GLENDALE, Colo. -- The Air Force rugby team gains possession of the ball after a scrum against Marine rugby players Aug. 19, 2012. The Air Force lost their first Armed Forces Rugby Sevens Championship match in eight years, 31-33, to the Marines. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kathrine McDowell)
GLENDALE, Colo. -- Air Force rugby players run past Marine players during their first match in the Armed Forces Rugby Championship Aug. 19, 2012. The Air Force team went on to lost their second match to the Marine team, 31-33. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kathrine McDowell)
GLENDALE, Colo. -- The Marine rugby team maintains possession of the ball during their first match against the Air Force rugby team Aug. 18, 2012. The Marines went to win the Armed Forces Rugby Championship match against the Air Force 33-31. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kathrine McDowell)
GLENDALE, Colo. -- Players from the Air Force (left) and Marine (right) rugby teams huddle before their first match-up during the Armed Forces Rugby Championship Aug. 19, 2012. The Marines won their second match against the Air Force, 33-31, to win gold. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kathrine McDowell)
GLENDALE, Colo. -- The Air Force rugby team pose for a photo after their last match of the International Defense Sevens Tournament Aug. 19, 2012. The team lost their gold tier match, 19-21, against the French Armed Forces rugby team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kathrine McDowell)
GLENDALE, Colo. -- A member of the Air Force rugby team gains possession of the ball after a scrum against Army rugby players Aug. 19, 2012. The Air Force team smashed their Army competetion in the Armed Forces Rugby Sevens Tournament. (U.S. Air Force photo by Riley Johnson)
by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau and Staff Sgt. Katherine McDowell
460th Space Wing Public Affairs
8/22/2012 - GLENDALE, Colo. -- Armed forces teams from all five branches of service took to the pitch Aug. 18-19 to see who would reign supreme as the best rugby team in the Department of Defense. The U.S. military teams weren't the only ones represented, as international military teams also came to prove their mettle.
The Air Force team, who had won the title the last eight years straight, fought their way into the finals where they squared off against the Marine Corps team for the tournament hardware. After a grueling battle between the seven-man teams, the dust settled leaving one team still standing. The Marine Corps team claimed victory in a thrilling 33-31 finish to be named the best rugby team in the military.
In the international matches, the Air Force team scrapped with the British Army team and the French Defense Forces team.
"Being able to show well against the British Army and also the French Defense Forces, that for me was a very nice part of this competition," said Maj. Andy McQuade, Air Force team head coach.
The tournament was hosted at Infinity Park, an official rugby stadium that seats 4,000 people in Glendale. With the volume of fans and the level of competition, many of the players stated the championship was memorable.
"Playing out in front of the fans really lifts our spirits and helps us play better," explained Staff Sgt. Marcus Satavo, Air Force team captain. "The level of competition here is really high."
This was the first time the event was hosted at a location other than a military base, as well as the first time international teams were invited to participate against the U.S. military teams.