Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
by Ted Hardy
After a heated day of play at PPL Park in Philadelphia, the Quarterfinals have been set at the 2011 Collegiate Rugby Championship.
The full day of action was accompanied by beautiful weather and a much improved crowd from last year. Those were matched by the play on the field which was marketly improved compared to last season. The improvements in overall play, skills, and structure highlighted the potential that Collegiate 7’s has in America. With most teams just beginning to take 7’s seriously, improvements have come fast.
Pool A Roundup
As expected, Cal was the class of Pool A as they easily won the pool. Perhaps the unluckiest team of the day, Ohio State, finished pool play with an 0-3 record after reaching the quarterfinals in 2010. The Buckeyes were twice denied victory by last second scores from Penn State and then LSU. The win over Big 10 rivals, Ohio State, set the stage for the Nittany Lions to advance to the quarterfinals and find redemption after a tough 2010 CRC. LSU finished third in the pool with their last second victory over the Buckeyes.
Pool B Roundup
Dartmouth upset Utah in their first game of the day and set the stage for the Big Green to roll to a 3-0 record in pool play. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Dartmouth as they came from behind to defeat the Utes and got a scare from Notre Dame after getting off to a fast start. The newcomer to the CRC, Boston College, struggled mightily against the elevated standard of play from the more experienced and athletic squads in the pool. BC went 0-3 and managed only one try during play today. Utah bounce back from their opening loss to reach the quarterfinals. The Utes are still talented, but without Thretton Palamo they will find repeating difficult.
Pool C Roundup
The toughest pool in the tournament proved just as the pool went down to the final game before the quarterfinalists were decided. Army went 3-0 in pool play but were given stern tests from Central Washington and Navy. Central Washington claimed the other quarterfinal slot out of Pool C with a victory over North Carolina in a contest that was still hanging in the balance late in the game. Navy finished pool play 0-3, but nearly upended Army in their final game and may take some momentum into tomorrow’s consolation bracket play.
Pool D Roundup
Pool D was all Arizona as the Wildcats went 3-0 and didn’t give up a single point in pool play. Team USA player, Peter Tiberio led Arizona with eight tries in three games and played exactly as you would expect an International level player to perform against collegiate competition. Arizona has some talent and could be poised to make a run at the finals tomorrow. Texas clinched the other quaterfinal spot out of the pool with convincing victories over Temple and Oklahoma. The home town side, Temple, came away from pool play without a win after falling to Oklahoma in the final game of the day.
10:19am Cal v Utah
10:41am Penn State v. Dartmouth
11:03am Army v. Texas
11:25am Arizona v. Central Washington
11:47am LSU v. Boston College
12:09pm Ohio State v. Notre Dame
12:31pm North Carolina v. Temple
12:53pm Navy v. Oklahoma