Upsets are most likely to happen in the opening round of a rugby tournament. At least that’s the conventional wisdom. Well, Philadelphia’s PPL Park was loaded with conventional wisdom this morning when the Collegiate 7s Rugby Championship kicked off.
First round play featured newbie North Carolina upending Navy 38-7 and a Texas-Oklahoma rivalry match ending with the Longhorns up 24-12. The biggest surprise, however, was Dartmouth’s 17-12 defeat of 2010 CRC champion Utah.
That upset set the stage of a Utah-California rematch, but not at the same level as last year's tournament. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though.
The Bears swept Pool A, shutting out Ohio State 38-0, LSU 24-0 and allowed Penn State a converted try to wrap up play 26-7.
Cal amassed the highest point total (88) and the widest point margin (81) of the tournament. Six Bears contributed 14 tries to the tally. Blaine Scully notched four on the day and James McTurk added three. Dustin Muhn and Connor Ring dotted down two apiece. Derek Asbun also reached the tryzone while James Bailes scored two tries and three conversions. Sean Gallinger booted another three conversions.
Cal’s sweep of its pool wasn’t unique. Dartmouth also went 3-0 to win Pool B, Army was undefeated in Pool C as was Arizona in Pool D.
1. California 3-0
2. Penn State 2-1
3. LSU 1-2
4. Ohio State 0-3
1. Dartmouth 3-0
2. Utah 2-1
3. Notre Dame 1-2
4. Boston College 0-3
1. Army 3-0
2. Central Washington 2-1
3. North Carolina 1-2
4. Navy 0-3
1. Arizona 3-0
2. Texas 2-1
3. Oklahoma 1-2
4. Temple 0-3
Dartmouth’s upset of Utah and its subsequent capture of the Pool B flag means there won’t be a replay of the 2010 CRC final match. Instead, Cal and Utah will square off in Sunday’s first Cup quarterfinal match at 7:19 a.m. Pacific Time.
Championship (Cup) Quarterfinals
7:19 a.m. California vs. Utah
7:41 a.m. Penn State vs. Dartmouth
8:03 a.m. Army vs. Texas
8:25 a.m. Central Washington vs. Arizona
Challenger (Plate) Quarterfinals
8:47 a.m. LSU vs. Boston College
9:09 a.m. Ohio State vs. Notre Dame
9:31 a.m. North Carolina vs. Temple
9: 53 a.m. Navy vs. Oklahoma
It’s beginning to look like Cal’s quest for the Cup could put the Bears up against Dartmouth or Arizona in the final round.