The Memphis Tigers hosted its first tournament in recent memory on January 31st. The 7s tournament had a specific purpose, to serve as a development opportunity for teams preparing for conference 7s championships. With Freddy in the tower calling the match and playing tunes, the tournament took on a carnival atmosphere. Playing at Memorial provided a wonderful opportunity for fans and players alike.
The Tigers are preparing for the South Independent Rugby Conference (SIRC) 7s tournament to be held in Savannah, Georgia February 7 and 8. Alabama and Mississippi State are preparing for the Southeastern Rugby Conference (SERC) is later in the spring. Arkansas State is heading to the Vegas 7s in a few weeks and needed to sort out a few players. To round out the teams, the Blues and Kings sent sides to get some playing time and experience.
Arkansas State was the winner for the day. That came as no surprise. ASU brought players who were on the bubble for Vegas and clearly dominated the play for the day. The major benefit for the other participating teams is that ASU showed us all how to properly play. Teams had a chance to see how ASU set their defense and how they moved the ball. Play for all teams improved throughout the day.
Alabama came in second and took on ASU for the last match of the day. Alabama actually played really well against ASU. I believe Alabama will do well in their conference tournament. The opportunity to play ASU was certainly helpful to them.
Mississippi State took third place in the tournament and learned as well. Miss State has some very big players, and they were initially locked in 15s style play. Their new coach took advantage of the weekend to improve his players significantly. By the end of the day, they had learned how to swing the ball and attack space.
The Tigers played their best players against ASU early in the day and they did a fairly good job. Mistakes were made, but Swat and Tony corrected them at the half. All Tigers got some playing time and the team learned a lot on the day.
We are grateful for the Blues and Kings for coming out to play. They got a good run in and they will be better for having participated in the weekend.
Referees for the day were Rob Halcomb and Jonathan Brewi. Alastair Twaddle coached the referees between matches. Like the players, referees need to shake off the rust from the winter. Both referees improved throughout the day. Rob has more refereeing experience and did a fabulous job. Jonathan is newer to refereeing so is not as polished. However, he knows the game well and has fabulous instincts. He gets the calls right. Thanks to both of these men for helping last Saturday.
Fans asked if we would be doing this again next year. It is hard to look that far ahead. Much will determine when our conference 7s tournament is next year. It was a good experience for our team and all teams who participated thanked us for providing this learning opportunity.
We have some Bluff City 7s Challenge T-shirts left. (S, M, L, XL only). If you want one, they are $20.00. Just go to the Donate page and give us $20.00, tell us that you want a shirt and what size. We’ll get you a shirt. They look great. You need to buy one.
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