Over the weekend, AURFC traveled down I-95 to Richmond, Virginia to compete in the social division of the 33rd annual Monk Vaughn Sevens tournament. AU fielded an unconventional sevens side which consisted of 4 props, 4 flankers, a second row and a scrum half. The side was drawn into a strong and experienced group in the first stage of the tournament, matching up against the Hampton Heat II, William & Mary, and The University of Mary Washington. In their first outing, AURFC refused to accept a forfeit win for a Hampton Heat team that was stuck in traffic. When the two squads took the pitch twenty minutes late, an off-kilter although evenly matched affair ensued. As time expired each side was frustrated by a 12-12 stalemate, scrum half Ryan Taylor and Prop Mike Fussell each recording tries, one of which was converted by the former. In under an hour, AU was back out on the pitch against a touted Mary Washington program that received six-figures in funding this year. Ryan Taylor opened the scoring three minutes in and AU led the game 7-5 into the match’s closing seconds. On the last play of the game, the Center for Mary Washington was able to break free from a tackle and go the sixty meter distance to the try line in order to seal the game at 12-7. After an extended break, AU regrouped and proved capable of explosive play with a 29-0 routing of William & Mary, tries recorded by Mike Fussell (2), Ryan Taylor, Fly-Half Chris “Butters” Carr, and Prop Matt Von Lunen. The guys’ group-stage record of 1-1-1 was enough to earn them a spot in a quarterfinal playoff against a savvy Norfolk Blues second side who topped their group in the tournament’s first stage. AU was able to hold their own against Norfolk, containing a highly technical offensive attack long enough to open up a number of counter-attacking opportunities. 6 minutes into the match, Ryan Taylor took advantage of one of these opportunities, breaking away down the left sideline fifty meters for a try thanks to beautiful ball movement by Prop Josh Sarath and Fly-Half Ming Ong. Victory was not meant to be for AU, however, as a lop-sided possession battle provided Norfolk with enough opportunities to put two hard-earned tries in during the second half. Final score: Norfolk 12, AU 7. All in all, the Monk Vaughn Sevens tournament was an important and invigorating learning experience for a collection of close-friends whose knowledge of and experience in sevens rugby was marginal before this weekend. We’d like to thank the Richmond Lions for hosting the tournament and allowing our guys to get some training in as the fifteens season approaches.