Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Meet The Team CC7s Edition: Matt Hughston

Matt Hughston is a name that many following rugby 7s this summer will recognize . He was selected to the Washington DC Elite City 7s team and took home First Team All Tournament honors, captained the  Charlotte Rugby Club 7s side that made the Cape Fear 7s finals and placed 3rd at South regionals, playing alongside with CC7s Star Chris Milledge. Matt's relentless effort was rewarded as he was invited to the first of new Eagles Men's 7s Coach Mike Friday's High Performance Sevens camps at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. Matt additionally took the pitch for Azul y Negro at Serevi Rugbytown 7s and continued his try scoring ways.

Matt is a standout athlete in a region of the United States that until recently was fairly under served when it comes to elite 7s opportunities (we touched a bit on that topic in this post). Fortunately, the much deserving Life University was just announced a new National Development Academy as a part of USA Rugby's Olympic Development Academy yesterday and additional opportunities a bit closer to home should arise.Without the same traditional Sevens Qualifier Circuit in the South the ability to play consistent, challenging competition lags - the South hosts a one-off tournament to qualify for nationals as compared to the 4 to 5 tournament series you find in the Northeast, Midwest, West and California - and this year only 6 teams traveled for the qualifier. This contrasts to the Midwest where as many as 16 men's teams play in each qualifier, and anywhere from 16 to 80+ additional teams play in competitive and social brackets. Some clubs fielded two sides in the qualifiers this year with a wealth of talent and competition for roster spots.

Increasing access to high level rugby 7s is one of the driving forces for our Stars program. It is worth noting that of our men's team traveling to Central Coast 7s, only one player plays for a team that made the Club 7s National Championships. It is a pleasure to be offer additional elite 7s opportunities to players like Matt. He came highly recommended to the Stars program by a few other players and coaches; there is little explanation needed as to why he made our Central Coast 7s side. He is an ambitious player with the right skills and credentials to make an impact on the international scene. Our side can provide him with the added opportunity to train and compete as other players on the iRB circuit do for a week and to compete directly against these players. Daveta, Yamacia, and Red Rock are each rumored to have members of the Fijian National Team that won Gold Coast 7s on their rosters. Middlesex will have at least one All Blacks player and it's certain that players from Australia's 7s pool will be in action.

Here's more on Matt:

Matt Hughston Profile:
25 years old
Hometown – Charlotte NC
College - Eastern Carolina University

Notable Rugby Achievements: 
U19 Eastern Seaboard All-Stars MVP (beat out Cam Dolan, Colton Cariaga)
U20 Eagles 2009
Collegiate All-South XVs 2009
Twice named USA Rugby Collegiate Division II Rugby All American
Vice Captain USA South Panthers 2012-present
Atlantis 7s 2013-present
Named to First Tournament Team for Elite City 7s
Eagles Men’s 7s High Performance Camp Summer 2014
Named Rio 2016 hopeful

Aspirations: To achieve the honor of being named an Eagle for Sevens and eventually XVs. I am looking to elevate my game play in Australia against the world’s highest club competition and develop in an international setting. My main goal is to become an Olympian in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games.

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