GRR on X  GRR on Facebook GRR in Instagram GRR Vimeo Library GRR on YouTube RuggaMatrix America Podcasts Support GRR on Patreon

Sudden Death Win Sees Principia Through to CRC 7s

irish rugby tours

Sudden Death Win Sees Principia Through to CRC 7s

Principia vs Iowa Central CC in the final. Griff Hastings photo.

Principia garnered a berth at the CRC 7s with a win at the KC 7s over the weekend.

The Thunder Chickens ran the table, although it wasn't always easy, beating Pitt State, Drury, and Southern Nazarene by relatively comfortable margins.

Iowa Central CC met them in the final. The Tritons already had confirmed a spot at the CRCs, but were not taking it easy in this tournament. They beat Colorado II, Missouri (in a close one), and Kansas State to make the final.

The final itself was very tight as both teams had made the final thanks to strong defense as much as anything else.

In the end, the teams were deadlocked 7-7 at full time. In sudden-death overtime, Principia scored to win it 12-7.

This was Principia's first 7s runout of the spring, so the performance was that much more impressive for that.

"Our aim for the tournament was to be as tight a team as possible, working hard for each other," said Head Coach Philip Kellerman. "Top of the list was to defend well and control the ball when we had it. We managed to do that in the tournament by only conceding two tries in four games. In the final, we made an unforced error during a line out in our own 22m area which ICCC scored from. Apart from that, we had them well under control. Our defense was very strong."

Good defense in 7s usually means that you can eventually force turnovers, and with the ball in hand Principia has plenty of dangerous attackers.

"We have several players who can pose a threat to the opponent," said Kellerman. "Some are fast, others powerful, and others are creative. It was just about finding the right combination. We experimented quite a bit during the first two games and in the end settled on a strong defensive combination for the last two games. Our focus was hard work and making smart decision. We find that our talent shines when we have those things in place. In the final, we made a few mental errors in the first half but rectified it in the second half when we were clinical and very composed."

Defense was a focus for Iowa Central, too.

"The boys were solid this past weekend," said Iowa Central Head Coach Brent Nelson, whose team showed well despite the loss. "I felt we played great defense all tournament long and that was a point of emphasis going in. So we're very happy about that. Coaches Lippert and Gilligan conducted a couple of very specific defensive oriented practices which fixed some tackle technique and alignment issues."

Of course the big question is, having qualified for the CRC so early in the season, would Iowa Central players ease off the rest of the spring?

"We have also stressed the complacency elephant in the room," said Nelson. "Winning the qualifying tournament in Florida was a positive thing but to think we haven't stressed not becoming complacent would be a lie. We openly discuss working on improving everyday. We don't have the pressure of qualifying for CRCs but we use that in a positive way. It has allowed us to give different guys opportunities, work the lineup, try some things and focus on improvements. Cheers to Principia. Sudden victory is always a heartbreaking way to lose but they have some dynamic players and they're a tough squad. When competition level is that high, a weird bounce of the ball or a small skill failure is sometimes all the margin that's needed. Any mistake we make at that high level is not going to go unpunished. Tough lesson but a good one."