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Utah Wins CRC Qualifier in Las Vegas

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Utah Wins CRC Qualifier in Las Vegas

David Barpal photo.

The University of Utah has qualified for the CRC 7s after beating Notre Dame College in a close, and somewhat controversial final in the LVI at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Utah made the final by denying the dangerous AIC team any meaningful possession, and the Utes did the same against a fast and well-structured Notre Dame College team.

Going into the final, NDC Coach Jason Fox said his team’s defense was what won them games, and he expected to defend well against the Utes. For a good part of the game, they did.


“They stung us twice,” said Utah Program Director Col. Mark Drown. “We did a good job of controlling the ball, but we also made mistakes. It was a scrappy game, not really pretty 7s at all, but we're pleased to have won.”

Utah scored early in the first half to take a 7-0 lead, and with time up in that period, could have just kicked to touch and prepared for the next half. Instead, the Utes tried to run one more in, turned the ball over, and Notre Dame went the distance to make it 7-5 at the break.

In the second half, Utah continued to try to control possession, and Notre Dame looked to press with their defense and set free their speedsters. None of it seemed to work too well. Notre Dame did break through for a try, but missed the conversion and the score stood 10-7 to the Falcons.

Then, with time essentially up, Chad Gough burst through the line and took an angle to the corner. He was hauled down a couple of meters short of the line, and the ball spilled out of the tackle. The referee and assistant referee were right on the spot, and said that Notre Dame had played the ball without releasing the tackled player. 

"I thought it was over," said Drown. "I thought we had knocked it on. But Chad said afterward that their player had slapped the ball out."

Penalty to Utah, and Gough tapped and dove over for the game-winner.

So now Utah can return to the CRC where they had played so well before, but stopped getting invitations because they supposedly don't bring fans to the event. Fans or no, they will bring some pretty exceptional rugby players. 

Photos by David Barpal.
CRC Qualifier 2016 LVI David Barpal CRC Qualifier 2016 LVI David Barpal
CRC Qualifier 2016 LVI David Barpal CRC Qualifier 2016 LVI David Barpal
CRC Qualifier 2016 LVI David Barpal CRC Qualifier 2016 LVI David Barpal