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The Woodlands Exiles qualified for the Nationals by winning the West. They achieved that feat by going undefeated in the last two tournaments, Kansas City and Denver, winning 10-straight contests.
However, because of the rule that requires players to play in two tournaments with the team for whom they're playing at Nationals, and the new eligibility regulation that requires a club to have 10 Eagle-qualifying players on their roster, the Exiles' team eligibility for the weekend has been in question much of the week. The Exiles, after subtracting players who played in just one tournament, had less than 10 Eagle-qualifying players.
The Exiles applied for eligibility waivers for multiple players, regarding the two-tournament rule, but they were denied. At one point, the Exiles thought they were on the outs and would not be able to compete whatsoever. Later in the week, USA Rugby asked the Exiles to compete in San Francisco with their ineligible players without having a shot at the title. In that scenario, they would have played pool play, and regardless of their finish, moved to the consolation bracket Sunday.
Dr. David Pope, founder and coach, refused the offer. USA Rugby is now letting them compete with an eight-man roster. One player, Phil Mack, is a not eligible for the Eagles. The Exiles will be eligible for the National Championship.