The 1st Annual Cape Fear Seven-player-a-side Rugby Tournament was held on July 4th weekend, 1975. The Cape Fear RFC, barely a season old, hosted the tournament that would celebrate the 4th of July, the Carolina coast and this beautiful game of rugby.
The original tournament saw 16 teams compete in single elimination, with the champion needing to win twice on Saturday and twice again on Sunday. The University of Virginia won that first Fear tournament by defeating Norfolk Old Blue, Fear7s continued in a 16-team format until 1980, when the tourney field was increased and round-robin play began. Virginia sides have dominated Cape Fear. In the early years Roanoke displayed near perfect rugby with flawless possession tactics to win 3 Fear7s titles in 4 years, retiring the original trophy in 1980. Then came the Duck Brothers of the NOVA RFC, vying to win an unprecedented 3 straight titles before being upset in 1984.
Cape Fear 7s has showcased sides from England, Wales, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Hog Kong and from both coasts of the United States, to name a few. In 1984 Bristol England RFC, led by fly half Steward Barnes, took the tournament championship off shore for the first time with the Duck Brothers reclaiming it in 1985. 1986 saw the London Harlequins, led by England's 7s coach, Les Cusworth, to take the Fear7s championship back to England. However the Duck Brothers brought it stateside again in 1987 where it remained until Bedford, England took the title back across the Atlantic in 1991.
Hello, Northern Virginia. 1995 to 2002 perennial Fear 7s powerhouse, NOVA, won the men’s open championship 7 out of 8 years, with unprecedented 6 straight titles. In 2003 the Charlotte Olde Originals kept the Cape Fear 7s trophy in North Carolina for the first time in tournament history by defeating a gutsy Washington Widgets side. 2004 saw the trophy go back to Virginia after the 03 runner up, Washington, defeated a strong OMBAC side in one of the closest finals in tournament history. OMBAC came back to Fear from San Diego to defeat NOVA in the men’s final to take the Fear 7s trophy to the west coast of the United States for the very first time.
2016 saw big changes for FEAR7s. We gave $7000 in cash to the Elite Men's and Women's Champions. Billy DeRosa's Old Toe Rugby came from out of nowhere to defeat Atlanta Old White and claim $2500 in cash, Atlanta got a cool grand. On the Women's side Academy Rugby dominated with Laura Carbrera's Am Rugby Pro Training Ctr besting (19-5)Scion Academy (DC area). They won $2500 and $1000 in cash respectively. The Love Rugby High School Division was a big hit. The Academies were strong there as well, with Erik Saxon's Charlotte Junior Rugby Academy taking home a complete set of jerseys, beating(19-0) Northern Virginia Nomads in the final. The Cape Fear Flytraps distinguished themselves, reaching the
semi finals, going down to the eventual champs.
2017 was the best FEAR7s to date. We had 70 teams and complete brackets for the Elites, HS, Club and Masters Divisions. Moseley Rugby Club, of Birmingham, England was the odds on favorite to win the Men’s Elite. Their efforts fell short, and they vowed to bring a more competitive team in 2018. Old Toe de Rosa repeated as the Men’s Elite Champs beating their brothers from Charlotte 24-17. In the Women’s Elite Division, NOVA, 7 time previous Cape Fear Women’s Champ, knocked off defending Champ American Rugby Pro Training Center in a semi, but went down to Joanne Liu’s Scion Rugby Academy in the final 19-12. Thomas Clark brought down the Mystic Gulls, from Mystic River, MASS to dominate the HS Division and win a set of jerseys from Chilly Kirkwood’s Love Rugby.