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Open side Plate Winners at Dubai Rugby 7s

Speranza22 Dubai Rugby 7s 2017 International Open Men Team

2017 was the 5th anniversary of S22 playing in the Dubai 7s International Open tournament. A name now synonymous with playing in the Dubai 7s, S22 set out to build a quality team to represent us on our 5th anniversary. As always we stuck to our key selection criteria of only selecting players who either knew Marco or who knew players who had already represented S22. To that end a quality side was put together and we had high hopes for the competition. The International Open is always a tough tournament with many established Elite 7s sides in it who have built a core team around various 7s tournaments in the lead up to Dubai. S22 comes together, literally 2 days before the tournament, which is tough but also aids our free flowing, non-descriptive rugby; allowing the lads to just play!

The Group stages saw S22 drawn in a very strong pool with Olymp Men (Ukraine), Singapore Baa Baas and Projecx Waterboys (Scotland). As always it is vital to get off to a good start and allow the boys to start gelling and our first game against a physical Olymp Men side allowed the lads to settle their nerves running out 24-12 winners. Next up was the dangerous Singapore Baa Baas who had given the talented Projecx Waterboys side a close first game. The boys started to play some good rugby but were pushed all the way by the Baa Baas but we were eventually victorious 26-17 ending day 1 on a high with 2 from 2 and a top of the group clash with Projecx Waterboys. The Waterboys are a well-established, quality side and we knew we would have to raise our game especially with a side that had only been together 3 days and only played two matches together. The first few minutes saw S22 play some excellent rugby keeping the ball and being patient, however a handling error in midfield allowed Waterboys to pounce and run the length of the pitch to score against the run of play. From the subsequent restart an intercepted pass again allowed Waterboys an easy score against the run of play. In a flash S22 were 14-0 down and it was always going to be hard to come back. The lads dug in but eventually lost 36-14 putting us as group runners up. Even more disappointing though was that only 3 of the 5 group runners up went through. As there had been some big mismatches in the other groups we unfortunately did not make one of the 3 runners up spots and so went in to the plate comp. The strength of our group was shown when Waterboys beat the winners of Group C 45-0 in the Cup Qrt finals! The Plate Knockout competition saw us first up against Centurion Warriors from Group D who we comfortably 36-0 as the lads really started to play some great rugby as they were getting more comfortable as a team. The semi-finals saw us play against our old goup friends Singapore Baa Baas (another indicator of how strong our group was is that the group winners Waterboys went on to win the cup and the other 3 teams all made the plate semi-finals!). The semi-finals showed just how much the boys had come on in a short period of time as they again put in a very strong performance to beat the Baa Baas 28-17. In the other semi-final Olymp men had dispatched Almaty 14-5 to set up an all Group D plate Final. The S22 lads were full of confidence now and again played some sublime rugby against a physical Olymp side and came out easy winners 33-12 to lift the plate!

This was an excellent performance from all the lads. Only losing 1 game (to eventual cup winners Waterboys) in the whole tournament showed how different things could have been if the groups had been a little more even as the boys improved each game. The lads were awesome both on and off the pitch and should be rightly proud of their achievements and we are already looking forward to next year!!!

Speranza 22 International Open Team 2017:

1. Fraser Doake

2. Cam Roberts

3. Ben Magee

4. Josh Hall

5. Charles Morgan

6. Brian Geraghty

7. Michael Adlard

8. Jacob Spence

9. Pat Coy

10. Lloyd Owen

11. Savelio Ropati

12. Emil Pittman

Team Manager: Rory Greene

Team Coach: Theo Commissaris


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