A Perfect Match in a Perfect Tournament | URugby | College Rugby and High School Rugby

A Perfect Match in a Perfect Tournament

I once played perfect in a perfect match in a perfect tournament. 

It was a long time ago in a place on the other side of the world. My first thought about what you might say is, "Come on, really?" I say that to myself all the time, but it really did happen. And, as a pretty good rugby player in my day, I made a point of striving for perfection every time I played. So much so that unfortunately I seem to remember all the times I was -not so- perfect.

I've argued this point many times with one of my favorite rugby personalities Biddy Boyle. Biddy, BTW, I'm still right. My point -in sevens- you must strive to be perfect and if you and just six other players play perfectly- you will win, no matter what. I recall it happening several times in my career but none more memorable than in the Taupiri 7s in New Zealand in February of 1990. I've posted the reference to the match below posted on Emil's website (Atlantis vs. Tokoroa Pirates) reposted from a March 26, 1990 article written by coach in Ed Haggerty's Rugby Magazine. As an aside it was even more perfect playing with some of my favorite rugby mates and my "little" brother Mike. 

The perfect game was played at the perfect tournament - the Taupiri 7s. What a treat as I now reflect on my rugby career. For me, it was the timing of the tournament that intrigued me. Back in 1990, coach wrote of the timeliness of the Melrose 7s and Hong Kong, but they were tournaments that I never had the opportunity to play. At Taupiri, all matches on all fields were completely in sync. There was an elaborate audio system with speakers at every field. The horn started the matches, ended the half, started the second half, and finished the contests. All three fields in perfect unison all day long. It was extraordinary.

At that point in my life, the guys playing 7s on the East Coast, I believe, played more 7s -counting total matches per summer- than anyone in the world. We all played all over, almost every weekend and we all showed. The Duck Brothers (Charlie and Jimmy), MOB (Will and Petrakes), OMEX, Washington, Bethlehem, my brother, and me with Whitemarsh. There are many more. When you start listing teams you tend to leave some out ... call me on it and I'll amend ... 

As Emil wrote in the referenced article, "Taupiri, however, has carried this preoccupation to extremes. Furthermore, their rules maximize the percentage of the match time that the ball is actually in play. All games, on all fields, begin at exactly the appointed time.  This is not left to the referee to enforce: at the sound of one siren, loud enough to be heard by everyone at all fields, all three games commence.  Seven minutes later, halftime begins.  Two minutes later, the second halves commence.  And seven minutes later, all three games end at the whistle following the siren (or in the case of a penalty kick, at the appropriate whistle according to the laws)."

I thought it was perfect. 

I brought the concept home and started a tournament on the South Jersey shore. I now manage a tournament in Bermuda. Each year we strive for perfection.

Read more about the 2024 Bermuda International 7s »

Atlantis Squad

Directly From the Rugby Mag article: Atlantis vs. Tokoroa Pirates (Taupiri 7s Pool Match Feb. 1990)  

This was just about a flawless game, in which our ball handling and support work were firing on all cylinders. Our display was so impressive that Auckland selector Morris Trapp remarked that our ball skills, and the way we were creating the gaps, were the best he'd ever seen, on any team, anywhere.  Great praise indeed.

The first try was scored by Jim Wilkinson after good support from a tackle situation, and was followed by a Mike Siano try after good ball handling led to a gap which he breached.  Chris Petrakes, proving the doctor wrong, followed with a hat trick of tries, and Barry Tofaeono added the sixth with a great individual move.    

The "all conversions must be drop kicks" hurt us in this game; with Chris O'Brien out, we went to Barry, who made only one kick of six.

Atlantis Players from the Pirates Match

     1. Michael Siano          
     2. Will Brewington     
     3. Jimmy Wilkinson
     4. Chris Petrakes
     5. Charlie Wilkinson
     6. Stephen Siano
     7. Barry Tofaeono


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