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Wisconsin punched its ticket to a third Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship appearance Saturday by claiming the Big Ten 7s title in Elkhart, Ind. The Badgers went a perfect 5-0 on the day, racking up 167 points and conceding just 29.
“Our defense is an area we pride ourselves on. We’re hard on the guys in defense and we drum into them to maintain their defensive pattern as well as committing to the tackles,” Wisconsin coach Scott Adlington said.
The final was arguably the closest call of the day for Wisconsin, as Michigan was the only team to manage more than a single score on the Badger defense. The victors built a 24-12 lead by halftime, but Michigan pulled back within a try on the other side of intermission before Wisconsin separated for good with back-to-back tries.
The Badgers were successful throughout the Big Ten’s three-tournament series, winning the opening competition at Ohio State and the championship in Elkhart. The lone blip was a third-place finish at Iowa.
“I think this win definitely validates the hard work that the boys have put in so far. We toured the Carolinas during Spring Break and played very good teams like USC and Clemson. Our A Side has now played 26 games of sevens this spring, so we’ve been working them hard,” said Adlington.
“It has taken us about 20 players over the three Big Ten tournaments to win it. We always stress that we’re a team of 12 because that’s what it takes in a tournament to do well. We don’t have starters and reserves, we have starters and closers.
The CRC berth marks the first for Wisconsin since 2013, when the Badgers lost in the Plate semifinals to Delaware. The year prior they reached the Cup Quarterfinals.
|Plate Final||Iowa||26-14||Michigan State|
|Cup SF||Michigan||31-25||Ohio State|
|Plate SF||Michigan State||31-19||Purdue|
|Pool A||Ohio State||24-19||Michigan State|
|Pool A||Michigan State||33-12||Northwestern|
|Pool A||Wisconsin||19-7||Ohio State|
|Pool A||Ohio State||31-5||Northwestern|
|Pool A||Wisconsin||33-0||Michigan State|