The NORFC and Olympic Elite qualified from the True South and NORFC finished behind Atlanta Old White in the South qualification tournament. The two qualified for the national tournament
The following report by Evan Lappen (07.25.16) in Rugby Today
Ten qualifying tournaments in four regions culminated at the South 7s Championships in Charlotte, N.C. on Saturday. A total of 12 men’s and women’s teams from the Carolinas, Florida, Georgia, and the True South Rugby Unions competed for the four spots at Nationals in Denver, Colo. on August 13th and 14th. With temperatures nearing 100°F all day, the South 7s Championships ended with Atlanta Old White and New Orleans representing the men and Orlando and Charlotte advancing for the women in Denver.
In the men’s championship, Charlotte (Carolinas), the Legion (Georgia), the Oklahoma Elite (True South), and Orlando (Florida) were grouped in one pool and Miami (Florida), New Orleans (True South), Atlanta Old White (Georgia), and Charlotte B (Carolinas, not eligible) rounded out the second pool.
After three rounds of pool play, Charlotte and Orlando advanced to the semifinals out of Pool A. Charlotte went undefeated prevailing over the Legion, the Oklahoma Elite, and Orlando by a combined score of 80-19. Orlando won its first two games before succumbing to the North Carolina team in its last match.
Pool B was more competitive as Miami, New Orleans, and Atlanta battled to identical 2-1 records. Miami opened with a 36-7 victory over New Orleans, beat Charlotte B, and then were blanked, 28-0, by the Old White. Following its loss to Miami, New Orleans let out its frustration on Atlanta winning 24-14 before crushing Charlotte B, 54-0. The Old White began with an easy 41-7 win over Charlotte B, lost to New Orleans, and shut out Miami. Atlanta and New Orleans advanced to the semifinals based on point differential.
In the penultimate matches, New Orleans scraped by Charlotte in one of the closest matches of the tournament, 15-12. The Louisiana club didn’t wait too long before they knew their opponent in the final as the Atlanta Old White clobbered Orlando, 31-12.
The Atlanta Old White attributed the success of the tournament to the team-centric attitude of the team. “Our coach, Ronn Omondi, challenged us to share the workload during the day,” said Atlanta captain Jamie Gasparella. “That can mean many different things in different games. The outcome was that we had different guys step up at different times in each game to shoulder the load, play with great intensity, and inspire the rest of the team. I believe that was the difference maker for us.”
The team first ideal powered the Atlanta Old White to a 28-5 victory in the cup final against a well-drilled New Orleans club. The Old White jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead and scored one more try in the second half as Zach Miller (2, 4/4 on conversions), Rashaud Moore, and Coop Jackson each dotted down tries.
Commenting on the final, Gasparella remarked, “New Orleans beat us earlier in the day and the reason why they won the pool play game was because of intensity from the beginning. In the final, we made a commitment to ourselves to come out with just as great of an effort and win that first battle. We came out with a lot of fire and passion and played with our backs against the wall leading to the momentum in our direction and we were running after that.”
The NORFC community came together to send the 7s side to Denver.
The following letter from NORFC club President inspired donations:
Subject: NORFC HEADING TO THE USARFU 7’s NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
> > To the New Orleans Rugby Family
August 1, 2016
When your future is in your own hands, you know it couldn’t be in a
better place. That’s how I feel today about New Orleans rugby club
embarks on a new chapter. We are all aware of the extraordinary demands that the last few
seasons have placed on our players and our organization. From the
pinnacle of national championship competition, New Orleans rugby has
for the past few seasons faced a demanding road schedule and
doubleheader weekends in order to play at a high level.
That has been a difficult time for the club on personal and
institutional levels. But New Orleans rugby responded and fulfilled
its commitments on the pitch.
The season, however, have a new deal.
Earlier this year, our club was prepared to exit Division 1 play and
reenter the True South D-2 division and let the chips fall. During
our petition to join the True South D-2 club, however, the national
competitions committee recognized and acknowledged our geographic dilemma and the financial burden brought on by the excess travel.
