A beautiful day combined with great rugby, it doesn’t get much better. As the Victoria 7s tournament kicked off in British Columbia on Saturday, there wasn’t a cloud to be seen. As for the great rugby, well there was plenty to be had with the main Cup final consisting of the Maple Leafs and British Columbia (BC) with the Leafs taking the crown.
On the American side, both current and future stars of the USA Eagles took the pitch to impress current Eagle sevens coach Alex Magleby. First to kick off the action were the Military Selects and despite a last minute put-together squad, they put on a great show.
Led by a hat-trick from flyhalf Tama Sofara, the Selects gave Old Puget Sound Beach (OPSB) a well-contested match, beat the Crimson Tide and lost to Cayman Islands. And though mistakes were evident with their the lack of playing chemistry, the Selects never showed any signs of giving up.
OPSB and Atlantis took to the pitch and started off with a bang. OPSB lit up the scoreboard in their first two games outscoring opponents 69-17, looking as consistent and powerful as always. As for Atlantis, they gave up only 10 points with great defense and scored 42 with an explosive offense.
The next round was bit a more competitive for OPSB with a 17-10 win over a very strong and athletic Maple Leafs team that discovered their power when it mattered. Atlantis did their job as well, beating British Columbia (BC) 27-7.
However, as is the golden rule in sports, it’s not how you start, but how you finish. Matched up with British Columbia with a trip to the Cup final on the line, tensions were high for OPSB. In the end, it was BC with a late score from Brady Henderson that sealed the semifinal 17-14.
Atlantis matched up with the Maple Leafs and what a great game it was. After scoring late from the speedy Carlin Isles, Atlantis led 17-12, and needed to just hold on. With time almost up, Atlantis lost a scrum and the Maple Leafs broke through all the way to the 5-meter line. Catching Atlantis off guard, the Leafs swung the ball out wide and scored to take the semifinal 19-17.
“We were pleased with how our guys performed,” Atlantis coaches Tony Pacheco and Alex Magleby said after the game. “The guys improved a lot this week and gained valuable experience in a setting like this. Special thanks to founder Emil Signes for the opportunity to represent the legendary touring side.”
So there you have it, an all Canadian final. A fitting position considering they were playing on their home turf and though the matchup was a blow out in favor of the Maple Leafs, 43-7, the players and coaches
“It was really great for everyone involved to have a final like that and to have some great competitive (ex-national squad) for our squad,” Maple Leafs coach Patrick Flex said. “We got off to a bit of a slow start with our systems, but a lot of our players don’t have experience with this kind of competition; so it took them a little bit to settle in. Nonetheless, we finished a strong note and had a lot of great things happen for us to beat a talented squad.”
Champions: Maple Leafs
Action from the Victoria International 7s July 14, 2012. Photos by Cody Secker.