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Wildcats in action. Marvin Dangerfield photo

Pool B features four brand named schools. Arizona, Indiana, South Carolina and Boston College make up this foursome.

Based on the history of the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, Indiana and Arizona would likely be the pool favorites. The Hoosiers and Wildcats have both made the Cup rounds in recent years and will be gunning for that again.

Indiana became a mainstay at the event starting in 2015 and made the cup rounds in 2015 and 2017. Last year, the Hoosiers made it to the semifinals before ultimately falling to Cal.

IU has had an up and down spring in 7s, winning a majority of their games but not at the rate we are used to seeing from the Hoosiers. Indiana had a couple of average performances prior to USA Rugby 7s nationals last weekend and ended up finishing the championship at 4-3. Two losses came to Cal and Lindenwood, however, two of the best teams in the country.

The third came against pool rival Arizona. The game was a grind it out affair in the plate final, and the Wildcats edged Indiana 14-12. Expect the game to be this close when the two sides meet again next week.

Arizona has had a strong showing in 7s this year. The Wildcats won the PAC 7s last fall, defeating Cal in a thrilling overtime game. The west coast team is fast and well-conditioned. Led by Kyle Rogers and Jonah Eldridge, Arizona will be looking to make another deep run in the tournament.

Last year was a bit of a disappointment for the Wildcats. After reaching the two consecutive semifinals, Arizona went 1-2 in pool play and headed to the Bowl. The team is more experienced and after being bounced by Kutztown in the quarterfinals last weekend, the team will be hungry for more.

Boston College has been involved in the last three Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships and is still searching for its first ever cup round appearance. Last year, the Eagles were within a try of both Dartmouth and St. Mary’s and very well could have flipped both games.

The prior year, BC shocked Indiana but a surprise loss to Notre Dame kept the Eagles out of the cup rounds. In the Jesuit Cup this spring, BC lost to Santa Clara in the Shield Final.

South Carolina rounds out the group. The Gamecocks earned their way in by winning the Southeastern Rugby Conference. USC bested rivals, Kentucky and Tennessee to capture the crown and return for their third consecutive CRC.

The SCRC champs like BC, have never made the cup rounds. However, the team is filled with a number of senior players who have major experience at the CRC. After third place finishes in pool play the last two years, South Carolina will be looking to surprise. The Gamecocks reeled off three wins on Sunday last year to capture the Bowl.