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RugbyTown Tournaments: Annual Glendale Staples Attracts Talent From Far and Wide

by | May 29, 2018 | News

Tournament play has long been a staple at Infinity Park, the Glendale venue hosting some of the largest and most prestigious competitions in the country. Known as RugbyTown USA, Glendale has been a hotbed of national rugby activity for more than a decade. Starting in mid-May, tournaments returned again to the nation’s first rugby-specific stadium, kicking off with the USA Rugby Collegiate 7s National Championships. June 2-3 will see the USA Rugby Club National Championship competition, and August 24-26 Infinity Park’s signature annual event will again be in Glendale: RugbyTown 7s.

RugbyTown 7s Ramblin Jesters vs Fiji (Savu Water)

Photo by Seth McConnell

An increasingly popular rugby discipline, participation in Sevens play skyrocketed following the 2009 announcement of its return to the 2016 Olympic Games. A variant of rugby union play, Rugby Sevens is a faster-paced version of the sport, with smaller teams and considerably shorter game duration. Instead of the usual fifteen-player teams playing forty-minute halves, Rugby Sevens features seven players to a team and seven minute halves. The abbreviated game play places an emphasis on conditioning and endurance, and means that an entire tournament can be played over the course of a weekend.

In mid-May, Infinity Park hosted the USA Rugby Collegiate Sevens National Championships for the second year running. Founded in 2011, the tournament has consistently drawn the nation’s best young talent, producing competition at the highest level. 2018 saw the return of reigning Division I Men’s and Women’s sides from Lindenwood University, traveling from St. Louis, Missouri to compete. Friday, May 18 through Sunday, May 20, 2018, more than forty teams from colleges across the nation gathered to vie for National titles in Men’s and Women’s Division I and II play. With teams from Arkansas to Arizona, California to North Carolina, it was truly a national gathering.

June 2-3 will see the next round of tournament action at Infinity Park, as the 2018 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club National Championships come to town. Featuring club finals for Women’s Division I and II, as well as for Men’s Division I, II, and III teams, the tournament will decide the top amateur rugby talent in the United States. The USA Rugby Club structure divides the nation into two conferences: East and West. Within each conference are four distinct competitive regions (Pacific North, Pacific South, Frontier, and Red River in the West, and Atlantic North, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and Southern in the East). The winners of each region advances to the semifinals, which took place May 19-20. The winners of those matches move on to compete at Infinity Park in June.

Every year, summer rugby in Glendale concludes with a bang: Infinity Park’s signature annual event, the RugbyTown 7s (RT7s) Tournament. Attracting scores of teams from every corner of the globe, as well as representative teams from every branch of the U.S. Military, RT7s provides Glendale spectators a taste of rugby’s universal appeal and expansive international presence. Last year’s tournament attracted thousands over three days of play, and with the emergence of professional rugby in 2018 stoking the US fan base, promises to be larger still this August. Alongside the fast-paced competition, attendees will get to enjoy Glendale’s Bruises and Brews Beer Festival, a recent tradition that pairs Colorado’s craft brewers and distillers with the sport of rugby.

Augmenting the already exciting professional debut of the Glendale Raptors, tournaments at Infinity Park offer rugby fans another outlet for exploring the sport – enjoying top-tier play at the collegiate, club, and international level. In addition to the tournaments scheduled this year, fans can look forward to the Major League Rugby semi-finals, a double-header that will take place at Infinity Park on June 30. Long the epicenter of rugby in the United States, Glendale’s professional, club, and tournament play means that in 2018, more than ever before, the city is truly RugbyTown USA.

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