Barbarians break Midwest dead-lock, capture second place at Lakefront 7s.

Since the start of the Midwest Qualifier series in early June, the Milwaukee Barbarians and 1823 (Columbus, OH) have been battling for one of two chances to go to the National Championships.

And as of last week, the teams had been tied for second place in the Midwest standings.

So everyone in the Barbarians camp was well aware that distancing themselves from 1823 at the Lakefront 7s — the third leg of the 5-event Qualifier series — was the only path to Nationals.

With over 95 teams each year, the Lakefront 7s is one of the largest rugby sevens events in the country. Since the Barbarians were also hosting the tournament, there was added pressure to both perform on the pitch and successfully run a large event.

No small task with separate sides playing in all 3 Men’s brackets. 

As luck would have it, the random seedings for the Qualifier event put 1823 and the Barbarians in the same ‘pool of death’, so-called because the top team from each pool is all but guaranteed to finish the event above any other team that advances from the same pool. 

This gave the Barbarians the opportunity they had been waiting for. 

Strong in pool play

The Barbarians took their task seriously and opened the day with a strong performance over their state-rivals, WRFC (Madison, WI). The 17-10 win was a good warm-up for the critical 1823 match that was next on the schedule.

Like the opener, the 1823 match was a close affair with strong defense from both sides. After the final whistle, the Barbarians again prevailed by just a single converted try: 14-7.

Having defeated 1823, the final obstacle was the Youngbloodz (Minneapolis, MN) — the 2012 Midwest finalists and 2nd-place finishers at the 2012 Lakefront 7s.

The Barbarians knew that the Bloodz had the potential for greatness so they came out firing on all cylinders, eventually running up a 19-7 victory to sweep the pool and take the 3rd seed going into the playoff rounds.

The road to Nationals

In the semi-final, the Babas drew second-seeded Griffins (Chicago, IL). With both confidence and momentum building, the Barbarians racked up an impressive 6-unanswered tries against the visitors from the south. 

Semi-final score: 36-0.

Achieving the 4-0-0 record took it’s toll however as the Barbarians struggled in the final against tourney favorites the Lions (Chicago, IL).

After a shaky start and an early yellow-card, the Barbarians remained pinned in their own half for much of the match, falling 31-0 at the final Whistle.

Despite the loss, the Barbarians received 10 points in the Midwest Qualifier Series, taking their 3-event total to 29 and for the first time taking a clear lead over 1823 with a 3-point margin. 

With the Midwest Qualifier Series on hold for the Independence Day holiday, the Barbarians now look to the 4th leg of the series — the Rock-n-Roll Sevens (Cleveland, OH) — where they must defend their second-place finish against 1823 who are hosting the event. 

Vic Drover
Vic Drover

Vic has a long history in and around the sport of rugby both in Canada and the US. He has played for and started numerous clubs (Vandal's RFC, Strathcona Druids, Suffolk Bull Moose, West Side Harlequins, Milwaukee Barbarians, Hamilton Girls Rugby), and served many roles over the years at all administrative levels. Vic joined the Harlequins in 2007 and remained an active club member through the transition to the Barbarians. These days, he spends his rugby time playing tag rugby and touring with the Old Boys, keeping the club website updated, helping organize the Lakefront 7s, and fundraising.

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