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The field is set for the 2015 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships taking place on the weekend of May 30th at PPL Park in Philadelphia, PA.
The two time reigning champions, Cal, highlights group A. After finishing their 15s season last weekend, the Golden Bears have shifted their focus to 7s and will still be the tournament favorites come the end of May.
Cal will be joined by ACRL champion Virginia Tech. Despite having received an invitation, the Hokies won the ACRL qualifier tournament, and will look to use that momentum coming into the CRC.
Notre Dame and newcomers Boston College will join Cal and Virginia Tech. The Eagles were awarded the final invitation several weeks ago and will make their debut in the tournament.
Last year’s runner up, Kutztown, bolsters a strong Pool B. The Bears have focused primarily on 7s in the spring and have grabbed a number of tournament victories in the process.
This group will also feature a heated rivalry, as Air Force and Navy will duke it out for service academy superiority. Between Kutztown and the two service academies, this pool will feature a solid combination of speed and fitness.
Temple rounds out the Pool B field.
Three out of the four teams that qualified for the CRC will represent group C. Alabama, who shocked the collegiate Rugby scene, by winning the SCRC 7s, will make its first foray into the tournament. Indiana made mince meat of the Big Ten to punch its ticket and Clemson earned a bid by finishing second in the ACRL to previously invited Virginia Tech.
All three teams will be looking to knock off perennial powerhouse Life University in group C. The Running Eagles are competing in the D1A 15s championship next weekend then will begin to turn their attention to 7s. The small chiropractic school from Georgia busted onto the scene by qualifying for the CRC several years ago and have been a mainstay ever since.
Pool D is led by UCLA. The Bruins have been to two consecutive CRC semi-finals and spent much of the fall participating in 7s. UCLA won the West Coast 7s, highlighted by a Cup victory over Cal.
Arkansas State will look to shake up the balance of power in Group D after winning the Las Vegas 7s qualifier tournament. The Red Wolves have not lost a 7s match since 2013 and are the reigning USA Rugby 7s champions.
Michigan and Texas earn the final two spots of Pool D. Both schools return to the CRC, with Michigan looking to advance to the cup rounds for the second year in a row, and Texas looking to improve upon a disappointing campaign in 2014.
Dartmouth heads an extremely balanced Group E. The Big Green has bowed out in the quarters in consecutive years and is looking to return to its winning form of the prior two years.
Arizona and St Joes both come into the tournament with something to prove. The Wildcats struggled last year, after the loss of its long time coach Dave Sitton and will be much more prepared in 2015. St Joes swept through the Keystone 7s, had an impressive performance in Las Vegas and will be looking to show the rest of the country that its program is more than just a local invite.
Penn State rounds out the group.