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Life at the 2017 CRCs. Evan Lappen Photo.

Pool D at the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship features last year’s runner-up Life University, Air Force, Penn State, and Notre Dame. Life is still the team to beat but all three of the other teams have been formidable in years past.

Fresh off their 15s title, Life is looking to finally capture its first 7s CRC title. After winning the Las Vegas Invitational in 2012, Life University has been a mainstay at the CRC. In that year, Life was bounced in the semifinals by Arizona and every year since the Running Eagles have made the cup rounds.

In 2013 and 2017, the Running Eagles finished second, losing to Cal both times. With stellar athletes and tremendous playmakers, Life is dangerous and of the odds-on favorites.

Like in years past, the Georgia side has had little time to prep for 7s. However, that has had little effect on them in the past.

Notre Dame comes into this CRC looking to make a splash. The Irish committed the spring to a 7s only schedule. The team did very well, finishing second in both Bermuda and the Jesuit Cup, falling to Kutztown and St. Joe’s respectively.

The Irish struggled last year on day one going winless on the weekend. The Irish have traditionally struggled, and their best finish came in 2013 with a 10th place result. However, with the commitment to 7s this spring and a group of talented seniors, this could be the year the Irish breakthrough.

After grabbing the eighth cup spot in 2016, Penn State missed out on the cup rounds despite a 2-1 result in pool play last year. The Nittany Lions finished as the ninth overall seed and were bounced in the plate quarters by St. Joe’s.

In total, Penn State has made four cup playoffs, but have never advanced past the quarterfinals. In 2013, the team won its pool but fell to Navy in the quarterfinals.

Air Force make its first appearance in the CRC since 2015. During that time, the Zoomies went 1-2 in pool play in route to a 12th place finish. The service academy reached the cup quarterfinals in Las Vegas this year before being bounced by Lindenwood-Belleville.