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Pool C is shaping up to be another difficult group at the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship. Dartmouth, Temples and newcomers Iona join perennial Power Kutztown in this pool.
Kutztown will once again look to take home the coveted CRC title that has evaded them. The Bears have made a name for themselves at the CRC, reaching every cup quarterfinal since joining the tournament in 2012. The Bears reached the finals in back-to-back years before losing to Cal in both instances. The Pennsylvania school was bounced in the semifinals in 2016 by UCLA before falling to Cal in the quarterfinals last year.
With Cal not in the mix this year, Kutztown’s path got a little bit easier. The Bears fell to Cal a few weeks ago in the semifinals of the USA Rugby College 7s, which turned out to be the squads first loss of the 7s season.
Kutztown is big and powerful and has arguably the best stepper in the country in D’Monte Noble. The Bears captured several tournaments this spring, including the Las Vegas 7s and will be a tough out in Philadelphia.
Dartmouth is looking to return to its glory days of back-to-back titles. The Big Green won in 2011 and 2012 with the likes of Nate Brakeley and Madison Hughes. While the New Hampshire school may not have that firepower, the team is consistently a threat to make the cup rounds.
Complicating things this year was a deep run in the DIAA playoffs. The last game was on May 5, leaving little time to transition back to 7s. The Big Green did well finishing second in the Ivy 7s with a young squad but has had very little in the way of serious A-side competition.
Iona brings a new element to the table. The Gaels are making their first appearance at the CRC and the New York school can play.
The Gaels went 12-0 in their two Liberty League tournaments, but opted not to go to the USA Rugby championships. They also played at the Army invitational going 2-2 on the day, beating Army twice and falling to Penn State and Mount St. Mary’s.
Temple, who has struggled in recent years, will finalize the group. The Owls have a lot more experience this season, and will look to take lessons from last year. The local school faced off with Dartmouth last year falling 29-0 to the Ivy school.
The Owls have struggled at the CRC. They have never made the cup rounds but had a better spring playing 7s. Temple finished fourth in the MARC series and will look to build some momentum into the tournament.