CRC is a brand name owned by USA Sevens, not a competition run by USA Rugby, the national sanctioning organization for
While die-hard fans have trekked to Philly (weather in the City of
This year’s tournament looks likely to propel the Bears and the Utes into a rematch.
There are seven new names in the 16-side field, including some newbies to the sevens format.
As much as possible, tournament organizers put pools together so that traditional rivalry matches could be played. Pool A features an Ohio State/Penn State contest; in Pool C, Army challenges Navy and Pool D is highlighted by a tussle between
Eleven sides are drawn from College Premier Division schools. The remainder are Division 1 campuses, though some, like
Cal’s (nationally ranked #1 in the CPD) the top seed in Pool A and will face Ohio State (#23), LSU (#20) and Penn State (#11) Saturday.
For the Bears to get a shot at revenge,
Let’s see what the odds are, pool by pool, for a lead-up to a Cal-Utah rematch.
Ring, Kelly, Muhn and senior James Bailes, will make up
Look for Scully, a 2009 and 2010 Eagles sevens member, to be a playmaker who’ll tot up the try tally along with speedsters Muhn and Kelly.
The Bears’ potent combination of power, speed and rugby IQ will be tough on pool competitors and likely account for a 3-0 sweep on Saturday, earning Cal a berth in Sunday’s championship quarterfinals.
Chris Saint and Joe Baker ought to be Penn State's playmakers on Saturday.
The Lions, who went 5-2 in CPD play this year, wound up third in the very competitive Rugby East Conference. They’ll be looking to outdo
Flyhalf Nate Ebner will be the fellow to watch for breakaway runs and smothering tackles. Captained by Chad Cochran, who moves to the front row for the CRC,
The ensuing face-to-face against the Lions could go either way, but if the Buckeyes are unnerved,
It’s a toss-up between
LSU is looking to make a name for itself on the rugby pitch. That job’s been made more difficult by the departure of coach Jeff Reuther. Julie McCoy, a former USA Women’s 7s coach, now helms the Tigers, but has only had a week or two to shape the squad.
LSU has potential. Seniors Adam Ducoing and Robert Johns will steer the action on the pitch but they’ll likely face stiff opposition in their opener against
The Tigers may gain a lot of experience from their debut in the CRC, but they’ll be fighting the odds to do better than 0-3.
Another CRC debutant,
Unranked in the fifteen-aside season, BC has high aspirations, but the odds for breaks going their way are long. Will it be an 0-3 outing, or can BC wrest an upset? The
There’s a hole in the
The Irish return to CRC hoping to better their 2010 performance as a more experienced and poised side. Sevens training has been ongoing all year, even in the midst of Notre Dame’s CPD season.
Irish rugby is a young program with big ambitions. This year’s roster includes several CRC veterans including All-American forward Nick Civetta, scrumhalf/flyhalf Andy O’Connor and center Andrew Mullen.
Still, Notre Dame’s likely to emerge from pool play at 1-2.
While the threat of power runner Thretton Palamo has shifted to the
What more can be said?
The Black Knights return to the CRC seeking to get over the hump and snag the victory that eluded them last year. Invigorated by a 7-0 record and an first-place finish in the CPD’s Rugby East Conference, Army now wants to stamp the sevens format with its brand.
Playmaking should come from returning flyhalf/center Will Holder and center/winger Ben Leatigaga.
The match against Navy ought to be a corker, but Army has to first deal with
CWU played aggressively in the CPD season, coming in fourth in the Pacific Conference. The Wildcats have notched some impressive results in the sevens format as well, winning the Northwest Collegiate 7s and the Las Vegas CRC Qualifier .
Injuries, however, have since beset the Wildcats. Alex Reher, Andrew Nelson and Paul Smith, all members of the
With Stanfill at the wing and Gordon able to play forward or in the backline, the Wildcats will be a formidable presence on the pitch.
A 3-0 finish isn’t out of the question.
Navy returns to the CRC after an uneven debut in 2010. On the pitch, Sean Rohrs’ running skills and the playmaking of Matt Arnsberger will be the keys to the Midshipmen’s success. The relative youth of the rest of the Navy side could be a liability, though.
Not that Navy hasn’t had time to refine its sevens skills since closing out the CPD season with a 6-1 record. The Middies have played in three tournaments, most recently taking second in the Subaru 7s.
Odds favor a 1-2 finish.
Team captain Alex Lee is the Tar Heel to watch in the open field along with Evan Rose. Those talents, however, may not be enough to overcome the rest of the pool.
0-3 wouldn’t be a surprise.
Aside from being the only Pool D side that’s returning to the CRC, Arizona is the favorite because of scrumhalf Peter Tiberio, an Eagle sevens veteran.
The Wildcats have other talents to draw upon as well, including CRC-seasoned Brett Thomson and Michael Getzler.
The Sooners chances in their CRC debut got considerably worse when captain Taylor Mokate, capped for an Eagle 7s tour, was injured during the CPD season.
There’ll still be threats on the pitch in the form of Kelton Miller and Arryn Wilkinson, both well-seasoned ball carriers with impressive running skills.
The relative inexperience of OU’s gridiron crossovers, however, will be a factor when the Sooners line up against
The Owls boast one of the best talents in the tournament, Gareth Jones, who would have been a likely Eagle if he hadn’t opted for a semester abroad to play in
The teams ascent to the national stage has been swift. In 2010,
For all its grittiness and hard work,
The Longhorns fared well in the Las Vegas CRC qualifier, going 5-1 against middling opponents.
Captain Stephen Mahoney is the Longhorn to watch, along with scrumhalf Tod Mullen, who, if healthy, will be a playmaker.