The Runner Sports

USA Rugby To Host Unfamiliar Faces At Silicon Valley Tournament

Those that have gotten used to the usual suspects making up the men’s competition of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens circuit are in for a surprise in California this November with the 1st annual Silicon Valley Sevens tournament hosted by USA Rugby. This never before seen contest features 12 international men’s teams and will be held at the Avaya Stadium in San Jose the weekend of November 4th and 5th.

The tournament, and accompanying festival, will bring together some of the finest sevens talent in the world in an exhibition of a sport that received its second inauguration into the 2016 Olympics after a 92-year break. The festivities will begin on Friday with a celebration featuring ample amounts of food and drink along with live musical performances throughout the weekend. Kickoff on both Saturday and Sunday is scheduled for 11:00 am and will feature the debut appearance of the Irish and Chinese sevens teams playing for the first time on American soil. Likewise, the different levels of west coast rugby will be represented through the presence of a tandem collegiate competition showcasing local university talent.  

The 12 teams are broken down into three pools that will compete to graduate on to quarter and semi-finals. In Pool A we have Ireland, England, Canada and Samoa. In Pool B there is Fiji, Australia, Japan, and the debut appearance of the Chinese national sevens team. In Pool C are the hosts of the tournament USA taking on New Zealand, Chile, and Tonga. For those teams gearing up for the HSBC Sevens competition starting this winter, the weekend offers a great opportunity to evaluate themselves on their progress as they face some stiff opposition.

Unlike previous international sevens tournaments, however, will be the presence of a Chilean, Tongan, Chinese, and Irish team. The Pacific Islands will be well-represented in the Silicon Valley Sevens, a rare event considering that the last competition featuring both Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji last appeared in 2007. Those that enjoy the bone-crunching, straight-running style of play exhibited by these teams will undoubtedly be left satisfied from the weekend. Quite possibly the most glaring newcomers, as they don’t hail from traditional rugby regions, are Chile and China. China is an all but unknown quantity in this tournament, but benefits from some massive domestic investments that are fueling the sport’s growth at home. Likewise, Chile, who have at least made some appearances on the international sevens circuit but are not a core team, will be looking to prove to the rugby world not to underestimate South American. A surprising late arrival to the sevens scene is that of the Irish national sevens team. Hailing from a self-described “rugby country,” the IRFU have delayed maintaining any consistent rugby sevens presence, instead opting to focus on the 15s version of the game. Knowing the popularity and success of the sport in Ireland, this has left many a sevens fans scratching their head and the performance of the men in green in San Jose will draw international attention.

Tickets are now on sale for the first ever international sevens tournament to be held in the Bay Area via Ticketmaster and SevensRugby.com

Eric Sweigert

Eric Sweigert

Currently a teacher-athlete up in Northern California, I was first introduced to rugby in college (go Aggies) and haven't looked back. Nowadays you can find me teaching American History and writing about a sport that provided many good memories and more than enough stitches.
Eric Sweigert