Guest Blog from Monty Nyriws – Hey, are ya’ll excited about the upcoming Las Vegas 7s tournament?

Monty Nyriws

YSC would like to welcome another Guest Blogger to the YSC team! Monty Nyriws loves 7s and so he was the perfect fit to be a 7s correspondent! I look forward to his colorful posts as they promise to be entertaining and informative.

Hey, are ya’ll excited about the upcoming Las Vegas 7s tournament?

… I can’t hear you…
(cups hand over right ear) …

… I still can’t hear you…
(cups hands over both ears)…

.. ok that’s  better!!!

I’ll be traveling to Las Vegas under the guise of the rugby 7s “guru” for, where the USA is fielding not one, but two women’s teams for the tournament!  (Take that, men!)

One of the exciting things I hope to do is to interview newly appointed women’s coach Ric Suggit. I plan to ask him some very probing, non-scripted questions.  No holds barred.  If I have to high-tackle him, so be it.

I hope Mr. Suggit has a good sense of  humor, as some of the questions I’ll be asking him might be a bit “off the wall”… (If you know what I mean…)

So, since this is a blog (readers can post comments…) let’s make it interactive. How about telling us what else you’d like to hear from Coach Ric, or about the USA women’s 7s team, or about women’s rugby in general.

Do you want to know what changes he might be making to the team?  What his goals are?  How he’s going to contribute to the “image” of women’s rugby 7s in this country?

How about the prospects of the women’s team for the Olympics?  The possibility of a professional 7s league in this country?

Want to know more about the players themselves?  (You should already know that rising women’s 7s star Lauren Shaughnessey is the girlfriend of the men’s 7s team captain Kevin Swiryn…)

Let me know what interests you and I’ll get all the juicy details I can dig up in Las Vegas.

Lauren Shaughnessey about to tackle the invisible woman in Dubai (Photo credit: Ian Muir. Used with permission)

Speaking of Lauren Shaughnessey, I was fortunate to catch up with her in between workouts to find out what we can expect from the upcoming LV 7s tournament.

Here are the highlights from our interview:
YourScrumhalfConnection: So how are your workouts coming?
Lauren Shaughnessey: Great, but I always get nervous before tournaments, especially since rugby is a new sport for me and also doing something new at this level.

YSC: Are you excited to be playing at the same tournament as your boyfriend [Kevin Swiryn, captain of the USA men’s team]?
LS: Yes… [bashful smile…] That’s one of the best parts. Since he’s traveling so much, it’s nice that we can experience some of it together. It’s going to be fun because Kevin and I have a lot of family and friends coming. I have almost 20 people coming from my side, So it’s going to be an amazing little bash for our two families.
YSC: That’s great!
LS: Yes, and you’re going to be our photographer, capturing all the exciting moments…
YSC: Yes, I’m exited about that.
LS: Well I’m excited about that. I gotta get at least one picture of Kevin and me together!
YSC: So how much time will you get to spend together during the games?
LS: Probably none! When we were in Dubai, I saw the men’s team only once, in passing, the entire week. So I don’t think I’ll see him much until the last night when we can all get together, hopefully with all our families and friends.
YSC: But you’ll get to see some of his games, right?
LS: Hopefully.  I play all day Friday, and he plays all day Saturday, and we both play on Sunday. Kevin just told me he’ll be able to catch a couple of my games on Friday, so that’s great news.   Saturday will be a rest day for us, so I’m not sure if our coach will want us sitting in the stands.

YSC: What do you think about new coach Ric Suggit?
LS: I haven’t met him yet, but I’ve heard he’s an amazing coach, and that’s going to be really neat, but it’s kinda hard to learn a whole new system only two days before playing together. So it’ll be interesting!

YSC: You played your first international 7s match in Dubai.  How may tries did you get at that tournament?
LS: In the actual tournament I got two, but we played the Arabian Gulf the day before the tournament.  I think I scored four tries in that game.

