There were plenty of very strong performances in the USA 7s CRC this weekend.
Peter Tiberio, until his arm was cruelly broken in a tackle against Dartmouth in the final, was superb for Arizona – playing defense, making plays, creating plays.
Trevor Tanifum led the tournament in tries for Maryland. Brett Thompson of Arizona was a close second.
But RUGBYMag.com’s MVP was a player who performed at all levels, scoring, creating scores, and defense; Madison Hughes.
The freshman came to Dartmouth from Wellington College in England. He was a High School All American (his mother is American, his father English, his accent hops between the two). Speedy, smart, and aggressive, Hughes worked superbly in a Dartmouth machine that worked all the pieces together. Paul Jarvis was a tireless leader. Nate Brakeley was the big man working hard. Derek Fish was excellent at scrumhalf, and Kevin Clark a finished. Hughes made them all better.
“The team environment was great; the guys made it really easy for me coming in,” Hughes told RUGBYMag.com. “Everyone’s helped me out a ton. I can’t thank my teammates enough for the experience.”
Hughes did a little bit, too. He was the best in the tournament at executing a two-on-one, making sharp passes just before being hit, and seeing players like Will Mueller and Kevin Clark score tries.
“We’ve got a great group of guys; we all get along really well, and we build relationships off the field that have effects on the field as well,” Hughes said.
Coach Alex Magleby was quick in his assessment.
“We might be a team where people say we don’t have a lot of athletes, but Madison is a pretty athletic guy,” said Magleby.
Hughes returned the compliment.
“He’s a fantastic coach,” Hughes said. “He’s not a real talkative guy, but when he does say something you know it’s going to be really important. He gives us such good schemes, he makes it easy for us.”
Madison Hughes now goes off to play for the Junior All Americans, where he’ll help the USA try to win the Junior World Rugby Trophy in Utah. For now, he can wallow in the glory of a job very, very well done.