Thursday, June 1, 2017

CRC Preview: Pools A, B, & C

The Collegiate Rugby Championship kicks off this weekend. This year's competition is extremely stacked making every pool competitive. We start our two part preview with Pools A-C.

Pool A: St. Mary's, Dartmouth, Boston College, Temple

The path looks fairly straightforward for St. Mary's. The Gaels are coming off the disappointment of falling to Lindenwood in the College 7s Nationals but they have returned a similarly strong squad. Led by Dylan Audsley the team also includes Henry Hall, Aaron Matthews, Kevin O'Connor, and Holden Yungert. The Gaels didn't have an opportunity to play much 7s in the spring outside of the tournament in Denver so now with a big tournament under their belts they will be even better.

Of the other three teams Dartmouth comes in with the most experience and are previous CRC champions. However, they haven't had a great couple of years and a team like Boston College could upend them. It's possible that either Dartmouth or Boston College could grab one of the top two spots but it would take work. Temple are a local side that may struggle.

Take the jump to read more.

Pool B: Life, Arkansas State, Notre Dame, Wisconsin

This pool is going to be very, very fun to watch. Life and Arkansas State is one of the best rivalries in college rugby. Life are targeting this CRC as a big win. Like St. Mary's, they haven't played a lot of 7s in the spring but they have plenty of players with experience. Arkansas State are also solid without a ton of 7s in the spring. When you take the top 12 players from each team you get two very, very good teams. Whoever wins their head to head is going to win the pool.

Neither Life nor Arkansas State will want to finish second because both Notre Dame and Wisconsin are capable of strong results. That said, if both Life and Arkansas State can run up big scores against Notre Dame and Wisconsin and then hold each other close one could advance.

Pool C: Lindenwood, Army, Navy, St. Joseph's

This is Lindenwood's pool to lose. The Lions have been so impressive in 7s over the last few years and it is very hard to see them not winning here. They have some absolute stunners in the form of Nick Feakes and Cristian Rodriguez along with many others. The real show in the pool could be the Army-Navy match. Both teams are evenly matched and it's always fun to watch the two academies clash. Their problem could be that they beat each other up and miss out on one of the top two second place teams.  St. Joe's can compete but are favorites to finish last.

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