YSC: That’s amazing considering it’s your first year with the team.
LS: That was a really fun experience, although I kinda got beat up that week [before the official tournament began], so by the time the tournament came around I was kinda destroyed.

YSC: Do you expect to be playing in Hong Kong in March?
LS: I’m not sure, but with the new coach on the team, he’ll probably want to get in another big tournament his first year, especially that one since it’s very popular. The women’s team had a very successful showing last time they played in Hong Kong.

YSC: So the USA will have two teams in the competition at Las Vegas.  Suppose both teams make it to  the finals. Does Ric have to run back and forth across the pitch from sideline to sideline to coach each team?
LS: Yes! He  might have to do that [laughs].  I’ve heard he’s that good!
YSC: So which one do you think he’ll cheer for in the finals?
LS: He can multi-task!

YSC: Are you going to be on team #1?
LS: I’m not sure if there is going to be a #1 team and #2 team, but if there is a #1 team, that would be my goal. But we all have to try out all over again because there’s a new set of eyes, and we have to do it two days before we play in this huge tournament.

LS: By the way is a pretty popular site. All the girls on my local team follow it pretty closely.
YSC: Great!

YSC: So you don’t know what changes, if any, Coach Ric will be making to the game plan?
LS: You should talk to me on Thursday night after I’ve gone through two days of full practices with him!
YSC: I’ll definitely do that!

YSC: Some say that women ruggers can do some things better than men ruggers.  Can you tell us what those might be?
LS: Hmm… Do you already know the answer to this?
YSC: No! That’s why I’m asking the question.
LS: [Laughs] I have no idea!
YSC: Well, make something up so I can have a good answer for the blog!
LS: Hmm… That’s kind of a hard one.  I’m sure if you ask my teammates they’ll have good answers…
YSC: OK, I’ll be sure to ask them at the match.
LS: Yeah, I can get you interviews with the girls. And hopefully one with the coach.

YSC: For fans of rugby 7s, what can they expect to see from the women’s teams in LV?
LS: I would say that some of the hardest working people I’ve ever seen are female rugby players. Just an amazing work ethic. And coming from the college sport… the commitment they have, especially since they don’t get paid, and they all have full-time jobs. They’re all extremely intelligent girls…  and their work ethic shows on the field. So I feel pretty privileged to be part of this group.

YSC: For those who are not fans of women’s rugby, what can you say to get them excited about watching the women’s 7s games?
LS: What I’ve seen is that women’s rugby style of play is trying to mimic the men’s type of play.  This is how it works with most sports – women catch up quickly.  I hope it’s just as exciting to many people as the men’s game… Fast paced, and the ball-handling is getting really impressive. Sevens is just entertaining in general. It doesn’t matter if you’re unfamiliar with the sport.  I don’t think it’ll be hard to convert sports fans to rugby.

YSC: I’m rather new to rugby, and still learning about all the different teams.  I have a question… How can you tell which team are the all-blacks?
LS: Cuz they’re studs!  You can spot that team from far away!
YSC: Cool!
LS: Yeah,  I heard the all-blacks have white jerseys now!
YSC: No way!
LS: Yeah… So it’s gonna throw people off!
YSC: Well I appreciate your time… it sounds like you have some real excitement going, and I look forward to seeing you at the games.

Oh yes, and what happens in Vegas… you’ll definitely see it here on

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13 thoughts on “Guest Blog from Monty Nyriws – Hey, are ya’ll excited about the upcoming Las Vegas 7s tournament?”

  1. Since this is Super Bowl week and you’re both playing in Vegas I propose a few wagers be put up on YSC, like who will score more try’s, make/miss more tackles, have longer hair….sounds like there could be some good action.

    Oh and ask Suggit what his plans are for developing women’s sevens on the west coast, I’ve already emailed him and Nigel about this but got blown off so far.

    Good luck to you two.

    • Phil, do you mean a “contest” between the men’s and women’s teams? That sounds like fun. I’ll definitely ask Suggit about the west coast… I live in Calif.


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