Written by Alex Goff    Thursday, 11 July 2013 14:35    PDF Print Write e-mail
Things Get Serious in PNW 7s
Sevens - Club Sevens


If you haven't heard much about the Seattle-Old Puget Sound 7s team, it's because they have been quiet.

After running a long and exhausting season, that ended June 2 with their close DI final loss to Life University, the club decided on a soft launch to the 7s season.

Miles Craigwell returns for more with Seattle OPSB. Cody Secker photo."Last year, we went right from the 15s season and the Super League Final into the 7s season, and near the end of the summer guys started to break down," said Evan Haigh, who, with Justin Fitzpatrick, are working with the 7s program under the watchful eye of Waisale Serevi. "So we knew this year we would make sure the guys had a good break."

In late June, though, Seattle OPSB went up to Canada to play in the Vancouver 7s, and also take part in a BC Rugby Union meeting. They won the tournament, and in the meeting, where two clubs were trying to push Seattle (a founding member of the BCRU) out of the league because they didn't like traveling south of the border, they won the meeting, too, garnering enough votes to remain in the league.

That was a nice confidence boost to the club as a whole, and winning the Vancouver 7s with a squad missing several front-line players wasn't bad, either.

"We have a huge group of players for the men's team, and the top group is coming together," said Haigh. "We are refining down and getting the right balance, but I think we definitely have the core of a team that can win a national championship."

That is, of course, what Seattle OPSB did in 2010.

USA players Mike Palefau and Miles Craigwell are expected to play, and Patrick Blair, Tim Stanfill, Kellen Gordon, Mike Nelson and Ryan Snider are all talented Central Washington University products.

The big question is, what foreign-born players will bolster the squad. The team is limited to two non-USA-eligible players (as is everyone), and with Fili Botitu, Isi Daveta (believed to be USA eligible now), Emosi Vocago, and Ben Gollings available, finding that balance will be a tough one.

"We have a number of our players in the Serevi Academy," said Haigh, "and the fitness and overall rugby acumen among those players is continuing to grow. We can see the change in the players."

Seattle OPSB remains the top team in 7s in the Pacific Northwest, but there's some evidence that more clubs are looking at opportunities to qualify for a national championship. That might mean the development of a full-blown 7s series next year. Right now, there's on PNW qualifier, this weekend, moving to one Pacific Coast championship.

It might be enough.