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The invitations to the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship have been confirmed, revealing an expanded field. For the first time in the tournament’s seven-year history, 24 teams will compete for the Pete Dawkins Trophy. From 2010-2012 there were 16 teams, and from 2013-2015 20 teams.
19 programs have been invited, all of which are returners. Every team from the 2015 event is back, except Texas, Alabama and Air Force. The Longhorns played every year from 2011-2015, but they struggled the last three years, finishing last in 2015, third-to-last in 2014 and second-to-last in 2013. Air Force was invited for the first time last year, finishing 12th. Alabama could well win its way back via the Southeastern conference championship.
Drexel won its way in by taking the inaugural City Six title in June. The City Six is a competition between local Philadelphia teams run in conjunction with the CRC, with the winner qualifying for the next year’s main event.
The final four spots will be earned via qualifiers – the Las Vegas Invitational, Big Ten, Atlantic Coast and Southeastern conference championships.
Six teams continue their streak of playing in every CRC – three-time champion Cal, two-time winner Dartmouth, three-time semifinalist Arizona, perennial quarterfinalist Navy, Penn State and Notre Dame.
Temple returns for the sixth-straight year. The Owls have participated every time the event has been played in Philadelphia. Life returns for a fifth-straight time. Virginia Tech, UCLA, St. Joe's and Kutztown come back for the fourth year in a row. Army also returns for its fourth run, having sat out the last three years following a suspension. The Black Knights finished second in 2011.
Boston College, Michigan and Indiana have also been invited back for their third appearances. The Hoosiers finished 12th in the inaugural event in 2010. In June they finished seventh, earning their way back to the CRC via the Big Ten title. BC finished 18th last year and 16th in 2011. The Wolverines reached the Cup Quarterfinals each of the last two years.
Clemson, South Carolina and Arkansas State are back for the second time. Clemson finished 19th last year, South Carolina finished 19th in 2014, and Arkansas State won the Plate in 2015. The Red Wolves qualified for last year’s tournament by winning the LVI. The last two teams to qualify for the CRC via the LVI, Arkansas State and Life, have received invites the next year.
2016 CRC Field
Las Vegas Invitational winner
Big Ten champion
Atlantic Coast champion