Arkansas State University won the collegiate 7s tournament at Middle Tennessee State University Saturday, defeating Tennessee 25-5 in the final.
ASU got by UT II, MTSU II and MTSU I in pool play before defeating Ole Miss in the semis. Tennessee provided the sternest test to a polished Red Wolves side.
Head Coach Matt Huckaby, who played for the USA at 7s, said he enjoyed returning to the short-form of rugby.
“The guys had a blast and I really enjoyed it,” Huckaby said. “We’ve got [former Cal All American] Alex Houser working with us now and he’s done a great job.”
Huckaby said the team worked hard on defense and fitness in order to get ready for 7s.
“We did a lot of work on getting that defensive line of six in their shape,” said the coach. “They did fine and I’m really pleased with their progress.”
As expected, Zac Mizell and Danie Swanepoel played well, but perhaps more of a surprise was Dale Bates. A newcomer to ASU, Bates played rugby for Waimea in Hawaii and was tracked to ASU from contacts at Hawaii Youth Rugby.
“He has a great natural sidestep and he really showed something,” enthused Huckaby.
The ASU coach also had praise for Jody Hensley of MTSU, who ran the tournament.
“It was all done well and they’ve got a great venue here,” said Huckaby.