Morris Lions finished strong to secure 3rd overall in the NJ Fall 7’s series. Consisting of five tournaments in September and October each with pool play deciding seeding for the finals. Points are awarded at each tournament to determine the standings. Going into the final tournament Morris Lions stood joint 3rd in the U19 bracket. After some great performances and some results not going our way Morris Lions had been seeded number 3 in all previous weeks. A similar performance in the last round would hopefully be enough to secure 3rd outright. A slow start saw the Lions lose their first game to CBA but the rugby in the last couple of minutes showed potential and flashes of some to the excellent rugby seen in previous weeks. The team, still not playing to the full potential, improved for the second pool game with a win over Central Jersey. This meant Lions were seed #4, was third place slipping away? It was a tough path now to gain the necessary points.
First up in the semi-final was St. Augustine, the runaway leaders, unbeaten and the best team in the series so far. However, the Morris Lions saved the best for last. In a thrilling first half the Lions executed the game plan, maintaining the shape in both attack and defense, attacking space and applying pressure on St. Augustine. With a half time lead of 12-10 the Lions clearly had the Hermits rattled and the large sideline crowd enthralled. In the second half an unfortunate yellow card for a deliberate knock on gave a man advantage to St Augustine. The Lions were unable to hold out despite fantastic teamwork and huge effort all round from the players. Losing to the tournament and series winners 12-26, but did they know they had been in a game.
So on to the play off against Union in what turned out would decide the 3rd – 4th place both for the tournament and the entire series. Following the exertion of the semi-final and with a relatively short break this was a big undertaking. However, the Lions continued were they had left off – the same lofty standards, level of teamwork, commitment and intensity. Down to seven fit players in Morris jerseys they stood strong in defense and with possession impressed in attack to score three unanswered tries. Having given their all the Morris Lions came away with a victory 21-0 over Union and secured 3rd place.
This is a tremendous result and reward for the efforts of all the players involved across the series, only topped by single school teams St Augustine and Christian Brothers Academy the Morris Lions are arguably the best High School Club team in Rugby New Jersey Sevens.
Who do you play for?