This weekend the Dawgs travel to Florida to compete in the Orlando based Tropical 7's Rugby Tournament. Tropical 7's has quickly grown into one of the premier seven man rugby events in the southeast attracting teams from all over the US and Canada. This is UGARFC's first trip to play in the tournament and according to club member Tim Mercado the team is "excited to play against elite competition."
The Dawgs are scheduled to compete in a pool of teams called Men's Elite and that group includes familiar foes South Carolina, University of Missouri and Florida International University. The division also includes Brock University and Trent University from Canada. "It will be our first time playing against international universities so it should be a great gauge to our level of play on a broader scale." said Mercado a Senior MIS/Biology Major.
A byproduct of a playing in a tournament like Tropical 7's is our younger players gain the much needed experience heading into the SCRC Sevens Tournament in Knoxville next weekend. "We have some players traveling for the first time so it will be a good for them to experience a road schedule become acclimated before the SCRC Tournament in a couple weeks." said Joey McLane a junior biology major and Outside Center for the club.
Winning at the SCRC Tournament means the Dawgs are one step closer to competing in the new benchmark of successful collegiate rugby, the Penn Mutual National Collegiate Sevens Tournament. "We will see the University of South Carolina at the Tropical 7's and they will for sure be one of the top teams in Knoxville in a couple weeks so we look forward to measuring our progress starting this weekend." said McLane looking forward to the competition this weekend. With high school rugby teams from all over playing and in attendance, winning at a tournament like Tropical 7's will surely help our recruiting.
Godspeed and Good Luck Dawgs!
Be careful on the road and represent the spirit of the University in everything you do!
To learn more about Tropical 7's and the impact this event is having on youth rugby in the southeast, watch the short video.