Western Conference Kickoff Preview

This weekend the pendulum shifts toward the west, as Premier Rugby Sevens newly established Western Conference will kickoff its first circuit stop this weekend at TCO Stadium in Eagan, Minnesota. At stake are crucial points to pick up to give the teams as much an advantage as possible heading into the Conference Final weekend in San Jose in order to lock up a spot in the DC Championship weekend.

All games will be aired live in the United States on Tubi, with matches re-aired on FS1 beginning Sunday morning at 9:00am ET. The games will all be available internationally on @prsevens Facebook.

The competition is deep, talented and uncertain – every team is in contention. Below are initial previews of the Western Conference teams.

Loonies Women

Robin MacDowell gets his first roster assembly opportunity after Kelly Griffin’s departure to the Retrievers. The 2021 Inaugural champs will be thrilled to have Alev Kelter rejoining for the first time since hoisting the silverware in Memphis. The sevens and fifteens USA Eagle has returned to the US after a successful stint with the Saracens in the UK. She’ll have support from newly minted Canadian international Taejah Thompson and fellow Canadian star Temi Ogunjjmi.

Loonies Men

Where else can you begin but with World Sevens All-Time Leading Scorer Dan Norton. The men’s Loonies squad made one of the signing splashes of the summer bringing the Olympic Silver Medalist and Team GB legend into the squad. Marcus Tupuola returns to the squad after a successful campaign with the USA, and is joined by fellow USA internationals Ryan Santos and Noah Brown who will make their first appearances in PR7s.

Rhinos x Loggerheads Women

Head Coach Anna Lena Swartz will count on a number of familiar faces as the Rhinos x Loggerheads women look to return to winning ways after a competitive and successful start to 2022. The team will see the return of three year veteran Sophie Pyrz, as well as Natalia Bjorklund and Jess Lu. Alicia Namosimalua will also look to have a breakout year in the green as well.

Rhinos x Loggerheads Men

The returning 2022 Men’s Champions look to pick up right where they left off with a strong returning team. Captain Patrick Madden continues his successful stint in green after a fifteens season with the Colorado Raptors, and will be joined by returning Finals MVP Brock Ian Gallagher and 2022 breakout star Derek Adams. While the team will be without internationals Matai Leuta and Martin Iosefo in the kickoff week, head coach and Fijian legend Waisale Serevi will enjoy having fellow countryman Waisea Nacuqu take the field for Rhinos x Loggerheads.

Experts Women

Summer Harris Jones returns to lead the Experts women into their third campaign seeking their first tournament triumph. She’ll be joined by Team USA Olympian Ari Ramsey and Spiff Sedrick, with other standout players in returning Experts Amanda Berta and Su Adegoke. However, the Minnesota crowd may reserve its largest cheers of the day for hometown hero and 2016 Olympian Kathryn Johnson, who plays her fifteens for the Twin Cities Amazons in the WPL and also works as a firefighter in town. “KJ” will be making her first PR7s appearance since suiting up for the Headliners in 2021.

Experts Men

The Experts men will be excited to have the late inclusion of captain Madison Hughes returning to donning the blue and white. The three time tournament winners and 2021 champs will return a number of key players from their 2022 successes, including Corey Jones, Mattie Tago, Terran Meek and Watson Filikitonga. The team will be without Logan Tago and Nolan Tuamoheloa to begin. However, up and coming star American star Pita Vi joining the roster will be a huge boost to help push this roster over the edge.

Retrievers Women

Ruby Tui. The expansion franchise will be thrilled to bring one of the biggest stars in World Rugby into the fold as they look to get off on the right paw in Minnesota. Head Coach Kelly Griffin will be able to count on Ruby but unfortunately will be missing fellow Kiwi Shakira Baker due to injury. However, veteran Megan Foster will be returning to sevens competition alongside Liz Tafuna and Autumn LoCicero who join from a productive campaign with the 2022 Loggerheads.

Retrievers Men

The Golden State men will be led by Samoan star Paul Scanlan, joining the Retrievers after a wildly successful season on the World Sevens Circuit in which he won Impact Player of the LA Sevens. Paul will be joined by notorious stepper D’Montae Noble, who joins after successful stints with the Loggerheads in 2021 and the Loonies in 2022. USA Sevens star Adam Channel and Tai Enosa will trade in the pink for the blue and yellow this season as well.