The University of Southern Illinois Salukis took a 10 hour road trip this past weekend down to Mobile, AL to compete in the second annual Spring Hill 7’s Tournament which is apart of the Deep South 7’s Series.
The tournament attracted talent from all over the south as Tulane, Troy, South Alabama, University of Louisiana Lafayette, West Florida, and the University of Southern Miss all made trips to compete.
The day kicked off with Spring Hill getting a forfeit victory from West Florida as they did not have enough eligible players to participate. West Florida was still able to find players and exposed gaps in the Badger defense to prove to be quite the side. Right after, the Salukis took on Tulane and set the tone for the rest of the tournament as they went on to defeat the Green Wave by numerous tries. South Alabama and ULL would go on to field impressive sides and find their way into the semi-finals along with the Badgers and Salukis.
ULL faced off against Spring Hill in the first semi-final round. The Ragin’ Cajuns substitutes proved to be key against the depleted Spring Hill side due to injury. They went on to defeat the Badgers and find their place in the cup final. In the next semi-final matchup, the “Boys from Southern Illinois” faced off against South Alabama. The Salukis met a quick and elusive South Alabama side but were able to pick up the victory to face off against ULL in the final.
Before the cup final kicked off, Tulane and Troy faced off in the plate final to decide third and fourth place. The speedy Tulane side proved to be too much for Troy as the Green Wave brought home the plate.
In the highly anticipated cup final, SIU and ULL battled and went back and forth the entire time in an exciting matchup. In the final seconds of the game, SIU won a scrum and senior scrum half, Bo Beniac, took the ball and made a quick break to the weak side to seal the deal for the Salukis and win them the cup final. SIU sophomore fly half, Andrew Canedo also went on to bring home tournament MVP.
On the women’s side of the bracket, Spring Hill, Tulane, and West Florida faced off in round robin competition. Spring Hill and Tulane met in the championship and the lady Badgers tried to avenge their only loss of the day against Tulane. Tulane proved to be too tough and walked away winning the women’s bracket of the tournament.
Gift-Time Rugby’s Men’s All Tournament Team
This is the best seven players, in our opinion, that best showcased their talents and helped their team advance throughout the tournament.
1. Bo Beniac SIU
2. Braxton Murray SHC
3. Hunter Pinneo USA
4. Jake Soriano SIU
5. Andrew Canedo SIU
6. Daniel Johnson USA
7. Rod Blouin ULL
Gift-Time Rugby would like to commend Spring Hill for putting on a top tournament and wishes the best of luck to the rest of the teams competing in the Deep South 7’s Series.