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Press Release
March 2, 2023

Premier Rugby Sevens Confirms Coaching Staffs for 2023 Season

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Sixteen professional teams attract 32 top-tier coaches to lead men’s and women’s programs

(NEW YORK, March 2, 2023) Premier Rugby Sevens (PR7s) announced their 2023 coaches for the league’s sixteen teams that will battle for the 2023 PR7s Championships. In addition to planning and executing strategies on the field, the coaches will also identify protected players and select talent through the 2023 PR7s Expansion Draft. PR7s doubled the number of teams this year, including the addition of expansion franchises in the Bay Area and Pittsburgh.

The following coaches have been confirmed, according to PR7s General Manager Mike Tolkin:

Eastern Conference coaches:

New York Locals men

  • Tui Osborne, head coach
  • Ethan Pougnet, assistant coach

New York Locals women

  • Karameli Faaee, head coach
  • T Fletcher, assistant coach

Pittsburgh Steeltoes men

  • Jason Kelly, head coach
  • Steve LaPorta, assistant coach

Pittsburgh Steeltoes women

  • Josie Ziluca, head coach
  • Emily Record, assistant coach

Southern Headliners men

  • Tim Stanfill, head coach
  • DTH van der Merwe, assistant coach

Southern Headliners women (defending champions)

  • Andrew Locke, head coach
  • Lauren Barber, assistant coach

Texas Team men

  • Troy Hall, head coach
  • Kurt Morath, assistant coach

Texas Team women

  • Lauren Trout, head coach
  • John Coumbe-Lilley, assistant coach

Western Conference coaches:

Golden State Retrievers men

  • Peter Sio, head coach
  • Jone Naqica, assistant coach

Golden State Retrievers women

  • Kelly Griffin, head coach
  • Mere Baker, assistant coach

Loonies men

  • Matt Wagner, head coach
  • David Fee, assistant coach

Loonies women

  • Robin MacDowell, head coach
  • Brett Kannenberg, assistant coach

Rocky Mountain Experts men

  • JK Anderson, head coach
  • Emil Walton, assistant coach

Rocky Mountain Experts women

  • Irene Gardner, head coach
  • Ros Chou, assistant coach

SoCal Loggerheads men (defending champions)

  • Frankie Horne, head coach
  • Waisale Serevi, assistant coach

SoCal Loggerheads women

  • Anna Lena Swartz, head coach
  • Cecil Afrika, assistant coach

“This year’s roster of coaches is outstanding and will bring experience from the highest levels of our sport to PR7s,” said Tolkin. “We have former Olympians, Hall of Famers, and many of the most respected minds in rugby sevens. They will ensure the best level of competition as their teams battle to bring home a championship to their respective regions.”

PR7s tournaments will bring the famous rugby sevens festival experience this summer to Austin at Q2 Stadium (Saturday, June 17), Minneapolis at TCO Stadium (Saturday, June 24), San Jose at PayPal Park (Saturday, July 15), and Pittsburgh at Highmark Stadium (Sunday, July 23). The top teams from each conference will qualify for the 2023 Championship tournament, which will take place in August. The championship venue will be announced in the coming weeks. Tickets for each event are available at PRSevens.com/tickets.

The PR7s 2022 season included over 30 matches nationwide. The Southern Headliners took home the first United Championship, led by Team USA Olympic co-captain Abby Gustaitis for the Headliners women and U.S. national team player Adam Channel on the men’s side. The Headliners also won the Kathy Flores Cup for women’s top prize, while the SoCal Loggerheads earned the A. Jon Prusmack Cup as the men’s champion, led by U.S. Olympians Martin Iosefo and Matai Leuta.

About Premier Rugby Sevens

Premier Rugby Sevens (PR7s) is a groundbreaking professional sports league in North America that debuted in 2021. With a focus on accessibility and entertaining content for fans, the league showcases the electrifying sport of rugby sevens through a touring format in cities across the United States. PR7s is the first sports organization of its kind, with men’s and women’s teams competing under one umbrella with equal pay. To learn more about Premier Rugby Sevens, go to PRSevens.com and follow the league on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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Media Contact:

Eric Nemeth, Premier Rugby Sevens

eric.nemeth@prsevens.com 

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