The upshot: New Orleans Rugby has been granted waiver to compete
USARFU Division 1 independent, meaning we are no longer tethered to
a union. We do however, need to fulfill a quality schedule of our
own making (approximately 12 quality fixtures). We are currently in
the process of inviting some quality snowbird sides down to help fulfill our commitment.
This means the terms of our competition will be more self directed.
The ball, and our club’s future, is firmly in our hands.
The support and commitment of our club members, sponsors and
supporters remains as vital as ever as we navigate new waters, and
I’m confident we will find success.
> > ASPEN RUGGER FEST
You may remember that last year we targeted a number of quality
young recruits and invited them up to the Aspen Rugger Fest to
supplement our own player pool. Some of these recruits did in fact
play on the Nola Rugby First IV last season.
We are going to do it again this year and play to win the
tournament. I invite you to join us in Aspen this year to enjoy some
quality rugby while supporting your Nola Rugby Club. This year’s
Aspen Rugger Fest will take place on September 15-18. Some of the
Nola Rugby Old Boys will team up with Florida and play on the
September 15 and 16, while our young bucks will play on September 17 and 18.
> > EVENTS & SPONSORSHIP
Many of you have asked what happened to the past years Nola Rugby’s
2016 Hall of Fame, Purple Benefit Dinner, Awards Banquet, and Golf Tournament.
The short answer is the administration and players were spread pretty thin.
We did our best to fulfill our fixtures while we figured out how to
keep the ship moving in the right direction. Given we are a fully
volunteer organization, we sometimes lack the volunteers. We will
hopefully regroup and get all these events back on the books.
In addition to all our quality sponsors, Nola Rugby has been proud to have Cembell Industries in our corner. Larry and Mary Antonini
have been faithful supporters of Nola Rugby and I couldn’t be more
proud to have their support. I thank them both for their generosity and continued support. We are always looking for quality sponsors to
partner with Nola Rugby. Please stay vigilant to sponsorship opportunities.
NOLA Rugby GOING FOR ANOTHER NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP Nola Rugby 7’s
has punched their ticket to compete in the finals of the USARFU National Championships in Denver Colorado in 3 weeks. Father Mike
has been asked to retrieve the collection plates from the vault in
the sacristy and polish off the past couple years patina. The club
and 7’s players have covered most of their travel and lodging costs
to date. I would like to get the players up to Denver to compete
without placing additional financial burden on them. My goal is to
secure $7,500.00 to cover the air fare and lodging for the guys. Our
boys have trained hard and played hard. Nola 7’s Rugby is 1 of 12 elite clubs to have earned their place on the national stage. Our Pay Pal account set up to help facilitate donations or you can send
a check made payable to NORFC to my address, 6965 Colbert St. NOLA
70124. Your generosity is always cherished and valued, when our
boys earn their way to compete for a national championship, I know I
can rely on you and your support. I will get the pump primed with a
> > NEW BROOMS
I have had the pleasure of leading the Nola Rugby ship for the past number of years, the patina I wear does not polish off. Likely,
this may be my last term as club president. I have been considering
stepping down for quite some time. I have had a tremendous run and
have been fortunate to influence the sport I love in the city I
love. I am going nowhere and will always stay involved in some
capacity. I believe a new broom sweeps clean and I look forward to
the onslaught of worthy candidates to put their hat in the ring. Thank you for all your support over the years.
$5700 was raised by the end of the fundraiser at Finn McCool’s on the Saturday before the team left for Colorado. Jeff Reuther provided the following list of donors:
Henry B Hahn
John and Jan Reuther
In pool play NORFC was winless losing
54-0 to Seattle Saracens, 21-19 to Austin Huns, & 28-12 to Kansas City Blues.
In knock-out play they lost 26-7 to Little Rock Stormers, 35-0 to Olympic Club Rugby, and ended the tournament on a winning note defeating Austin Huns 27-19.