For the USA U-23s on Sunday, revenge was a dish best served gold.
Last year’s RugbyTown 7s runner ups waited 371 days for another crack at the Cup Final, and they took full advantage of their opportunity by defeating NAV Sevens 17-12 to secure the title of Cup Champion and the $10,000 purse.
The weekend was nothing short of a masterpiece for the U-23s. They walked off the pitch with a perfect 7-0 record that consisted of two shutouts, winning margins of 22, 12, 22, 48 and 15, and a +63 point differential. The only two matches that were decided by single digits both came against NAV Sevens with their two wins coming by a combined 12 points.
The USA U-23s Cup Championship marks the first time that a team entered by USA Rugby won a RugbyTown 7s Cup Final since the USA Falcons won the tournament in 2014.
The Cup Final didn’t feel as close as the final score indicated. USA U-23 was firmly in the driver’s seat for a majority of the match, but NAV stole two tries in the latter part of the second half and it was almost enough to steal the Cup away from the U-23s. NAV Sevens took down two RugbyTown heavyweights on their way to the Cup Final – defeating nine-time U.S. Armed Forces Champion Army in the Quarterfinal, and the defending Cup Champion Ramblin’ Jesters in the Semifinal. They just couldn’t top USA U-23s – their Pool D counterparts – on the weekend. Despite the loss, NAV Sevens improved on their 2022 showing when they left with Third Place.
The Third Place final featured two familiar faces around Infinity Park, as the Ramblin’ Jesters locked horns with the Tsunami Barbarians for a tightly contested match. It took every second of the match to determine a victor, and it was the Jesters who had the last laugh as they used a last-second try to defeat the 2021 and 2022 Plate Champion Tsunami Barbarians. It also marked the second time in four years that the Jesters left Infinity Park with Third Place in hand, and the fourth time in as many years with a top three finish. Even with the loss, the Barbarians moved up a spot in the standings in 2023 after winning the Place in 2021 and 2022.
SoCal Griffins, RugbyTown 7s mainstays, took care of the Tel Aviv Heat by a final score of 40-10 to secure the Plate. The Griffins pieced together a masterful weekend en route to their Plate Championship. SoCal finished with 5-2 record, dropping back-to-back matches to the Ramblin’ Jesters and the Tsunami Barbarians by a combined score of nine points. If not for a heroic try-saving tackle from Tsunami’s Ethan Hager in the Cup Quarterfinals, the Griffins could have very well been playing for the 2023 RugbyTown 7s Cup Championship themselves.
The Bowl Final was a showdown between two teams making their RugbyTown 7s debut in Speranza 22 and the Wild Dogs, and it was an exciting affair. When the dust settled, it was Wild Dogs who escaped with the 26-19 victory and the Bowl. They posted an impressive 5-2 record in their first showing, with their only two losses coming at the hands of the Cup Final participants in the USA-U23s and NAV Sevens.
It took Team Germany three trips to RugbyTown 7s to leave with some silverware, but 2023 saw the Germans take home the Shield by defeating Gorilla Rugby 31-7 in the final. Germany finished the tournament with a 4-3 record, defeating Denver 7s, Gorilla Rugby twice, and the Navy, and losing to SoCal Griffins, Ramblin’ Jesters, and Casanovas.