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BIB Boasts Wealth of 7s Contenders

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BIB Boasts Wealth of 7s Contenders

The college 7s on the West Coast comes to a climax in the next few weekends with the Battle in the Bay and the PAC Conference 7s, both held in the Bay Area.
Of the two, the PAC might hold bigger prestige, associated, as it is, with colleges from the PAC-12 conference. But the Battle in the Bay casts a slighter wider net and features a larger number of national powers.
Among them:
Cal, two-time CRC winners and runners up in the West Coast 7s earlier this month
UCLA, two-time CRC semifinalists and winners of the West Coast 7s
Central Washington, perennial national contenders and winners (for the 5th time) of the NCRC 7s
St. Mary’s, current USA Rugby Collegiate 7s runners up, and winners of the BIB in 2013

Arizona State University, Cal Poly, University of Utah, Western Washington University, and several others that can play.
Central Washington is poised to make a big push in this tournament, as they did in the BIB last year. They are perhaps a little younger, their new players, such as Fitou Fisiiahi and Dominic LIndstrom, are very good. Aladdin Schirmer and Cameron Marek lead the scoring parade, but what sets CWU apart is their ability to develop effective 7s forwards.
Cal lost 14-12 in the final of the West Coast 7s, and are led by the rangy Jake Anderson. Head Coach Jack Clark doesn’t have a lot of big guys who are experienced in 7s, but has some intriguing twiner players - those who are backs in 15s who could work well as forwards in 7s (Anthony Salaber, Jesse Milne). 
“Our pool is the most difficult by a ways,” Clark told the Cal Athletics website. "Sometimes it helps playing good teams in the early rounds for the teams that can make it through. But there will most likely be a worthy team from our pool to not make it to the tournament cup round, which isn't ideal. This said, the tournament is more of a friendly, so there isn't much angst. ”
Clark’s assertion is debatable. Cal is in Pool B with Utah, who are a legitimate championship threat, UC Santa Barbara, which is still rebuilding but can put points on the board, and Arizona State, which won the Plate at the West Coast 7s, putting them on a par with the likes of Cal Poly, Santa Clara, San Diego State, and St. Mary’s.
Although … St. Mary’s is improving. Probably 75% of their squad will be freshmen and sophomores, but the team that lost to ASU in the Plate Semis in the West Coast has improved steadily since then. Sophomore Alec Burton will lead the team and is a tireless forward. Freshman Charlie Louden is a speedy athlete out of De La Salle.
Utah won the Boise State 7s, and came 2nd, so they’re deep and they usually bring a wilder, more off-the-cuff approach to 7s that has served them well over time. This tournament might be their official “we’re back” announcement.
And then there’s UCLA. Muted as ever, Head Coach Scott Stewart is pleased to have won the West Coast 7s, although they were pushed by both Arizona State and Cal. 
“We’re going to get more time at a very, very good tournament,” said Stewart. “We know it will be a big challenge, and we’ll probably get some interesting weather, too. We are focussing on a team effort. I think what was gratifying was that the guys showed up at school ready and hungry. That was a good sign.”
UCLA has some intriguing youngsters, but this is mostly an experienced team that has James Francis and Seb Sharpe still. What they don’t have is a ton of size, although Pierre Courpron is 6-5.
“I don’t know if we miss it, we just don’t have it, so we adjust,” said Stewart. “The guys have a good approach and they’re learning. We are looking at this tournament to let us know who we are as we look to the PAC tournament, But this is an exciting tournament with good quality competition. We want exciting rugby, and I think we’ll get that.”
St. Mary’s is in Pool A with Cal Poly, Oregon, and Nevada in a group that is a bit of a wild card. Pool B sees Cal, Utah, Arizona State, and UCSB battle it out. Pool C is headed up by Central Washington, with San Diego State - winner of the Cal State 7s, UC Davis, and San Jose State. In Pool D, UCLA has to contend with Santa Clara, San Diego, and Western Washington, all teams that could upset them and all teams that have the capability of winning the pool.
The BIB is held at the San Francisco Golden Gate fields on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay and will be webcast live starting at 10am PT Saturday on The tournament lasts two days.
Below is the schedule.

 2014 Battle in the Bay Day One Schedule  
 Field 1  |Field 2  
10:00St. Mary's CollegevUniversity of Oregon|San Jose StatevCentral Washington
10:20Cal PolyvNevada-Reno|UC DavisvSan Diego State
10:40CaliforniavUC Santa Barbara|Western WashingtonvUCLA
11:00University of UtahvArizona State|University of San DiegovSanta Clara
11:20San Diego StatevSan Jose State|University of OregonvCal Poly
11:40UC DavisvCentral Washington|St. Mary's CollegevNevada-Reno
12:00Santa ClaravWestern Washington|University of UtahvUC Santa Barbara
12:20UCLAvUniversity of San Diego|Arizona StatevCalifornia
1:00University of OregonvNevada-Reno|   
1:20Arizona StatevUC Santa Barbara|   
1:40UC DavisvSan Jose State|   
2:00University of San DiegovWestern Washington|   
2:20UCLAvSanta Clara|   
2:40Central WashingtonvSan Diego State|   
3:00CaliforniavUniversity of Utah|   
3:20St. Mary's CollegevCal Poly|