Thursday, July 26, 2018

Dogged Determination at Denver 7s

Who’s the Bulldog?

The answer to that question can be found in the manically pulsing beats of the quarter-hour segments that are rugby 7-a-side fixtures and the epitome of that tempo was on display at Barbarians 7s in Cook Park, Denver on June 23rd.  Bulldog Rugby is a collection of scholar-athletes, schooled by one of the best with sponsorship funding by a pair of far-sighted enthusiasts. Bulldog dropped a 17-19 decision to KC Blues in their only match at Heartland 7s on July 14th, a tournament shortened because of weather.
Best at Barbo 7s
The club whose origins are in the northeast part of the country will be looking to advance to USA Rugby 7s National Club Championships final frontier, the Round of Sixteen, at Baker Athletic Complex on Columbia University campus in New York City, northside of Manhattan Island on the weekend of August 11th and 12th.

The sevens juggernaut is comprised of standout players from allover the country and captained by Seattle Saracens Tim Stanfill, a three-quarterline playmaker who earned Eagles Test caps in 2014. Stanfill played secondary schools at Evergreen HS (WA) and collegiate at Central Washington University. The scholar-athlete is the group’s old man at 24 years and manages his side on- and off-pitch by example with infectious enthusiasm, forthright perseverance and thoughtful deliberation.

But who are Bulldog? Here’s a triple-snap-chat-shot:

St. Mary’s (CA) 7s center and 15s fullback Aaron Matthews, a senior majoring in Kinesiology and Anthropology, hails from Irvine, California. He began his rugby journey as a middle schooler with Back Bay Youth Rugby. Aaron joined the Bulldog, “to better myself technically and to prepare for the upcoming 15s season.” Mr. Matthews will be looking to lay the stamp on those targets this Saturday at Dick’s.
Aaron Matthews: master blaster
Jihad Khabir, who calls our nation’s capital home, is a standoff (both 7s & 15s) with a perplexing sidestep and impressive acceleration. The fast and fluid flyhalf cut his teeth in the DC youth leagues before earning scholarship at American International College. The Criminal Justice major will graduate spring 2019 and states his goals this summer as, “elevating my technical game as well as improving my personal skill sets within this talented group.” As evidenced by Mr. Khabir’s activity at Barbo 7s, the rising star is spot on track.
Jihad Khabir: eye-popping maneuverability
One of the Bulldog critical 7s front row triad is Tulsa (OK) native Lorenzo Thomas, a junior at Lindenwood University, who has a brace of Eagles caps already. A 7s prop and 15s center, Thomas is swift to the breakdown and ferociously fluid of intent thereafter. Expect the Communications major to factor significantly in the Bulldog end game on Saturday.
Lorenzo Thomas: mighty man at breakdown
All Bulldog players expressed their primary motivation for joining the invite-only side as the opportunity to develop under the instruction of coach, Steve Lewis. Glasgow-born and fully Scots-bred, the Bulldog pilot has a voluminous list of credentials that includes USA Rugby Coach of the Year. The former Vail RFC and Denver Highlanders head coach has his charges, who are representative of the finest college and university players in the US, training at altitude and consolidating into a formidable 7s collaboration.
Lewis, mindful, at Barbo 7s

Catch them in action Saturday, the upcomer, July 28 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park beginning at 8am.

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