Last weekend was a big one for women’s rugby, both home and abroad. The first Women’s All-Star Week wrapped up in Greeley, Colo.; the Midwest High School Thunderbirds kicked off tour with a game against Ulster; and the North American Invitational brought together fantastic age-grade 7s. And even though the summer is winding down, the action isn’t.
WOMEN’S ALL-STAR WEEK
The WPL West came out on top, defeating the Women’s Collegiate All-Americans (WCAAs) 51-17 in round one and then WPL East 36-15 in the final. The DI/II Club All-Stars finished third with a 29-19 final victory over the WCAAs.
The All-Star Relevance
• This tournament was a tangible, visible venue for individuals to be seen by USA evaluators, including USA 15s head coach Rob Cain, who was on the mic for multiple games and worked into training sessions with all four teams.
• It reinforced connections between programs that should be communicating with each other.
• WCAA head coach Katie Dowty took a deeper dive into the collegiate ranks through the June open tryouts and got three higher-level 15s games (Glendale included) to evaluate those players.
• The DI/DII club players now have a team in place and can circle this fixture on the calendar.
The event has grown every year. In 2017, the WPL All-Stars played a one-off game against the USA in preparation for World Cup. In 2018, the WPL East and West played each other, and now there are four teams. Ros Chou intimated that discussions on further expansion are being entertained. If two more teams joined, then the All-Star Week could break into two groups of three for two pool play games, and then a third match for place. Remember that the all-star championships used to be an eight-team affair. Maybe an Armed Forces team? What about a DI Elite select side?
MIDWEST HS T-BIRDS PLAY ULSTER
The Midwest was busy last weekend! The U24 and senior sides traveled to the Can-Am games in Saranac Lake, N.Y., while the high school all-stars kicked off their Ireland tour against Ulster. The game ended in 17-13 in favor of the hosts, and saw Player of the Match Alle English (Queens University of Charlotte commit) and Libby Moser (Quinnipiac commit) dot down for the Americans. Aly Cunningham (Catholic Memorial HS, Wisc.) added a penalty kick for the 13 points.
Front Row Union wrote a great match report with photos and video interviews. Read more.
Midwest roster: Aubrey Boing, Haley Crow, Aly Cunningham, Taylor Driver, Alle English, Anna Hensel, Alex Hyde, Sydney Julich, Abby Kaiser, Jenna Klenz, Libby Moser, Delany Moser, Savannah Peterson, Gina Pollice, Emily Rahja, Megan Reed, Makenna Tuman, Jayla Twitty, Erin Ward, Meg Wright, Kinzie Youngblood, Allexus Zielinski.
Next up: Connacht U18 @ 1:30 p.m. IST on Wed., Aug. 7
The NAI 7s is impressive and a great showcase for age grade 7s. It also marks the final stop for the NAHS 7s series, and Atlantis retained the crown. Atlantis went 6-0 and got the most resistance from the Utah Rugby Academy. In the teams’ two meetings, Atlantis edged the local side 20-10 and 19-12 in the final. Stay tuned for an interview with head coach Josie Ziluca.
Atlantis also won the U16 division and started the day with a 19-17 win over the Rhinos Academy. But when the teams met on day two, Atlantis put space on the scoreboard, 29-7. The Maui Warriors had dropped a 17-5 contest to Atlantis on day one but closed the gap in the final, losing 24-17 in the title match.
United got great competition en route to the U18 (non-series) trophy. The Aztec Warriors won the teams’ pool play match 17-7 before advancing to the final for the rematch, and teams like West Idaho TOA and ARPTC came within a try of the eventual winners. In the final, United defeated Aztec Warriors 19-14. Rocky RFC, which fell 22-14 to the Warriors in the Cup semifinals, beat the Coastal Dragons 39-12 for third.
The most dominant performance came out of the U14 division, as Belmont Shore posted five-straight shutouts en route to the final win over the Celtic Barbarians and trophy. More to come.
Aug. 8-12 High School All-American / West Camp
Aug. 10-11 USA Rugby Club 7s National Championship @ Kansas City, Mo.
Aug. 16-17 National Development Invitational Tournament @ Little Rock, Ark.
Aug. 17-18 Women’s Premier League season begins
Aug. 21-25 High School All-American / East Camp