Sevens Rugby takes centre stage for the Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC 2013). Still time to shine!
The domestic rugby season is coming to an end but there is one last challenge before we pack away the scrum caps and tackle bags for the summer. The Collegiate Rugby Championship or ‘CRCs’ mark the end of the collegiate rugby calendar here in the US, and the season goes out with a bang with a weekend of top quality 7-a-side rugby. I am particularly excited about this years CRC event, as it will be my first time coaching at the tournament. I am the current coach of Dartmouth who are the defending champions.
It was on the same weekend as the CRC last year, that I was in Glendale, Colorado with Belmont Shore, preparing the team for the semi final and final of the Men’s D1 National Championship. I caught glimpses of the CRC on TV at Infinity Park throughout the day and was impressed by the quality of the rugby on show. It is amazing how much can change within a year! Belmont Shore went on to win the National D1 title and Dartmouth went on to successfully defend their CRC title and became two-time champions. With new players and a new coach, Dartmouth is facing a tall order to win the CRC three times in a row, but needless to say, that is our aim.
Dartmouth has a strong history in this event so I did my homework and here is the LineoutCoach Guide to the CRCs with 5 facts about the Collegiate Rugby Championships.
1 What is the CRC?
Now in its 4th year, the CRC is a national sevens rugby tournament which features some of the best-known and successful collegiate teams from across the US.
The popularity of sevens rugby has soared here in the US since the announcement that it will be an Olympic sport from 2016. Events such as the Collegiate Rugby Championship, show that there’s certainly an appetite for this shortened format of the game. The Las Vegas round of the IRB Sevens draws large crowds to Sam Boyd stadium, Nevada in February each year. The CRC is the college equivalent and also attracts capacity crowds and a large TV audience keen to watch the non-stop action. Collegiate sports of all types are usually well supported so there is a ready-made fan base for college rugby that allows old rivals to go head to head for sporting honors and settle old scores.
College has long been the place where most Americans are introduced to rugby and with the success of the CRC, the number of colleges offering rugby programs has grown a lot. Rugby is now the fastest growing college team sport and forms the largest block of membership of USA Rugby. This years CRC sees the participating teams increase from 16 to 20 and includes matches on the Friday.
The CRC showcases the best talent in collegiate rugby and has featured future Eagles such as Rocco Mauer (Bowling Green), Colin Hawley, Blaine Scully (both California), Peter Tiberio and Brett Thompson (both Arizona). For the second year running, the tournament is brining coaches from the English Aviva Premiership clubs, who will offer advice on player development, assess the talent on show and explore future partnerships with various coaches and colleges.
The event has grown substantially since its inception and now also plays host to High School and Women’s competitions as well as the US Military Memorial Cup.
CRC Schedule of events
|MEN’S CRC TEAMS||Round 1 – CRC First Pool matches||Round 2 – CRC – open to public @ PPL Park – 12pm-6:30pm||Round 3 – CRC open to public @ PPL Park – 11am-6pm|
|HIGH SCHOOL CHALLENGE||HS Pool Play 9am-5pm @ Penn & Drexel||HS Knock Out Rounds 9am-1pm @ Drexel||HS Finals @PPL Park – 11am-6pm|
|WOMEN’S CRC||Round Robin 11am-5pm @Drexel||Women’s CRC Knock Out Rounds 9am-12pm @Drexel||Women’s Finals @PPL Park – 11am-6pm|
|US MILITARY MEMORIAL CUP||Round Robin 9am-5pm @Drexel||Knock Out Rounds 11:30am -1:30pm @Drexel||Finals @PPL Park – 11am-6pm|
|NSCRO||NSCRO Round Robin 8am-2pm @Drexel||Finals @PPL Park – 11am-6pm|
|FAN PARTIES & EVENTS||Official Fan Party @TBD location||Official Fan Party @TBD location|
2 Where does the CRC take place?
The fans descend on PPL Park Philadelphia for the 31st May through to the 2nd of June for a rugby and music spectacular. The stadium is the home of the MLS team, Philadelphia Union, and holds crowds of 18,500. Attendances have been high and with such strong support in the city, the organizers have decided to host the event in Philly through 2014.
Quick Guide to Sevens Rugby Rules in the CRCs
3 Which teams compete in the CRC?
Twenty of the top college sides will battle it out for the CRC Cup, the Pete Dawkins Trophy. Teams are invited to compete in the tournament based on their results and fan appeal or can qualify by winning the Las Vegas Invitational Event which is held alongside the Mens’ IRB Sevens in the Las Vegas leg of the world series.
