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Former Nashoba Regional star Devin Doyle enjoying rugby journey – News –



LANCASTER — Devin Doyle applied to two colleges, and was accepted to both, prior to graduating from Nashoba Regional in 2012.

She elected to attend UMass Lowell over Purdue due to its proximity to home and her perceived lack of adventurism.

Three semesters later, Doyle dropped out and moved to California and then Colorado. Along the way she became a five-time national champion in a sport she had never played until three years ago.

“So definitely not the track I thought I was going to take,” Doyle, 25, recently said with a smile.

The second oldest in an athletic family of four, Doyle played all manner of sports growing up. There was soccer and softball, basketball and volleyball, alpine and Nordic skiing.

Doyle took a liking to martial arts in middle school and became a black belt. She began pole vaulting at Nashoba and capped her high school career by medaling at the Central/Western Mass. Division 1 Championships as a senior.

Recruited to compete in track at UMass Lowell, Doyle, a mechanical engineering major, hung up her spikes after a couple of weeks to focus on her classes. They included one in ROTC, or Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

“I absolutely fell in love with it and what the military was doing and what it had to offer the people in it, so that’s why I ended up enlisting,” Doyle said.

Doyle joined the Air Force and was stationed at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California. She calibrated electric equipment used to maintain aircraft.

It was not only a big step in a different direction for Doyle, but her family, as well. Her parents, Sean and Johnna, both have master’s degrees while her three siblings, Joe, Haley and Keenan have graduated or are on track to graduate from four-year universities.

“So for them, for me not to get my degree was kind of a big deal,” Doyle said of her parents. “But they’re very proud of me for choosing to enter the military and they didn’t necessarily see it as off track, just a different track that I was taking.”

About a year and a half after enlisting, Doyle received a letter from the United States Air Force Academy detailing the application process. She applied toward the end of 2015 and was among the 12 percent of applicants accepted.

It was off to basic training at the elite institution of 4,200 students in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the following June.

“So when all of my friends were graduating from college I was going back into college,” Doyle said.

On one of the first days of school, a fellow cadet stopped by Doyle’s dorm room and asked if she was interested in playing rugby. On a whim, Doyle said why not.

It was love at first scrum.

“The sport was definitely interesting and I just loved the girls,” Doyle said. “It was all about the people on the team and getting to spend time with them because the Air Force Academy is very demanding on your time. You have military you have to do on top of academics and leadership that you’re learning.

“So being able to go out and play a sport in more of a relaxed environment was rewarding and I loved it. So I kept coming and the next year I got a little bit better and better and eventually I am where I am now.”

Initially a reserve player, Doyle has since become a captain and the starting scrum half — sort of the quarterback of the offense and the defense — for the Zoomies, the Air Force Academy’s hugely successful women’s club team.

Air Force won the USA Rugby Division 1 fall collegiate championship for the second straight year and the third time in the past four years with a 26-10 victory over Navy at Charlotte, North Carolina, in early December.

With Navy clamping down on Air Force’s top offensive threats, Doyle stepped up to fill the void. She scored 15 points on three tries (think touchdowns) and was named MVP of the match.

“All of them were team tries,” she said. “I think I had a total of four on the season before that game just because I’m not the one who normally takes it in. But I had my team march down the field for me and I was right there in that position.”

That capped a 9-0 season that included wins in the quarterfinals and semifinals against Indiana and Minnesota, respectively, by a combined score of 138-10 at Columbia, Missouri.

Add in national championships the last two years in the spring, when the game is played Olympic style with seven to a side rather than 15, and that makes five titles — and counting — for Doyle and the Zoomies.

“It’s awesome and I’m definitely grateful,” she said.

Doyle, who posted a 3.6 grade-point average this past semester, is scheduled to graduate in May with a degree in systems engineering. She’ll begin serving a multi-year commitment shortly thereafter.

No matter where she’s stationed, one gets the sense adventure rather than proximity is what Doyle will be seeking.

—Contact Rich Garven at Follow him on Twitter @RichGarvenTG.

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USA Rugby

South Africa beats Kenya for Vancouver rugby sevens title



VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Winger Angelo Davids two tries in the opening five minutes to lead South Africa to a 28-5 win over Kenya and the Vancouver Sevens men’s title.

The pair of tries in the final were among 10 that Davids, who has also played 15-a-side Super Rugby with South Africa’s Stormers, scored in six matches in the two-day sevens tournament.

Calum Randle scored a pair of first-half tries as Britain beat Ireland 24-14 for third place.

