By Colton Strickler
At 11 AM on August 25 at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado, the Navy and the Air Force will put the ball in the air to kickoff the 11th RugbyTown 7s tournament.
It will mark the beginning of a three-day, 62-match tournament that has become a staple of the identity of RugbyTown USA.
Since 2012, the only thing that has prevented RugbyTown 7s from occurring on the third weekend August was a global pandemic, and while the RugbyTown 7s has seen its fair share of changes throughout its existence, it has always stood its ground as one of the top sevens tournaments in North America.
“I look forward to this tournament every year,” 2022 Player of the Tournament Tim Stanfill said of the RugbyTown 7s. “It’s probably one of the best tournaments that we have around here, if not internationally, with the talent that comes in. It’s always good to challenge yourself against the best.”
Stanfill was an integral piece of the Ramblin’ Jesters in 2022, helping them secure their second-ever RugbyTown 7s title. Since 2016, the Jesters have tallied two third-place finishes, a second-place finish, and two RugbyTown 7s Cup Championships. Their fun, multi-colored kits and their high-flying style of play has made them favorites of the RugbyTown patrons and has firmly planted a target on their back for opposing teams looking to secure the $10,000 grand prize.
The Jesters are one of eight international teams that will make up the 20-team tournament. Along with the Jesters, Lions 7s, Tel Aviv Heat, Wild Dogs, Tsunami Barbarians, Speranza 22, Team Germany, and Infantry Rugby will take on 12 domestic sides in the 11th edition of RugbyTown 7s.
One of the best parts of the entire weekend year-in and year-out is the incorporation of teams that represent the five branches of the United States Military. The U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Marines, and the U.S. Navy always make up Pool A, and the top two teams from that pool will compete for the U.S. Armed Forces Championship on Saturday afternoon. Army defeated Navy 27-7 to secure their eighth U.S. Armed Forces title in 2022. Navy won their first title in 2021 to join the Marines as the only other branch to win a U.S. Armed Forces Championship at the RugbyTown 7s. Marines won the inaugural title in 2012.
In addition to some of the regulars making their annual appearance at RugbyTown, several teams are due to make their RugbyTown 7s debut. Infantry Rugby, Wild Dogs, and Speranza 22 will take the pitch at Infinity Park for the first time in 2023.
All 20 teams will be competing for the $10,000 purse and the title of RugbyTown 7s Cup Champion. Prize money is a rarity in North American rugby, and clubs try to field the best teams they can to take home the grand prize. That means you have the chance to see some of the best sevens players in the world in any given match over the course of the weekend.
“This tournament is awesome because you never know who is going to show up year to year,” Stanfill said. “Some years you’ll have the German national team, some years you will have South Africa sending some guys to play. We’ve got Fijian internationals, Olympic gold medalists. The level of talent at this is by far the best tournament I’ve ever played in.”
The party gets started on Friday, August 25 at 11 AM MT and will finish on Sunday, August 27 with the Cup Final kicking off at 4:50 PM. Single day tickets are $10, are weekend passes are $20. You can purchase tickets and stream all of the action on RugbyTownUSA.com.