Utah State University hosts a 7s tournament this weekend, with BYU, Utah Valley, and Southern Utah slated to play, as well as possible a couple more.
This is a serious start by the Utah college rugby community to get going on 7s and catch up with the Utah Utes, 2010 CRC champs and one of the top college 7s teams in the country.
Certainly BYU is in excellent position to do well here, with players such as Ryan Roundy, Hoseki Kofe, and Shaun Davies ready to get involved.
Davies is an interesting case. He received his first USA 15s cap this past June, and the scrumhalf also played 7s with Atlantis, which fielded what amounted to a USA development team at the Serevi 7s in Victoria, BC.
Davies is back with BYU from just one more semester, as he has some class work and one more term of eligibility left. He took some time off after the Atlantis trip to Canada, but is raring to go now.
“I still have this semester of eligibility and really wanted to play some 7s for BYU,” said the scrumhalf. “We have got an inexperienced team, but with the coaching staff we have I am certain that we should have a good little run and the guys look forward to the challenge.”
Davies will have some work to do to balance his rugby and school this fall. Given that he is a domestic player with less than a handful of caps, he is a classic candidate for the Americas Rugby Championship this coming October.
But to succeed in that venue, Davis has some rugby balancing to do. As a collegiate player and as a 7s player, he is enormously dangerous on attack. He gets BYU going forward with his superb running off the base of the ruck, and in his support running. In international rugby, scrumhalves don’t get as much space.
“I know that compared to college level there will be less opportunities to run with the ball [in international rugby], and I am going to have to be very careful with the amount that I run because the opposition is also a little bigger,” Davies said. “I am just going to have to be smarter about taking the opportunities when there is room and looking for the offload so that I am on my feet and able to play the ball.”
But for now, Davies may just be happy to play a little 7s, and get BYU started this fall.