PHILADELPHIA, PA – There was a lot of rugby down in Philly inside PPL Park and on the new fields just outside the stadium on Saturday. Despite the fact that it was 8:20 on Saturday morning when I arrived, there was energy around the stadium. Perhaps important for the casual observer—rugby parents and families. The things that make the game look like a common, legitimate American sport.
Here is the day’s recap from the men’s competition, pool by pool.
Cal 33-5 Boston College
Virginia Tech 36-19 Notre Dame
Virginia Tech 17-17 Boston College
A spirited game with plenty of back and forth that ended in a tie as Allan Bronzo from Boston College was taken into touch, inches from the try zone.
Cal 39-5 Notre Dame
At the start of the game, a quick try for Cal through Andrew Battaglia. Possession gained from the restart and another try, this one for James Kondrat. An intercepted Jake Anderson pass led to Notre Dame pressure and, after several phases, a try. After the restart, Battaglia responded with a 75 meter try. 22-5 at the half.
Notre Dame simply did not have the skill and pace to keep up with Cal. Their strategy, when on attack, seemed to be to drive forward with big runners who created space by sucking in several defenders. It worked a few times, but Cal was able to keep their defensive shape pretty well.
Cal 12-7 Virginia Tech
Alec Gletzer made a big tackle early to set the tone. The first few Cal forays led to VA Tech penalties. The Hokies were not able to relieve the pressure, though, and Battaglia got the game’s first points. After an extended period featuring some good D by Virginia Tech, Paul Bosco stutter-stepped his way into the try zone. 12-0 at the half.
Early in the second half, VA Tech’s Michael Cirbee made a line break and then chipped ahead. In the chase, Jake Anderson earned a yellow card for interfering with Cirbee, who was able to score the try even with the interference. Cal did not get much help from the referee in this match.
Notre Dame 19-15 Boston College
Going 3-0, Cal wins Pool A.
Kutztown 24-14 Air Force
Air Force started the match well, winning several penalties in a build up that ended with a Zachary White try. Kutztown responded with a try from Brad Frederick who was set up by some good play by Robert Stortz and Niku Kruger. Stortz then added his own try, and it was 14-7 to Kutztown at the half.
In the second half, a long pass from Kruger set up a try for Alex Faison-Donahue, who scored again soon after on a scything run. Air Force responded with a great try from 40 meters out by Garrett Jameson, but the come-back-momentum fizzled as Kutztown stole two scrums.
Navy 24-14 Kutztown
This might as well be Kutztown’s home field. Their section is alive. Navy, though, was looking to explode from the start. A Kruger interception ended the initial explosion. The ball was shifted wide to Trent Hensley who went 80 meters.
KU committed a penalty at the breakdown inside their 22. Taking the penalty quickly, Navy’s Jack McAuliffe got across the try line and the conversion pulled things level. Then, after a Kutztown knock, Navy found the space out wide after winning the scrum and Dakota Raymond had the pace to put Navy in the lead.
Halftime: 12-7, Navy.
Brad Frederick muscled over after a Robert Stortz dart, and with the conversion, Kutztown was back in the lead. But McAuliffe made another great run, received a return pass, and kept the Kutztown rally short. Navy won the restart leading to a John Ruck try.
Air Force 24-12 Temple
A scrappy start until Heath Reichenbach put a big fend on and Air Force took the lead. Temple pushed into the Air Force 22, but then lost possession. Reichenbach extended the Air Force lead after a nice run by Calvin Johnson. Temple lacked patience in attack and defense. After the hooter sounded, Temple won a scrum inside their own half and Peter Mulville was in space on the wing and covered the last 40 meters to pull back to 5-14 at the half.
A great start to the second half for Temple and Mike Wellstein was over for a try quickly. After some back and forth, Air Force had a good period of possession capped by a Zachary White try. Benjamin Burmester went over for one more Air Force try before the final whistle, to push the score of what was a pretty interesting match to 24-12, Air Force.
Navy 27-5 Air Force
After a long run to put them deep in the 22, Navy struck first with Jack McAuliffe muscling over. Garrett Smith scored next for Navy after some simple but well-executed drawing and passing. Navy kept the pressure on, winning the ball from the restart. Dakota Raymond was the next to score. Navy seemed fresher than Air Force, though Calvin Johnson did score a try before the half ended. Johnson ran well on Day 1. 15-5 to Navy at the half.
