On the weekend of June 17th-19th sixteen members of the Assassins RFC drove through the night to make it out to play in the tournament hosted by Wisconsin RC called Madtown 7’s. Having finished second in the Open Bracket in 2015, the Assassins who play as the side called the Canadian Shield for this tournament (among others); expectations were high. Traditionally one side is entered, but for 2016 two Canadian Shield sides entered the fray. Johnny Alongi, Adam Setka, Cody Nykolitian, Tame Justin Mackay, Darryl McKinney, Jordan MacKinnon, Connie Sutherland, Derek Morgan and the only returning member Brendan Kowal played on the side known as Canadian Shield Black. Canadian Shield White was made up of mid-west tournament veterans Jarett Mcglaughlin, Bobby Mackay, Cole Hunt, Veteran Justin Mackay, Josh Beauchemin, Pat Hansen, Matt Schwark. As always, our brothers in boots (both in camaraderie, and they do happen to be siblings) from the Chicago Blaze , Rolf and Eric “Buddha” Otten made the trip. Also making a huge impact for the Shield this year was Buddha’s son Peter Otten, playing out of Chiefs Rugby Club of Aurora Il.
The young members of Canadian Shield Black played admirably finishing 2-1 in the pool stage and finishing 5th overall to secure 1 of the 8 playoff spots. The side’s first game was against the hosts Wisconsin RC which the Shield won by multiple scores due to the fast pace of the young side and long runs by Johnny Alongi and Jordan MacKinnon. The second match against Milwaukee 1 was a different story. The side that eventually went on to win the Open Division taught the young Shield side a lesson in seven a side rugby, including everything, even restarts needed to be accurate. The Shield Black would bounce back in their third game against the St. Paul’s RC. This was a physical game which included multiple big collisions in open play and at the breakdown. The brave defence shown by the much smaller Canadian Shield side won them this game handily. By finishing 5th the Canadian Shield Black played the Fox Valley Maori from Illinois who qualified as the 4th overall team. This was another hard fought game that saw the Canadian Shield Black narrowly defeated by a score of 27-25. The effort was there and a play that illustrated just how hard the young Shield side was playing was when Cody Nykolitian dislocated his shoulder delivering a jarring tackle. The forwards playing from the Maori were equally as mobile as the Shield forwards, although the game could have went either way, Fox Valley was victorious. The young Canadian Shield side bowed out in the quarter finals.
The veteran Canadian Shield White got off to what was described as a typical slow start by clawing their way back to beat Metropolis RC after being down 10-0 at half. The Shield’s second game was against the familiar Chicago Blaze which showcased some enterprising sevens rugby. Long runs and hard fends by the Blaze were matched by the searing lines ran by Veteran Justin Mackay and Jarett Mclaughlin. Bobby Mackay and Cole Hunt began demonstrating what typically happens when opposition try to tackle them and even in the searing heat of roughly 30 degrees Celsius with humidity, Josh Beauchemin was doing Turtle-things until he was forced out injured in the sides third game against Milwaukee 2. The Shield won their third game against the aforementioned Milwaukee 2, finishing 3-0 and winning their pool. After winning a hard fought quarter final the Canadian Shield White were pitted against the Fox Valley Maori, the same side that knocked out the young Canadian Shield Black in the previous round. This was another tightly contested match and the Maori were well prepared for the veteran Shield side. The Maori went up early due to some well-placed tactical kicks which led to tries. The side from Illinois recognized that the Shield were not playing a player deep to account for chip kicks over top. The Canadian Shield White went down to the Fox Valley Maori by a score, eliminating them from the tournament. A fourth place finish is not what the side was looking for, but it was a great day of rugby by everyone participating in the tournament.
The members of the Assassins RFC playing for the Canadian Shield would like to acknowledge the Wisconsin RC for hosting us once again. The tournament is well ran, the rugby is competitive and the trip is always worth the 12 hour drive. The purpose of this trip is to play competitive rugby rather then for road-trip shenanigans and silly sunglasses, etc. Madtown 7’s and the host club always provides the Canadians with what they are looking for. The Assassins RFC will return to the mid-west in late August to play games against Wisconsin RC and the Chicago Blaze in preparation for the Manitoba Rugby Union Finals. Rugby! Camaraderie! The first Triangle Tour!