The opening day sees the participating colleges split into 5 pools of 4 teams. The top 8 teams then progress to the knockout stages with quarter, semis and finals to decide the overall winner. The remaining teams will compete in the Plate (9-12), Bowl (13-16) and Shield (17-20) Finals.
|Pool A||Pool B||Pool C||Pool D||Pool E|
|UCLA||Wisconsin||Virginia Tech||Notre Dame||Texas|
|Friday, May 31, 2013|
|5:00 PM||C||Kutztown v Temple|
|5:20 PM||C||Cal v Virginia Tech|
|5:40 PM||B||Dartmouth v Penn|
|6:00 PM||B||Arizona v Wisconsin|
|6:20 PM||A||UCLA v St. Joe’s|
|6:40 PM||A||Navy v Villanova|
|7:00 PM||D||Notre Dame v NC State|
|7:20 PM||D||Penn State v Northeastern|
|7:40 PM||E||Life v Texas|
|8:00 PM||E||Delaware v Florida|
|Saturday, June 1st, 2013|
|11:10 AM||A||Navy v St. Joe’s|
|11:30 AM||A||UCLA v Villanova|
|11:50 AM||B||Dartmouth v Wisconsin|
|12:10 PM||C||Temple v Virginia Tech|
|12:30 PM||D||Penn State v NC State|
|12:50 PM||E||Delaware v Texas|
|1:10 PM||B||Arizona v Penn|
|1:30 PM||E||Life v Florida|
|1:51 PM||A||St. Joe’s v Villanova|
|2:12 PM||C||Cal v Kutztown|
|3:07 PM||D||Penn State v Notre Dame|
|3:32 PM||B||Arizona v Dartmouth|
|3:57 PM||A||UCLA v Navy|
|4:36 PM||D||Northeastern v NC State|
|5:01 PM||E||Texas v Florida|
|5:26 PM||C||Kutztown v Virginia Tech|
|5:58 PM||C||Cal v Temple|
|6:18 PM||E||Life v Delaware|
|6:38 PM||B||Wisconsin v Penn|
|6:58 PM||D||Notre Dame v Northeastern|
|Sunday, June 2nd, 2013|
|10:00 AM||Championship Quarter – 1 v 8|
|10:20 AM||Championship Quarter – 2 v 7|
|10:40 AM||Championship Quarter – 3 v 6|
|11:00 AM||Championship Quarter – 4 v 5|
|11:20 AM||Shield Semi – 17 v 20|
|11:40 AM||Shield Semi – 18 v 19|
|12:00 PM||Bowl Semi – 13 v 16|
|12:20 PM||Bowl Semi – 14 v 15|
|2:10 PM||Plate Semi – 9 v 12|
|2:35 PM||Plate Semi – 10 v 11|
|3:00 PM||Championship Semi – W #31 v W #32|
|3:25 PM||Championship Semi – W #33 v W #34|
|3:51 PM||Shield Final – W #35 v W #36|
|4:14 PM||Bowl Final – W #37 v W #38|
|5:00 PM||Plate Final – W #39 v W #40|
|5:29 PM||Championship Final – W #41 v W #42|
4 Who are favorites to win?
Sevens rugby is always tough to predict and who progresses in the tournament owes a lot to the draw. Pool play usually throws some regional rivalries and this makes for mouth watering clashes.
Going on form in this competition, the 2010 champions Utah will not be at this year’s championship but my team and double defending champions Dartmouth will be there. As with any college sport, players graduate so no team is the same, two years in a row. Dartmouth still has five players from the 2012 winning side. This years 7s team came away with the Bowl title and a 5-1 record from the USA Rugby Sevens Collegiate National Championships in Texas, back in December. It is our aim to progress and defend our CRC crown.
On this season’s form, Life contested the National 7s Final in Texas so they will provide strong opposition, as should beaten semi-finalists Cal. Eventual winners of that tournament, Arkansas State are not due to compete at the PPL this year. Arizona is also expected to compete for the top honors so should provide stiff opposition for Dartmouth in Pool B.
5 Will the CRC be on TV?
Yes, NBC Sports are partners in the event and will be broadcasting it live across the two days. If you can, why not get your tickets at www.usasevenscrc.com and go to Philadelphia to enjoy the rock’n’roll atmosphere and some exceptional sevens rugby in the City of Brotherly Love.
Excited? Here is a reminder of the rules of sevens rugby from event organizers USASevens with their Rugby 101