Scrappy Barbarians defend second place in Midwest rugby sevens series.

The week leading up to this past weekend’s Rock-n-Roll 7s in Cleveland, OH — the fourth stop on a 5-leg series of events to pick 2 representatives of the Midwest at USA Rugby’s National Championship — was a roller-coaster for our Milwaukee Barbarians. 

The week started out poorly with news that some injuries sustained by our players at the Lakefront 7s were quite serious, and in some cases we’re season-ending. 

Luckily, a few of our Qualifier athletes were returning from busy work/home schedules to flesh out the ranks.

All press is good press

Following on the heels of this good news, we received quite a bit of press coverage this week. Rugby Magazine published it’s rankings of rugby sevens clubs in the USA with our Milwaukee rugby outfit rounding out the top 3. 

Just a day later, This is American Rugby also ranked us in the nations top 10.

Rugby Magazine then followed up again with a great interview with Barbarian Nic Vigder.

A surprise shuffle in the standings

But then came some mixed news.

First, a registration error led to WMU (Kalamazoo, MI) being listed twice in the Qualifier schedule for Rock-n-Roll 7s. Some great work by the local organizers in Cleveland had the schedule sorted very quickly. 

Then, the Midwest RFU reported some roster infractions by teams dating back to the first Qualifier at the Minnesota 7s. As a result, three teams lost points for that leg of the Qualifier series, vaulting the Barbarians into first place just 36 hours before the Rock-n-Roll 7s kickoff.

Milwaukee rugby gets down to business

Despite the distractions of the week, the Barbarians headed to Cleveland with their eye on the prize. 

At each Midwest Sevens Series qualifier, it is critical to sweep your pool as the top-4 finishers in the pool stages compete for the top four spots at the event. 

And just like at the Lakefront 7s, the Barbarians did not disappoint with 3 straight wins in their pool: 21-17 vs. Griffins (Chicago, IL), 26-7 vs. 1823 (B-side; Columbus, OH) and 22-0 vs. Pittsburgh (PA). 

On to the playoff round

The 3-0 record and 14 tries in the seeding round gave the Barbarians the third seed overall and set up the critical match of the day against second-seeded 1823 (A-side). 

In a hard-fought match, the Barbarians fell to the hosts in a 1-try barn burner: final score 19-12 for 1823.

But the work was not done for the day.

To maintain their spot at the top of the Midwest Sevens Series table, the Milwaukee rugby outfit would have to defeat the 2012 Midwest runner-up, the Youngbloodz (Minneapolis, MN).

After another scrappy match, the Barbarians pulled off the narrowest of victories — just a conversion made the difference in the 21-19 win.

Three contenders, two spots

With just one leg left in the Series — the Rock Hard 7s (Grand Rapids, MI) — the Lions (56 pts; Chicago, IL), Barbarians (55 pts), and 1823 (54 pts) remain locked in a tight race for the two spots at Nationals.

With the race so close — just one point separating 1st from 2nd, and 2nd from 3rd —much will depend on the random drawings that will set the pools for the final encounter.

Roster

The roster for the 2013 Rock-n-Roll sevens was:

  • Ignacio Herrera
  • Nick Vigder
  • Mike Reagles
  • Ryan Duklas
  • Mike Albert
  • Trevor Hergert
  • Nick Albert
  • Jeremy Petfalski
  • Charlie Wagner
  • Vince Kelly
  • Alex Koivisto
  • Ryan Walczak
  • John Hickey (Coach)
  • Kevin Smyth (Coach)
  • Joe Cunningham (Manager)

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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