CLAYTON, North Carolina – After seven years, the CottonTown 7s Rugby Festival is preparing for the end. The tournament, hosted by the Clayton Rugby Football Club, was first played in 2016 and has been a mainstay on the summer 7s calendar in the Carolinas. Over the years, the tournament has hosted between 20-32 teams each summer almost inevitably falling on one of the hottest days of the year. The day-long event blends competitive play on the pitch with a fun, social atmosphere.
Never fear, the end of the CottonTown 7s doesn’t mean the end of summer 7s in Clayton. With the club moving into their new facility, the Johnston County Rugby Park, new opportunities are opening for future events. The timing is perfect for a shakeup.
“It’s been a great run at CottonTown, but it’s time to try something else,” said Clayton RFC President Ted Hardy. “We’re going to do something different in 2024. The changes will come with a full brand change for the event, some format changes, along with many other ideas that are on the table geared towards making the event more fan friendly. We’re looking forward to what’s next, but right now our focus is on delivering a fun final day for CottonTown.”
The club aims to deliver a great send off for the CottonTown 7s on July 8, 2023. This year’s event will have Men’s Club, Women’s Club, and Men’s Social/B Side Divisions along with the annual Old Boys 10s challenge between the Clayton Old Boys and Southern Pines Old Boys. The club is also trialing a new, simpler bracket format this year. All teams will still play at least three games with half of the teams playing four games.
This year’s CottonTown 7s is being held in Smithfield, NC at the Smithfield Recreation Center. As with events in the past, there will be food and tournament merchandise concessions on site. Food concessions will be provided by tournament sponsor The Redneck BBQ Lab. Their Redneck Taco Lab food truck has been a popular regular at the last few CottonTown 7s.
For sanctioning purposes, all participating clubs and players must be registered with USA Rugby. USA Rugby has increased the documentation requirements for sanctioned tournaments, so the club is taking additional steps to vet teams in advance of the tournament. Required roster and player verification will take place the day of the tournament.
To register for the tournament, please follow this link.