The tournament was missing many of its top-ranked teams. Despite the series recommencing after an 18-month layoff, Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medalists Fiji, silver medalists New Zealand, Australia and Samoa did not play due to COVID-19 quarantine and travel restrictions.

In the match for fifth place, Matai Leuta scored tries in the eighth and 12th minutes as the U.S. beat Canada 26-7.

In quarterfinals completed earlier Sunday, Ireland beat Hong Kong 12-7, Kenya defeated the United States 19-14, Britain beat Canada 31-5 and South Africa overwhelmed Spain 54-5.

In the women’s Fast Four, Britain beat the U.S. 34-12 in the gold medal match and Canada defeated Mexico 48-0 for third place in the four-team event. Jasmine Joyce scored twice in the opening two minutes and added a third try in the eighth to lead Britain.

The sevens series moves to Edmonton, Alberta next weekend.


More AP sports: and

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Canada survives elimination with victory over Spain in rugby 7s at Vancouver



The Canadian men’s rugby sevens team avoided elimination from a World Sevens Series tournament in Vancouver with a 33-19 win Sunday over Spain.

North Vancouver winger Elias Ergas scored two tries for the Canadians, who battled back from a 14-5 deficit.

After falling 31-5 to Britain in an earlier quarter-final Sunday, the host Canadians salvaged the chance to play the United States for fifth place.

“Throughout the whole tournament we made a big deal of no matter what is happening in front of us, just keep our heads up, trust our skills, our athleticism our fitness,” said Ergas, whose first World Sevens Series tournament was in his hometown.

WATCH | Canadian men handily defeats Spain to survive elimination in rugby 7s:

HSBC Men’s World Rugby Sevens Vancouver: Canada vs Spain

Watch Canada face Spain in 5th place semifinal action at the HSBC Rugby Sevens world tour stop in Vancouver B.C. 20:57

”We had some solid defence in the first half’

Canada’s women were even with the U.S. at halftime before giving up 10 points to lose a “Fast Four” semifinal.

Canada was to take on Mexico for the bronze medal Sunday.

Britain blanked the Mexicans 38-0 in the other semifinal and met the Americans in the final.

WATCH | Canadian women fall to U.S. in fast four quarter-finals:

HSBC World Rugby Women’s Vancouver Fast Four semifinal: USA vs Canada

Watch USA face Canada in semifinal action at the HSBC World Rugby women’s fast four tournament in Vancouver B.C. 24:11

Renee Gonzalez, of Scarborough, Ont., scored both Canadian tries. Chloe Daniels of Sutton, Ont., kicked two converts.

“I think we had some solid defence in the first half,” said Emma Chown, of Barrie, Ont. “In the second half we lacked a bit of possession.

“Our defence was solid, but if you don’t have the ball you can’t score tries.”

Canada’s bounce back effort

The Canadian men trailed Spain 14-12 at halftime.

“We weren’t too nervous,” said Victoria’s Brennig Prevost, who scored a try and kicked four converts. “We knew we were right in the game.

“We stuck together.”

Nicholas Allen of West Vancouver, B.C., and Victoria’s Ciaran Breen also scored tries.

In the quarter-final match, an early turnover and a penalty resulted in a pair of tries for Britain.

WATCH | Canada falls to Britain in quarter-final rugby 7s action:

HSBC Men’s World Rugby Sevens Vancouver: Great Britain vs Canada – Quarterfinals

Watch Great Britain face Canada in quarterfinals action at the HSBC Rugby Sevens world tour stop in Vancouver B.C. 22:17

Canada possessed the ball in the game’s early stages but couldn’t crack a strong British defence.

A Canadian turnover led to Britain’s first try.

Canadian captain Phil Berna was assessed a penalty for intentionally knocking down a pass later in the half. Playing a man short, the Canadians gave up another try to trail 14-5 at half time.

The British dominated the second half scoring three more tries. Victoria’s Jack Carson scored Canada’s lone try of the match.

“We were strong out of the gate, but we couldn’t manage to keep it together for the full half,” Carson said. “That’s probably the most elite team we played so far, and it gives us some stuff to look at heading into our next game.”

9 Canadians make series debut

Canada defeated Germany 24-5 and Chile 19-14 before losing 29-17 to the U.S. on Saturday.

The Canadian women fell 22-12 to the U.S. and 19-5 to Britain before defeating Mexico 39-0 on Saturday.

The Canadian men fielded a young side with nine players making their series debut.

