Philly Sports Live

Ups and Downs – Friday at the CRC 7s

A picturesque late afternoon and evening greeted the 20 teams in this year’s opening session of the 2013 USA College Rugby Championship 7s at PPL Park.  The teams played ‘behind closed doors’ on the opening day, the yells from the players as well as the occasional oohs and aahs from the teams that were gathered to take in the games and check out the competition.  It was a stark contrast to the atmosphere that awaits the teams over the next two days.

It was a rough afternoon for the local teams, as all four of the city teams at the match  lost in their opening games, some by big margins.  Meanwhile, the three main contenders asserted themselves towards their claims towards the title, and the defending champs made a bold statement on Day one.

Dartmouth, tipped to possibly win their third straight CRC 7s title, ripped apart debutante Penn 34-0.  It was a rough start for the Quakers, who played tough but were outclassed.  The Big Green’s biggest hurdle in Pool B, Arizona, overcame a 12-10 halftime deficit to beat Wisconsin, 31-17.  The Wildcats and Dartmouth meet tomorrow afternoon with the top of the group possibly to be decided.

In Pool C, Temple, who hadn’t won in eight matches at the CRCs, fell hard to Kutztown University 33-5.  The Golden Bears ran roughshod over Temple’s forwards for an easy win.  Both teams will have their hands full with California, though; the Golden Bears started their tournament off with a handy 45-7 victory over Virginia Tech.

Then there was Villanova, meanwhile, who had the roughest night of them all.  Inserted into Pool A to replace Army, the Wildcats were totally dismantled by Navy, as the Midshipmen went onto shut out ‘Nova, 57-0.

The other game of the Pool, however, was the best game of the session; UCLA and St. Joseph’s.  Playing in their first CRC’s, the Hawks were shocked by the Bruins who scored the opening try after a minute of play, followed by a second.  But St. Joe’s scored before the half to go into the break at 10-5.  The Hawks would control play in the second half and rebuff the UCLA attack, but could not catch up.  Neither team would score, and the Bruins would win by that 10-5 score.  The Hawks played well, but how they will fare against the powerful Midshipmen is another story.

Penn State started their Pool D docket off right with a hard fought 12-5 win over Northeastern.  They well have to get through Notre Dame to win the group, after the Irish turned back the NC State Wolfpack 27-5 in their opener.

The final two games of the evening were from Pool E.  First, Life University, out of Alpharetta, Georgia, outclassed Texas 33-5.  It’s possible that you’ve probably never heard of them, but they have an illustrious history in rugby, both at the 7s and 15s levels, and the Running Eagles are an outside threat to win the Cup after coming in 4th place finish last year.  They face a stiff test tomorrow against Delaware, who walked all over Florida in a 34-0 whitewash.

Tomorrow, each of the clubs will play their remaining two pool games.  There are a number of good games in the cards, the best of which may be Dartmouth-Arizona, but also Life-Delaware, UCLA-Navy, as well as Kutztown-Cal.  The five pool winners and three best runners up advance to the quarterfinal round on Sunday.

11:10am Navy v St. Joseph’s
11:30am UCLA v Villanova
11:50am Dartmouth v Wisconsin
12:10pm Temple v Virginia Tech
12:30pm Penn State v NC State
12:50pm Delaware v Texas
1:10pm Arizona v Penn
1:30pm Life v Florida
1:51pm St. Joseph’s v Villanova
2:12pm California v Kutztown
3:07pm Penn State v Notre Dame
3:32pm Arizona v Dartmouth
3:57pm UCLA v Navy
4:36pm Northeastern v NC State
5:01pm Texas v Florida
5:26pm Kutztown v Virginia Tech
5:58pm California v Temple
6:18pm Life v Delaware
6:38pm Wisconsin v Penn
6:58pm Notre Dame v Northeastern

Earlier in the day, the pool matches women’s championships took place over at Drexel University.  The local teams did not fair well either, as Temple, Drexel, and Kutztown all missed out on the semifinals and were sent down to the consolation bracket.  Penn State, meanwhile, went 3-0 to win their pool and will take on Texas in one semi-final, while Ohio State will take on Georgia Tech in the other.  The winners will meet in the final at PPL Park on Sunday.  Temple will take on Boston University in the 5th Place game, while Kutztown and Drexel will battle for 7th place honors.

Saturday’s action begins at PPL Park at 11am and continues until 6:30pm.  Most of the action will be in the main men’s draw, but there will also be Military Cup games in there for good measure as well.  The complete schedule of games is listed right [here]. If you can’t make it out to the Park, you can follow along with us at @PhillySportLive, and catch up with another wrap up at the end of the day right here.