The World Series Sevens hit Las Vegas recently with roaring success. Play Rugby had multiple involvements in the tournament, with the NY Academy well represented through the Atlantis select team, and Coach Development Director, Dom Wareing and YDM’s Connor Wallace-Sims, Rick Kirkland and John Corpuz-Jackson representing on the Northeast the Northeast Academy as coach and player respectively.
Six NY Academy players were invited to participate, half of which were returning after being invited the year before. Gio and Mal were invited for a second time, with Gio playing for the U18 Elite side however Mal could not make it due to SAT commitments. Noah was the only boy from the academy, playing for the U16 side. Naomi, Susan and Nilly played for the U18 Open Side.
The Atlantis Sevens team had a great weekend with the U18 Girls making it to the Cup quarter finals in the Open High School division with Susan the top try scorer! Gio and the U18 Elite squad finished the tournament 3-3. Noah and his U16 team took out the tournament with a victory over the Eagle Impact Academy in the Cup final. Our NY Academy players share their experiences from the weekend below:
Naomi – Playing with Atlantis was a foreign experience that I welcomed wholly. Girls coming from all over the USA with a common love and interest in rugby is motivating and helped us build chemistry on and off the field. Adjusting to the weather and allowing my body to reset and be comfortable together was the hardest part of the trip. The best part about the trip was having to bond with people I’ve played against on numerous occasions and correcting the once biased opinion I had about them.
Susan – When I went to Las Vegas to play for Atlantis, i found it more challenging playing out of NYC. It was challenging because the competitions were more tuff and I have never played for a different team then Play Rugby Academy. Playing for Atlantis was a great experience. I was nervous at first because I’ve never played for a different team. I was surprised to find out my teammates were from places like Colorado, Tennessee, etc.! It was amazing to play with people from all around the country. I’ve gained lots of experience from this trip. When I was playing for Atlantis there was no problems, no judgement. We got along very great and quickly, communication between us was good. We’ve been strong throughout the whole tournament even if we won or lost. If one of my teammates made a couple mistakes on the field we didn’t yell at them, we cheered them on to keep doing a great job & showed good sportsmanship. Traveling to Las Vegas on my own made me feel more mature. I also thank my Coach Ryszard Chadwick for giving me this wonderful opportunity, he inspires me a lot & motivates me more than ever!
Nilly – Atlantis was what happened in Vegas! Traveling on my own to Las vegas was very nerve wrecking, But also made me feel beyond mature. When I arrived, I got the chance to meet teammates from all around such as California, Colorado, Virginia and etc. But no matter where we came from, all our differences or our backgrounds, we where able to build chemistry through the game of rugby. We easily got along exemplary because we were all there for the same reasons. Playing for Atlantis was challenging because we were playing difficult teams I’ve never played against, with people i’ve never played with since I’ve adapted to playing with my home team PlayRugby USA Academy, but it was a great experience. Its an amazing feeling to know that although you met your teammates a couple hours ago, they’ll play with you on the field as if they’re you’re family. I’d like to thank everyone who took part in giving me the chance to play for Atlantis, it’s an experience I’ll never forget.
Noah – The Las Vegas tournament of 2016 was an experience I will never forget. Everything was exciting, I loved the fact I got to play again with a team that did so well last year and I loved I had the chance to meet some new people as well. After a disappointing loss in the finals against BC in 2015 the whole team came out with some fire in 2016. After practice the first day and even after a disappointing loss the first game I wasn’t too sure how this tournament would go. It didn’t seem like we had the same flow as last year. But then something just clicked. In our second game we shut out a very good Calgary team and that set the stage for the playoffs.
Our first game in the playoffs was against Rhino Rugby 1 out of California. This team was very strong and physical, but we outplayed them and won 14-7. Then we had to play EIRA. This was the team we lost to in the first game but this time we were ready. We got super hype to play and came out with a boom going up 24-0 at the half. EIRA did not give up, scoring twice in the second half, but our great defense held them off. This set the stage for a final against Rhino Rugby 2, who upset British Columbia in the Semis. They had some good speed, but we gave it absolutely everything winning the game 17-0.
This was one of the best rugby experiences of my life and also one of the best social experiences of my life. It was difficult playing with new people, in a new style of play at first, but once you adjust rugby is just rugby.
Congratulations to our NY Academy players, Coach Dominic Wareing and YDMs Connor and JJ for an outstanding performance at Las Vegas 7s!