Several veterans including Nate Hirayama, Connor Braid, Justin Douglas and Conor Trainor all retired after the summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo where Canada finished eighth.

Vancouver’s tournament is the first HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series event since the COVID-19 pandemic halted the circuit in March of 2020.

Pandemic concerns limited attendance at BC Place Stadium at around 13,500 in the lower bowl, but fans in the stands still dressed for the occasion.

Tourney features only 12 teams

A group of nuns sat near several monks. There were plenty of superheroes, furry creatures and fuzzy wigs. The Mandolin watched games with Baby Yoda on his lap.

A large white unicorn showed some surprisingly good dance moves. Pirates snacked on popcorn while several pink pigs sipped beer.

The Vancouver tournament features only a dozen men’s teams instead of the standard 16. Rugby powerhouses New Zealand, Fiji, Australia and Samoa skipped the event.

World Rugby says there will be no relegation from the 2021 Series, and results will not count toward seedings for future events.

The Canadian teams will head to Edmonton for next week’s stop in the series.

WATCH | CBC Sports’ preview of Canada’s Rugby Sevens’ return:

Previewing Canada Rugby Sevens return to the pitch

CBC’s Anastasia Bucsis is joined by former Rugby Canada player Andrea Burk to preview the Canadian men’s and women’s rugby sevens tournament as the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series returns in Vancouver. 7:03

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Six Nations Rugby | Sheehan steers Chiefs to shock win at Harlequins



Strong defensive performances from both squads saw the home side take a 7-5 lead into half-time through a late Fiona Fletcher try, with Red Roses development player Ellie Green adding the extras.

McKinley Hunt responded for the Chiefs with a try of her own on 40 minutes and Dutch captain Linde Van der Velden then dotted down, with Flo Robinson converting for a 12-7 lead.

Ireland star Sheehan then gave the visitors a ten-point advantage, crossing at the 61-minute mark before Rachel Johnson secured the bonus point seven minutes later, with fly-half Robinson – sister to Quins’ Emily – converting.

A late score from England’s Amelia Harper could only cut Chiefs’ lead in half as a Quins side packed with Women’s Six Nations winners – including Lagi Tuima, Ellie Kildunne, Vickii Cornborough and Shaunagh Brown – were left scratching their heads as they dropped to fifth place in the Premier 15s table.

Exeter head coach Susie Appleby said: “We haven’t gotten carried away, we haven’t just gone on and won the Premiership but we’ve taken another step forward on our journey.

“It is a journey, and people are getting on board this journey and playing big parts in it.”

Elsewhere, a hat-trick from Vicky Foxwell wasn’t enough for Worcester Warriors, who fell 26-22 to Wasps at Twyford Avenue.

Red Roses scrum-half Claudia MacDonald opened the scoring on just two minutes with Florence Williams converting before adding two tries of her own.

England U20s full-back Jessica Cooksey and senior squad members Abby Dow and Rowena Burnfield also contributed points to the victory.

Wasps, who finished third before losing in the semi-finals last term, ended Saturday tied with third-placed Gloucester-Hartpury on 11 points but sit fourth on points difference.

The Cherry and Whites, meanwhile, spoiled the fun for Sale Sharks, beating the home side 45-21 at Heywood Road thanks to a dominant performance by full-back Emma Sing, who ended the afternoon with a try and four conversions.

Scotland scrum-half Mhairi Grieve opened the scoring for Sharks in a match that also saw two tries from USA’s Catherine Benson, with Victoria Irwin slotting all the extras.

Last season’s runners-up Saracens continued their strong start to the new campaign with 30-cap England international Zoe Harrison adding 18 points in their 38-7 home victory over Loughborough Lightning.

The 2020/2021 regular season table-toppers also benefitted from scores by skipper Lotte Clapp, fellow Red Roses star Sarah McKenna, World Cup winner Marlie Packer and Donna Rose, who made her Wales debut against France in the 2021 Women’s Six Nations.

Lightning’s only points came from a 35th-minute penalty try.

Bristol Bears, meanwhile, remain unbeaten at the top of the table after thumping last-placed DMP Durham Sharks 115-0.

Captain Amber Reed, who has earned 58 caps for England, led an attack that also saw tries from Wales skipper Siwan Lillicrap and Welsh winger Courtney Keight, who dotted down five times at Shaftesbury Park.

Sharks, meanwhile, were forced to play 27 minutes with 14 players after losing scrum-half Chloe Broom to injury, with no-one available to take her place.

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