2016 A Look Back - May
2016 A Look Back - May
College 7s took the attention of many during May, with the continued shifts and changes in schedules meaning that while a group of college teams were in the last throes of the 15s playoffs, most were thinking about 7s glory.
The first big 7s tournament was the ACRC 7s in Virginia Beach, Va. A two-day event at the end of April and beginning of March, the ACRC 7s featured its own pre-tournament online TV show and ongoing web coverage. In the end, Navy overcame some determined competition from Kutztown and Penn State to win it all.
Meanwhile, in the women’s side of things, the varsity 7s series concluded with
The USA U20 men finished off the Junior World Trophy with a 5th-place finish in overtime. Once again the game was close.
In the first full weekend of May, the college 15s season finished up. It was a pretty dramatic weekend, and it was pretty dramatic leading into that weekend, too.
Goff Rugby Report found ourselves in the middle of part of it all when we criticized the University of Connecticut women’s team for not playing in the women’s DI final. UConn won the fall, but then opted not to play the spring champs, UC Davis, for a full national title. UConn defended their actions, saying they had said all along they wouldn’t be able to play in the spring game. The team instead went on a tour to Scotland, but were then surprised to see criticism land on them for going on that trip, but saying they couldn’t afford to go to California for the spring final.
UConn’s reply was that the Scottish trip had been some many months in the planning, and the fundraising was significant. They couldn’t then just bounce back and fundraise for a trip to California. Despite our own coverage being right down the middle (see here http://www.goffrugbyreport.com/news/fall-champ-wont-play-national-champi...), UConn’s players and coaches chose to blame GRR for any negative reaction they received.
In the end, Virginia and UC Davis played a spring final on May 7 that was exciting and very close, going down to the final play - a try from Erica Hipp secured an MVP nod for the center and a 30-25 win for UC Davis. How Davis Women Won
Same weirdness in the women’s DII final. In this case, the Spring champion and the Fall champion were all set to play May 7. However, Tulane was something of a surprise spring winner. They maxed out themselves on their resources by winning the spring, and just couldn’t do it once more. Goff Rugby Report reported on that, and somehow, once again, fielded blame for the public’s response. In the end, Tulane didn’t play but still called themselves the National Champion. They weren’t. Southern California, the #3 team in the spring, made the trip to Northern California to face Davenport, and were thumped by a superb Davenport team.
And Penn State won the Women’s DI Elite final. No debate there - Penn State was brilliant.
On the men’s side, it was contentious on the field. Life beat Saint Mary’s in the DIA final in a game where they had a few things bounce their way. UC Davis beat Notre Dame College in the DIAA final in another game that left the losing team a little frustrated.
At the same time, Cal and BYU played in the Varsity Cup final. It was a game that most felt would be won by BYU, and it seemed that way until the final ten minutes, when Cal exploded, thanks to some big plays from scrumhalf Nik Boyer, and came back to win 40-29.
As a result, Cal finished the season ranked #1:
And also in NSCRO - Mount Saint Mary’s was the top small college team, and then moved to DIAA for 2016-17.
In HS Rugby, there was a lot going on. We had state championships, the Pacific Cup, and the National Championships. As we said in our April review, it wasn’t settled science that Gonzaga or Royal Irish were the best single-school and club teams, respectively.
State and regional titles:
Danville may well have been the best HS club team in the country, but opted to go to the Pacific Cup instead of nationals. They won. http://www.goffrugbyreport.com/tags/pacific-cup
Nationals were pretty wild anyway. Heavy rain the week before put the Rugby Athletic Center under stress. In the end, the games finished in a mud bowl. Sad for the RAC, and it certainly effected the scoring in the games.
Gonzaga won the boys single-school title, winning despite a slight controversy in the semifinal against Xavier where they were very fortunate not to have a game-tying penalty try called against them. The final went down to the final play. In the club side, Granite Bay put together some superb play despite the conditions, and won the club bracket.
In the girls championships, the single-school and club championships were held in two different locations. We saw a familiar face in the Sacramento Amazons taking the club title. In the single-school tournament, a new face emerged in St. Joseph out of Ohio.
And then on to the USA Rugby Collegiate 7s championships. This was an enormous tournament featuring four brackets and 64 teams in Cary, NC. Rain and thunderstorms affected the event for the second time year in a row, but they got their champions - Saint Mary’s, Minnesota-Duluth, Life, and Davenport. We have a bunch of links for this, because so much happened in such a short period. We included our pool predictions just because that’s fun to do: