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Joint Base Andrews News

NEWS | June 26, 2022

DAF Women's 7s Rugby Team competes in Armed Forces, Cape Fear Tournaments

By Airman 1st Class Austin Pate, 316th Wing Public Affairs

The Department of the Air Force Women’s 7s Rugby Team competed in the Armed Forces and Cape Fear tournaments, June 24-26, in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The 7s opened up the Armed Forces Tournament in the evening of June 24 with a 15-5 win over the U.S. Navy.

“We are happy with the win. It sets us up to have a good rest tonight to be prepared for tomorrow,” said Richie Walker, DAF Women’s 7s head coach. “From a coach's point of view it was really good to see, but from a confidence point of view from them as well. Them running around and doing the stuff we’ve done at camp, and actually seeing it come off and work, gives them a little bit of confidence too. It was really good to see.”

For the final day of the Armed Forces Tournament, June 25, The 7s started out with a 22-7 win over the U.S. Coast Guard. Their next game was against the U.S. Army and lost 10-7. The third and final game of the tournament was a 25-17 win over the U.S. Marine Corps.

The 7s finished second in the Armed Forces Tournament, behind the Army who took first place, and prepared for the Cape Fear elimination tournament the next day, Sunday, June 26.

“We played really, really well as a team, especially compared to last year where we had a lot of new girls and a lot of amazing athletes, but it didn’t click cohesively,” said Tech Sgt. Cheryl Johnson, 89th Presidential Logistics Squadron supply technician. “This year I think everything really clicked. We got some of the new girls on the team turning and burning a little bit more on defense and offense, and you can really see the cohesiveness in our team. We really work well together.”

The 7s continued on to the Cape Fear tournament, a single elimination bracket, Sunday, June 26. The 7s lost 19-12 to a local team named Nova, for their first and final game of the competition.

“Even going against a club that has been established and that has been going on for multiple decades, we came that close and only lost 19-12,” said Walker. “It was good for us to get good competition to know what standard we have to be at for the future. I’m really, really proud of the team and I know that they are only going to go forward from here.”

This tournament was the first tournament for Tech Sgt. Irinieta Tabuyaqona, 316th Contracting Squadron contracting officer, and she said it was a great learning experience. Tabuyaqona said this is the best team she had ever been a part of in her Air Force career, and felt so welcome, only having been playing for 5 months.

“Overall, it was great. It was great to see the Air Force come out to compete in the Armed Forces Tournament and also Cape Fear. It’s been an amazing experience for me,” said Tabuyaqona. “Being here has definitely brought in a whole new skill set, not just on the field but off the field as well … learning about teamwork and what it takes to gel very quickly as a team.”