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After an extremely long first day which included three breaks for lightning, pool play of USA Rugby's College 7s National Championships is in the books. Eight teams remain in the hunt for the men's DI title, with some cracking matches along the way. In the picture above is the Cup bracket. In a table below are the pool standings. Between them are some observations from a few great pool matches.
AIC 22-12 BGSU
AIC found itself on the wrong side of the whistle early on with a different interpretation of the breakdown than the referee. Bowling Green took advantage, scoring the first two tries to build a 12-0 lead. AIC got one back in the first half, with Christian Adams trucking one Falcon and running past another.
The Yellowjackets knotted the score up at 12-12 midway through the second half, and freshman phenom Jihad Khabir gave them the lead with an intercept try with a couple of minutes left. Adams added a second try, poaching the ball from a BGSU ruck and running in untouched to slam the door shut at the death.
ARIZONA STATE 26-19 IOWA
Arizona State had penalty issues early, and the powerful Hawkeyes punched in two tries with the Sun Devils playing a man down. One try was converted, and Iowa led 12-0 five minutes in.
ASU got on the board quickly once at full strength, with Alex Sandstrom finishing off a break for John Jones. The conversion was hit, pulling the Sun Devils within five at 12-7. That’s how the half would end, as ASU botched a good scoring opportunity right on halftime.
The Sun Devils tied it up in the first minute of the second stanza with a string of offloads and phases being finished off in the corner. Iowa nearly rebutted, but a knock-on within 10 meters from pay dirt left the stalemate intact.
Iowa scored to regain the lead with a big support play, but the last minute of the game turned sour for the Hawkeyes. First Adam Sandstrom streaked for his own score to knot the game at 19-19, and on the final kickoff he made a break to set up the game winner for ASU.
DAVENPORT 24-20 UTAH
Anthony Welmers sped around one edge to give the Panthers a 5-0 lead early on. Gabe Sochanek tagged on another try not long after, powering through a couple of Utah defenders for the score. JP Eloff slotted the second of the two scores, pushing DU up 12-0.
The Utes’ first foray into the attacking end was cut short just 10 meters in with a penalty for holding on. But it wasn't long before Utah's No. 9 took a turnover the other way for his team's first score. Danny Christensen’s conversion missed, leaving Davenport up by seven.
Benjamin Mills bowled his way over right on halftime, pulling Utah within a conversion. Christensen’s kick missed again, and Davenport led 12-10 going into the break.
Davenport’s Brady Gent extended the lead for the Panthers a couple of minutes into the second half. They got on the front foot with a Utah penalty, and Gent just caught a Ute defender sleeping. Taylor Thomas erased that score directly after the restart, bursting through a gap in Davenport’s line and slipping through the fingers of the sweeper. The conversion was again missed, and Davenport led 19-15.
Utah took its first lead of the game after a huge play by Christensen. Davenport had a scrum deep in its own end. Christensen tackled the Davenport halfback immediately and got to his feet to poach, earning a penalty five meters from the try line. The Utes pounded the ball over, taking a 20-19 advantage.
There was too much time left on the clock, though, as Davenport mounted a long possession ending in a Gent try at the death, giving DU a 24-20 victory.
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