It’s the summer time, y’all! And that means 7s. This weekend is loaded with the short game as the CCI 7s gets national TV on NBC, but all over the country there are tournaments – including right here in Texas.
This week on the docket is the Lone Star 7s in Dallas. We talked to Lone Star 7s head man Filip Keuppens about the tournament, about TOLA 7s and just 7s in general.
So, to start we asked Filip who the teams to watch are on this year’s TOLA 7s circuit.
“Well, the Quins are a very good team, they were scoring tries at will up in Denton last week,” Keuppens said. “And the Southside Assassins out of Tulsa showed a lot in Denton. They might be the number one seed in Dallas this weekend.”
Oklahoma University is a team to watch, he said, as they are young, fit and well coached. Dallas RFC’s 7s program is run by Kelly Kolberg, and they won the plate and the shield in Denton. Keuppens mentioned last year’s TOLA 7s champion Little Rock as a team to watch.
“And Shreveport beat the Quins to take the Denton tournament, I would be remiss not to rank them up there,” he said. “They have a team that is good every year, but their depth may be an issue. They are a team that seems like all their play makers are over 30. They beat the worst team in the tournament by 14, then beat the best team by 5. You have to give them a tremendous amount of respect. They just win.”
The interesting team of the season might just be the Tyler Lightning, a team of players who have never played rugby, but were organized by an athletic-training facility and started fielding a team.
“They just out athlete everyone,” Keuppens said. “They don’t have a lot of rugby experience, including the guy running it, but they are great athletes and they win.” (Editor’s note – rugbyintexas.com will have more on the Tyler Lightning in the future)
All of these teams and more will be at this weekend’s Lone Star 7s in Dallas (see pools below). The tournament runs from 9 a.m. to 6:20 p.m. and features 24 mens’ teams and six womens’ teams. Read the womens schedule here.
“It’s a bigger field than last year,” Keuppens said. “It is a long format, and everyone is guaranteed three games. The Top 8 will go to the Cup quarterfinals.”
Keuppens says referees shortages are popping up as refs take the summer off. He encourages more rugby players to take up the whistle. Keuppens is a ref, and in Denton he had to call 15 games, which is a lot, because of the shortage.
Dallas Lone Star 7s Men’s Pools
B: Quins I, Oklahoma City, Tyler Lightning, Dallas Athletic Rugby Club
C: OU, Texas Tech, Narwals (mainly Dallas Jesuit alums who are in college), University of North Texas
D: Little Rock, Black Lions, Ft. Hood, Ft. Sill
E: South Side Assassins, Austin Huns, Dallas RFC II, Norman Colts
Women’s Pool (women will play a round-robin format)
Satiated Beavers, Phatties, Mockingbirds, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Rasta Rabbits