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Photo of the winning team, the Pacific Coast Grizzlies at the 1st NSCRO Men's All-Star Tournament. Photo courtesy of Norma Salinas Photography. Used with permission

Dazzling End at the Inaugural NSCRO Men's All-Star Championship

By Stephen Cohen, NSCRO, 06/28/18, 8:00AM EDT

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Photo courtesy of Norma Salinas Photography. Used with permission.

The inaugural NSCRO Men's All-Star National Championship came to a close this past Sunday at the Round Rock Complex near Austin, Texas with an exciting final between the Pacific Coast Grizzlies and the Northeast Rhinos. Down 10-0, the Grizzlies, led by the dazzling runs of Darell Williams, finished strong with four tries to capture the title, 26-10.

Five regional All-Star teams (Northeast, Mid-South, South, LoneStar and Pacific Coast) comprised of more than 130 players from 44 different NSCRO schools met under the hot Texas sun for a weekend of rugby to determine which team would be the best.

The event started on Friday morning with each team playing two matches with two 25-minute halves. The five teams played again on Saturday; however, due to a slight schedule change from the Austin Huns Rugby Football Club’s 21st Annual Bloodfest 7s Tournament which took place earlier that day, each team played another two matches consisting of two 20-minute halves. At the end of Day 2, the Pacific Coast was undefeated after a narrow win against the Northeast 17-12, while the Northeast record was 3-1 which set the stage for the championship match on Sunday. The other teams all finished with a 1-3 record. Complete match results are found on our website for Day 1 and for Day 2.

The concept of the All-Star Championships began two years ago as the organization began brainstorming for new services and opportunities which could be provided to our member teams and players to help elevate their game play and further promote the sport. The NSCRO All-Star experience began this past January under the leadership of our Commissioner of Women's Rugby, Bryn Chivers, with the inaugural Women's 7s All-Star National Championship.

The men's event was a great success thanks to the vision and passion from our Director of Rugby Development, Jeremy Treece, along with support from our Vice President, Steve Hiatt. The opportunity for these athletes to travel and play with other similarly talented players who all want to become better ruggers, experience excellent coaching and play at a fantastic venue provided an experience they will never forget. Many players came from teams that have never made our national playoffs, so for them, this All-Star event was even more special.  

On Saturday night, NSCRO hosted a Texas-style BBQ dinner for the teams which allowed them to enjoy the camaraderie that sets rugby apart from other sports where the game is truly left on the pitch and many players form new bonds and lifelong friendships.

For the good players off of good teams—it reinforces their desire to work hard and get better, and they bring that home to their club. For good players off of not so good teams—it shows them there is another level, and another way to play (in terms of seriousness). They take that home and in many clubs they can infuse that into their teammates. All teams get better.  The standard of rugby goes up everywhere.  This happens in every state that pushes high performance, all-star teams. You are going to achieve that nationwide," - Bill Brownley, Coach, Mid-South All-Stars

I heard multiple comments of this is one of the best trips I have ever been on. Guys already putting their hand up saying I am going to be back next year, seniors asking if they can come back and coach and almost everyone saying it was an enjoyable experience. For me, I think a lot of the South players were finally exposed to high level Rugby, and a lot of them realized that stuff they could get away with in regular games doesn’t work when everyone is this good. I think it served as a wake up call that will only raise the level of rugby in the South." - Renaldo Arroyo, Coach, South All-Stars

Here are quotes from some of the players at the event:

"Couldn't be more thankful for having the opportunity to play with a great bunch of men. All of them are usually my opponents and it was crazy to win this along side them. Thank you to the amazing coaching staff and NSCRO for hosting this All Star Championship @ Round Rock Multipurpose Complex." 

"It was awesome playing with so many good players. This is the best rugby I have ever experienced.  When do we start again?"

"Had a blast playing this weekend boys. We made memories I’ll never forget. Also I’d like to say thank you to the coaches on the behalf of the whole team and that we appreciate you guys." 

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NSCRO Men's All-Star All-Championship Team. Not pictured, Tadeo Canon Masjoan. 

 

An All-Championship Team was selected as follows with Darell Williams chosen as the MVP.

POSITION

PLAYER

SCHOOL

MVP

Darell Williams

San Francisco Community College (Pacific Coast)

1 - Prop

Michael Irving

Christopher Newport University (Mid-South)

2 - Hooker

Ian Crilly

MiraCosta College (Pacific Coast)

3 - Prop

Jordan Drain

University of Maine Orono (Northeast)

4 - 2nd Row

Jackson Thiebes

Endicott College (Northeast)

5 - 2nd Row

Michael Nita

Valdosta State University (South)

6 - Back Row

Cameron Davidowicz

Plymouth State University (Northeast)

7 - Back Row

Tadeo Canon Masjoan

Angelo State University (LoneStar)

8 - Back Row

John Bulaich

California Maritime Academy (Pacific Coast)

9 - Scrumhalf

CJ Ferrigno

California Maritime Academy (Pacific Coast)

10 - Flyhalf

Michael Mukuru Tumisiime

California Maritime Academy (Pacific Coast)

11 - Wing

Trevor Brooks

University of North Alabama (South)

12 - Center

Sam Holaday

College of Charleston (Mid-South)

13 - Center

Simi Moala

Southern Virginia University (Northeast)

14 - Wing

Darell Williams

San Francisco Community College (Pacific Coast)

15 - Fullback

Jourden Stanley

Angelo State University (LoneStar)

 

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Each team selected their 'impact' player from the event who was provided an official NSCRO match ball courtesy of Rhino Rugby and a free fit kit for a custom mouthguard courtesy of our sponsor Impact Custom Mouthguards. The players selected (shown L to R) were:

Mid-South - Michael Irving
Northeast - Jackson Thiebes

Pacific Coast - Darell Williams 
South - Stephen Wilson
LoneStar - César Escajeda

The All-Championship Team and Impact Player lists can be downloaded here and here.

The event was hosted by the Major League Rugby team, the Austin Elite. Professional photography was provided by Norma Salinas. The livestream production was by Next Level Rugby with match commentary from Tim Wilks and 'The Rugby Evangelist' Grant Cole. Match officials were provided by the Texas RRA. The medical staff was provided by Dynamic Sports Medicine.