The Northeast Men and Women were both crowned champions of the 7th Rainforest 7’s tournament over the weekend in San Jose, Costa Rica with a series of dominant performances by both sides, each not conceding a single point throughout the tournament.
For the Women, Day 1 saw victories over the national teams of Panama and Costa Rica, as well as a Winnipeg (Canada) select side. On Day 2, the team maintained form with repeat victories over Costa Rica and Winnipeg and a Tournament All-star side to clinch the trophy. Led by Captain Morgan Roberts, multiple players took the opportunity to raise their hands before the Las Vegas Invitational with Gio Cruz and Kala Crawford in particular impressing. “It was heartening to see the effort put out this weekend,” said Head Coach Steve Lewis. “We now go into the LVI with some form and no little confidence.”
Kala Crawford was also crowned the top try scorer for the weekend in the Women’s bracket.
For the Men, it was a similar situation. Day 1 saw victories over the national teams of Panama and Costa Rica as well as select sides from Winnipeg (Canada) and San Jose (Costa Rica). On Day 2, the team defeated: Costa Rica in the Quarterfinals; the Winnipeg select side in the semifinals; and then the San Jose select side in the Final. Captain Harry Higgins led from the front supported by strong performances from all including two players on debut, college players Isaiah Lopez (New England College) and Brian Sussingham (Endicott College).
Chris Frazier further impressed having claimed the top try scorer title for the weekend in the Men’s bracket.
“The players gelled really well together over the course of the tour, taking in and putting into action all feedback received to help them improve every single game. It was a true 12-man effort with everyone contributing and hopefully going back to their clubs or onto Vegas a better player,” said the team’s head coach Dom Wareing. “The future is bright for the academy and tours like this one in Costa Rica that allow us to continue to work with the ever increasing depth of talent on the Northeast and develop the next generation of potential Eagles.”
Next up for the Northeast Academy Wolfpack is the Las Vegas Invitational 7’s Tournament, March 2nd – March 5th.
In line with the Academy’s commitment to development with a mission to grow the game, while in Costa Rica the players and staff took the opportunity to host a clinic and work with the local French school ‘Liceo Franco-Costarricense,’ a memory and experience that they will cherish for years to come.
On a more sobering note; on behalf of the Rugby community, the Northeast Academy would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Peter Scouras, President of the Wombats – the Winnipeg Select Side from Canada – who sadly passed in a non-rugby accident while on tour in Costa Rica.
The Northeast Academy is a National Development Academy sanctioned by USA Rugby as the official designated pathway to the USA Eagles National Team selection for both Men and Women in the Northeast of America. With training locations in New York City, Boston and Buffalo, the Academy offers development in three distinct areas: elite player advancement; coach education; and local union enrichment; and has the ultimate goal to augment the skills of players and coaches alike, growing the game within the EMPIRE and NERFU Unions.