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Fallbrook Girls Rugby wins Las Vegas Sevens plate championship

 

Last updated 5/19/2017 at Noon



The Fallbrook Rugby Club's under-18 girls team won the Girls High School Open Sevens plate championship at the Las Vegas Invitational tournament in March.

The Warriors overcame a 1-2 record in pool play March 2 to win all three plate bracket games March 3.

"I think overall for the under-18s it's a huge improvement," said Fallbrook co-coach Craig Pinnell.

Not all of the Fallbrook High School girls rugby players participated on behalf of the Warriors. Fallbrook also had a team in the Girls Under-16 Sevens division which reached the bowl bracket final, and older Fallbrook stars Lilly Durbin and Naomi Collin played for the Atavus All-Stars in the Girls High School Elite Sevens competition.

The tournament's youth matches were played at Heritage Park in Henderson. Fallbrook's under-18 squad began pool play with a 33-15 loss to the Upright team from Dundas, Ontario. The only Warriors win in pool play was a 37-12 match against the Tundra club based in Minneapolis. Fallbrook concluded pool competition with a 19-15 loss against the Sacramento-based Land Park squad.

The Las Vegas Invitational was the first competition for the Fallbrook ruggers since Feb. 11, when the Warriors won the So Cal High School Sevens championship with a 28-0 victory in the finals against View Park Preparatory High School. View Park Preparatory, which also plays as the ICEF (Inner City Education Foundation) club, fared better in the plate quarterfinals at the Las Vegas Invitational although Fallbrook prevailed over the Knights by a 21-17 margin.

Fallbrook's plate semifinal match was against the Carson-based South Bay club.

"We all went away to play against other teams and we ended up playing ourselves," Pinnell said.

A 19-0 victory over South Bay advanced Fallbrook to the plate championship match. Fallbrook once again faced Land Park and won the plate championship with a 24-12 victory over the Harlequins.

"It was a good improvement in Day 2," said Pinnell. "As you can see from the scores, much more focused."

The Atavus team with Durbin and Collin won its pool and reached the Girls High School Elite Sevens cup semifinal, where eventual champion Atlantis took a 21-19 victory over Atavus.

Because there was no under-14 division at the Las Vegas Invitational, Fallbrook's under-16 team consisted of some players regularly on the under-16 club and some players normally on the under-14 team. The Warriors began the March 3 pool play matches with a 23-10 loss to South Bay. The game against the Summit team from Breckenridge, Colorado, ended as a 7-7 tie.

The Sydney City club from Australia had two teams in the division which ended up playing each other in the cup finals, and one of those Sydney City teams won a 31-0 match against Fallbrook in pool play. The 0-2-1 pool record placed Fallbrook in the bowl bracket for March 4 competition.

The Warriors faced Summit in the bowl semifinal and won by a 22-7 margin. Fallbrook's opponent in the under-16 bowl final was the Foothill Lions squad from Alberta, which won that championship match by a 26-10 score.

"Overall they were improved at the end," said Pinnell of the under-16 team. "They were sort of up and down. They were really young. This was the beginning of the season for them."

Although winning a championship is one of the objectives of being in a tournament, Pinnell also uses early-season tournaments to provide his players with opportunities to face premier competition.

"It's a good experience to play other teams and see what the level is actually like out there," said Pinnell. "The good thing was that they played some different teams from around the country and around the world. It was a good experience for them."

 

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