset against the defending champs or perform well enough to qualify for the semifinals as the best pool runner-up.
The other show that you need to watch this week on The Rugby Channel is Toyota Grassroots Rugby from New Zealand. The various unions are playing their club championships right now and there were some full-on battles throughout the country. The amateur game in New Zealand is a huge center for communities far and wide on both the North and South Islands and watching the intensity of the players lets you know just how important these matches are to everyone involved.
This episode covers title matches in Nelson, Horowhenua-Kapiti, Marlborough, North Harbour, West Coast, and Bay of Plenty with more than a few going right down to the final whistle.
A comment at the very end of the program by host Richard Mason was particularly telling in regard to the central role that rugby plays in small towns across New Zealand. He mentioned that the trophies the teams are playing for are much older than the people playing for them, giving them a historical significance that binds together towns and regions in a very positive way that is somewhat unique to New Zealand.
GUINNESS PRO14 SCHEDULE
The Guinness Pro14 fixture list was released on August 8th and I’m already excited for some interesting matchups on the opening weekend. On Friday, September 1st Ulster will host the Toyota Cheetahs at Kingspan Stadium as the South African side makes its debut in the expanded competition. This will be the first look at one of the Pro14’s most defensive-oriented sides (Ulster) doing battle with a team known for wide-open play (Cheetahs).
The other South African joiner, the Southern Kings, will also open their campaign on the road as they travel to Parc y Scarlets on Saturday, September 2nd to take on the reigning champion Scarlets. These two matches will offer an early glimpse into the relative strength of the South African teams and how they’re going to fare in a competition that has a different overall mindset than Super Rugby.
As soon as we know which matches we’ll be showing you LIVE on The Rugby Channel – the various broadcasters involved are still determining their lineups – we will transmit that information to you so that you can get started planning your Round 1 viewing!
It’s early August and Summer is in full swing but Fall is right around the corner. And that means that you’ll be wanting to watch the Guinness Pro14, the Anglo-Welsh Cup, and the Greene King IPA Championship, which you can only do by subscribing to The Rugby Channel for less than a single dollar per week.
That dollar will also give you access to another season of the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series, England’s Autumn Internationals against Argentina, Australia, and Samoa from Twickenham, plus both USA Eagles November tests against Georgia and Germany!
Don’t delay, Subscribe Now and get all the rugby you really want to watch, LIVE on The Rugby Channel.