Raymond got the first try in the second half when Navy scored after winning a penalty 5 meters out. As the half wore on, Air Force wore down.
Kutztown 47-7 Temple
Going 3-0, Navy wins Pool B.
Life 26-14 Clemson
Clemson scored first with Jason Damm crossing over, after Life conceded a penalty inside their 22. Life controlled the restart, and before long struck back with a Conor Mooneyham try. At the restart, Life took the kick while Clemson were still regrouping. That led to a lineout in Clemson’s half that Life stole. That steal set up a Blane McIlroy try. 14-7 at the half to Life.
In the second half, Clemson had a chance to pull even, but were penalized for a double movement trying to cross the try line. Life’s attacking move from that penalty ended with a second try for Mooneyham. That swing in momentum and points pretty much sealed the game for Life.
Indiana 24-12 Life
Life upset by Indiana 24-12. Life had some moments of spark, but Indiana was able to limit the Life breaks.
Indiana 27-12 Alabama
Alabama 14-12 Clemson
Life 36-0 Alabama
Indiana 27-5 Clemson
Indiana wins Pool C? Yes, Indiana went 3-0 on Saturday.
Arkansas State 17-5 Michigan
Alex Goff got Arkansas State off to a great start with a hoppin’ and steppin’ try. Michigan played some strong defense for a period, but Ruann Knupel broke the line 30 meters out and raced in for a try. Michigan, after some good pressure, was able to get a try before halftime as Cole Van Harn powered over from close range.
In the second half, there was a lot of hustle and grunt from Michigan, but some stepping from Glenn Erickson led to a Tom Hausrrer try, and that was the last score of the game.
Arkansas State 22-10 Texas
Texas put some pressure on Arkansas State at the end, but ultimately, in part because of fitness, Arkansas State hung on.
UCLA 50-0 Texas
Michigan 17-12 UCLA
From a penalty well inside their own half, Cian Berry went through with a nice step and put UCLA up 5-0. A good grubber put pressure on Michigan and resulted in a 5 meter scrum to UCLA. The resulting possession ended with a James Francis try. UCLA 12-0 at the half.
Michigan scored a try, with some nice handling, right at the start of the second half after the restart didn’t go 10. A nice offload by Zach Burns led to an Andre Cargill try. With conversion, Michigan in the lead, 14-12.
This was an oddly refereed game. Jared Bosma of UCLA was red-carded for a tip tackle. After that, the rest of the game was played inside UCLA’s 22. Joel Onczelmann kicked a penalty drop goal as the final play to end the game.
Arkansas State 19-0 UCLA
UCLA’s fan base was much improved over last year. For the first several minutes, everything was in the UCLA half. Once Arkansas State was able to get their hands on the ball, Blace Walser made a great pass back inside from the wing that led to a try for Dylan Carron. UCLA had some chances and some moments of skill, but the Red Wolves were a bit more clinical. For instance, a good spell of defensive pressure led to a try for Glenn Erikson. 12-0 at the half.
David Snead scored the first try of the second half for Arkansas State, though it was an Erikson run that made it possible. Cian Berry was able to track back and catch up to Erickson. Arkansas State were much improved at the breakdown in their later games.
With a 3-0 Saturday, Arkansas State wins Pool D.
Dartmouth 31-7 St. Josephs
Arizona 33-10 Penn State
Dartmouth 15-10 Penn State
Dartmouth built pressure right from the first kick and Stephen Dazzo went over for Dartmouth’s first try. Penn State was able to get inside Dartmouth’s 22, but a knock on led to a Dartmouth scrum and a clearing kick. Back on attack, Dawit Workie, who was running Dartmouth’s attack, made an offload that put Cody Patch into space. Patch with a good step back inside to score. Soon, Penn State was again inside Dartmouth’s 22, but another turnover led to a penalty against Penn State. 10-0 at half.
The second half saw another Penn State trip inside the Dartmouth 22. This time, Selby Niumataiwalu made an absurd behind-the-back offload that created the space for a PSU try. Dartmouth was able to respond – after a penalty at scrum time, it was a simple Dartmouth move that found John Abraham, who had enough juice to get around the corner. PSU managed a consolation try after the hooter.
St. Josephs 12-5 Arizona
Arizona 24-0 Dartmouth
Penn State 24-21 St. Josephs
Arizona’s demolition of Dartmouth was enough to end with a 2-1 day and win Pool E.
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