Saturday, August 16, 2014

Paul Holmes Looks Back at a 'Successful' Summer of 7s

This summer 1823 punched another ticket to the Men’s and Women’s Club 7s National Championships as the sole Ohio representatives. Though they didn't take the tournament, they won the Men’s Bowl. Looking at the summer that was and the summers yet to come Coach Paul Holmes is hopeful about the future of his Columbus-based developmental side.

“The season as a whole was a huge success with player turnout exceeding 40 and the demographics being in large Columbus Ohio based players,” Holmes said. “When I started 1823 the goal was to develop players and build a program that was built on local based players and talent.”

Throughout the summer, Holmes had players in and out of his pool competing with Tiger and other top-tier teams in other tournaments. For those who confuse 1823 with Tiger Rugby, the difference is that the 1823 players are usually working-class ruggers with day jobs while Tiger Rugby players are always in the academy and training environment. Both programs turn out talented players, coveted by other clubs, and Holmes couldn't be happier.

“If we are losing players to other clubs cause of their talent or the USA rugby program then we are doing the right thing,” Holmes said. “This summer saw many of our players start getting National attention and another player get offered a great opportunity in Seattle.”

The vision for 1823 seems to be a big-picture one that is more focused on achieving larger success for the players rather than keeping the talent in-house to benefit the team, but Holmes does have an eye on the team progressing as well.

“Finishing second in the Midwest was a successful campaign and an improvement in years past. I see us being a force for years to come,” Holmes said. “We will win The Midwest and Nationals soon with talent that is young and developed by us and our programs. I don't believe in purchasing players, or a program that gets success purely from recruitment. We have to develop players and make sure that rugby is growing as a whole.”

Holmes is not one to rest on his laurels, though. Looking at how the season finished up, he knows that there is work still left to do. According to Holmes, the teams 1823 lost to in Seattle were beatable and teams they shouldn't have lost to. Overall, Holmes views 2014 as a good season – especially considering they only lost to the Chicago Lions, Belmont Shore and Old Blue while ending the season 36-5.

“1823 will continue to grow and looks forward to 201,” Holmes said.

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