Competitive Pools in CRC
Competitive Pools in CRC
The Collegiate Rugby Championship college 7s invitational has settled on its pools for the June 4-5 tournament in Chester, Pa.
The tournament will be held in Talen Energy Stadium (formerly PPL Park) in Chester, Pa as it has been since 2011 (the first even was held in Columbus, Ohio). All three teams that have won this even - Utah (2010), Dartmouth (2011, 2012), and Cal (2013, 2014, 2015) will be involved. So, too, will be the runner's up from each of those events - Cal (2010), Army (2011), Arizona (2012), Life (2013), Kutztown (2014, 2015).
Defending champs Cal probably have the toughest pool they've had in a while, with Arkansas State, which won the USA Rugby championship twice, in Pool A with the Bears. ACRL runner-up Maryland and Tennessee round out that pool, with Tennessee having made the final of the SCRC 7s.
In Pool B, Boston College has enjoyed a pretty solid season, but will be up against it with two-time finalists Kutztown, a very talented Indiana team, and University of Notre Dame in the group. Kutztown has to be considered the favorite in that group because the Bears concentrate so much on 7s in the spring.
In Pool C, Navy comes off a win at the ACRC 7s, where they beat Penn State in the final. Navy's has unveiled a more expansive 7s approach and they looked impressive in winning the tournament in Virginia Beach. Army, Arizona, and St. Joseph's rounds out a pool that is strong and athletic from top to bottom.
Pool D features Life University, just recently DIA national champs and full of speed and power. Drexel has been a surprisingly good team this year, while Virginia Tech is a bit of an unknown entity. Penn State made the final of the ACRC 7s despite having only nine players available on the second day. This could be one of Penn State's best years at the CRC.
Pool E includes SCRC winners South Carolina - the only team to double-up on the USA Rugby championship and the CRC - perennial top four team UCLA, Big Ten winners Wisconsin, and Big Ten runners-up Michigan.
Pool F features Dartmouth, which has been on a roll of late, Clemson, Temple, and Utah. Temple won the Keystone Conference series. Utah qualified for the CRC by winning the Las Vegas Invitational, and they've had more time to work on their 7s. Clemson was competitive in the ACRL, and has plenty of talent, but will have to work hard in a tough pool.
Pool A: Arkansas State, California, Maryland, Tennessee
Pool B: Boston College, Indiana, Kutztown, Notre Dame
Pool C: Arizona, Army, Navy, St. Joseph's
Pool D: Drexel, Life, Penn State, Virginia Tech
Pool E: Michigan, South Carolina, UCLA, Wisconsin
Pool F: Clemson, Dartmouth, Temple, Utah
Unlike some of the previous years, the pools this year look fairly even and competitive. Very few have an out-and-out favorite, and even fewer have an obvious top two and bottom two.
The six pool winners plus the two best second-place teams will advance to the quarterfinals, so winning big will be important, especially for teams who might finish 2nd.