Schuylkill River U23 7s Program Storms into Year Two
Philadelphia, Pa- The Schuylkill River U23 7s team was Mid-Atlantic Men’s Open Champions, finished the 2016 summer season with 21-5 overall record and had a winning streak that hit 17 games spanning 4 tournaments. For any observer those stats jump out at you. When you consider those accomplishments were garnered by a group under 23 year olds against some of the best men’s clubs in the Mid-Atlantic, the results are outstanding.
“It's our first tournament and first match together, some guys don’t even know each other’s names yet, and we lose by one point on the last play of the game. I had that moment of let’s see how they react? I’d be lying if I told you I think we'd win our next 17 games, but I will say, I knew very quickly, that yes this group had that potential and they realized it very quickly,” beamed SR U23 Coach William 'Biddy' Boyle.
Schuylkill River’s U23 Academy side lost their first ever game to a local select-side of sorts, Molly Maguires, but would run off five straight wins that day to win the Plate Championship at North Penn 7s. After that, the young lads from Philadelphia were thrust into the Mid-Atlantic qualifier series. Ten wins later, SR U23 hoisted the Men’s Open Finals trophy at the first two qualifiers. They would stretch the winning streak by two before finally losing a match in 3rd Mid-Atlantic Qualifier. When the summer ended, two firsts, a fourth, and a second place were more than enough for the U23 squad to capture the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Men’s Open Championship.
Championships aside, perhaps the greatest accomplishments of the U23 program was that three members of the squad worked their way onto the SR premier side throughout the summer and represented the club at the USA Rugby Nationals in Denver, CO. That doesn't include three other players who were U23, but only suited up for the Premier side. “As happy I was to win the title, watching those players move up to the premier side, and play at Nationals on that stage was my proudest moment as their coach. It was also so special to see their teammates just as happy for them and I told those guys your teammates got you here by pushing you, so it was huge for the program not just those individuals” explained Boyle.
Heading into Year Two, expectations are higher than ever, as the SR U23 Academy will be expanding. “I am excited to get back to work with this group, especially as we anticipate fielding multiple sides just in our U23 program. Our goal is always to develop players, and that happens with competition within the U23 Academy, but I also tell the boys you need to go after those guys on the premier side and take their spots. Our practices will be more hostile than Saturday” said a sheepish Boyle.
Established in 2008, the Schuylkill River 7s Program has risen to one of the most well-known and accomplished 7s outfits in the country following the ethos of player development. Head Coach, Chris “Pudge” Ryan, who coaches the Men’s Premier team and oversees all the coaches in the program, said it best, “I have said for many years, and truly believe that a summer in our program whether that be on the Academy, or Men’s [Premier] side will enhance your game more significantly than anywhere in the country over that time period. We have consistently seen, and will only get more prevalent, 7s programs pop up, promise you the world and deliver little at your expense. We lay our hat on the results, the development of our players, and the feedback coaches and national selectors have given us for almost a decade. Don’t get me wrong, we have strong roots with Atlantis, are a Tiger affiliate program, and consider APRTC dear friends, so we believe and support in those outfits, but that doesn't overshadow how much my coaches and me believe in our program.”
Schuylkill River RFC 7s program accepts all athletes, regardless of experience. For more information, contact Director of Rugby, Pat Boyle (email@example.com).
Schuylkill River 7s program was established in 2008, Since that time, SR has qualified for the USA Rugby 7s National Championship 7 times, winning the MAC Championship 5 times, and is the defending 2016 Men’s Premier and Open Champions. The program has produced four National Camp invitees, eight Collegiate All-Americans, and over 25 players have gone onto play for US select/touring sides.