MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – This weekend I was reffing at Lakefront 7s, the largest rugby tournament within the Midwest. The Milwaukee West Side Harlequins RFC host the tourney, which attracts about 65 teams and over 1000 participants from across the country and around the world to historic Milwaukee. There were a few interesting teams but among them were two that really stood out – the Mexican National team, playing in the qualifier, and an English college on tour (High School) playing in the High School division. Within these two teams there was some very exciting and fan drawing games played.
The Mexican National team was a very impressive team taking fourth in the group stages of a 11 team pool, it allowed for the team to continue playing in the champions bracket of the Midwest Qualifier division. The team did very well and had a very successful day. When speaking to a few of the team members it was clear that they came to learn from the experience. It was great to see one of the fellow American nations competing at a level that will help develop the sport to eventually allow for a competitive American league. The team lost their first game to the the Chicago Lions who were eventually crowned as the Lakefront 7s champions.
The other team that was interesting to see was an English college team on tour – Consett RFC from New Castle. Granted, their 7s was not too impressive but they are touring as a 15s team. On Monday I watched the team againts the Wisconsin-Select U17s & U19s. Here, the English style of play was showed to an extensive rugby crowd. The U17s put up a valiant effort, but were beaten 17-7.
Yet it was the Wisconsin U19s that really shined, playing a heavily backs-dominant game, they scored an impressive 60-5 victory over the visitors. Consett is set to play throughout the Midwest over the coming week while in the Midwest, taking on the Illinois Tornadoes, and the Indiana select side.
Hopefully, we can see more teams gain experience playing in other places.