This week the Milwaukee Barbarians D1 side launched their campaign to qualify for the national USA Rugby Club Sevens Championship.
To Qualify for the Championship, Men’s rugby sevens teams in the Midwest must compete in a series of five qualifying tournaments throughout the region. Today, that journey began for the Barbarians in Madison, WI at the Madtown 7s.
Being the first event of the year, teams were randomly seeded and Milwaukee were grouped with the Griffins (Chicago, IL), Wolfpack (Woodbury, MN) and CARP (Cleveland, OH).
Pool play begins with a stumble by D1
The day did not start well for the Barbarians D1 side as they dropped an early match to the Griffins with a 21-0 loss.
The team regrouped for the following pool matches and racked up impressive 42-0 and 31-5 wins against the Wolfpack and CARPs.
With 3 pools in total and the Griffins advancing as the top of the pool, the wide margins were critical in capturing the last of the top-four seeds heading into the elimination rounds.
The semi-final was the match of the day for the D1 squad as they matched up against the formidable 1823 A-side (Columbus, OH) - the 2014 National Bowl Champions.
The match was an exciting back and forth but in the end, 1823 had a narrow advantage at the final whistle taking the match 29-21.
Shaking off the disappointment of a near-upset, the Barbarians headed into the consolation final to determine 3rd place, ironically meeting the Griffins for the second time of the day.
And the Barbarians would have their revenge with a dominant 26-5 victory to seal a 3rd place finish and very respectable start to the Qualifier season.
Interestingly, and despite not playing the Championship match against their club mates and not being eligible for the national Championship, the 1923 B-side finished in second place having defeated the Griffins in the other semi-final.
Division 2 follows suit
The Division 2 side performed well in the pool stages at the Midtown 7s with a 22-0 victory over the Griffins and a 33-12 victory over MRFC (Milwaukee, WI).
The last pool match was a forfeit-win (28-0) for the Barbarians as the Southpaws (South Bend, IN) failed to appear.
Despite the wide margins on the scoreline, the Barbarian’s 3-0 record meant they were the third seed heading into the elimination round.
The event organizers decided for 1 vs. 3 and 2 vs. 4 semi-finals which matched the Barbarians against Little Rock (hailing from locations unknown). The match was a one-sided affair with Little Rock prevailing 29-0.
In the consolation final, MRFC did not appear despite playing in the other semi-final. The forfeit-win made for a shortened day and a 3rd-place place finish for the Barbarians.
3 for 3
For the first time this year, the Barbarian Division 3 side went to a different tournament than the rest of the club and visited to Kenosha, WI for Harborfest.
The day began with a tight, defensive match against tournament hosts UW Parkside. In the end, the Barbarians persevered with a 14-10 victory.
With 1 match under their belts, the Milwaukee rugby team took on Iowa State. Defense stood out again as the Barbarians earned a a shut-out victory. The scoreline at the final whistle read 19-0.
The last match of pool play would be the toughest of the day for the Barbarians as they faced the Wiskullsin Skulls — composed of current and former Wisconsin select side — with both teams undefeated.
The affair was closely contested with the Skulls capturing a 17-12 victory.
In the semi-finals, the Barbarians met their crosstown rivals the Black and Blue.
Unfortunately, both teams had roster violations due to using players from another team that had been eliminated in pool play. The semi-final match was stopped before half-time and both teams dealt a unique double-forfeit loss.
Despite the dramatic ending, the Barbos Division 3 side ended up in third place just like the sides in Madison.
Next up - home-field advantage
The next tournament for the Milwaukee Barbarians is the Lakefront 7s - the event we host in Milwaukee every summer.
The Barbarians have entered a team in the Qualifier and Competitive brackets, and two teams in the Social bracket.