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Dartmouth put on a clinic to win the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship qualifier division of the Las Vegas Invitational, defeating Colorado 20-5 in the final Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev. The Big Green were among the first 15 teams to be extended at-large bids to the main event in June, so the LVI’s automatic bid will go back into the kitty of remaining at-large berths.
The next automatic qualifier for the CRC, and the only one with open registration outside of the LVI, is the Heart of America Classic March 30-31 in Kansas City, Kan. The winner of that competition will join the Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference champion at the main event.
The Big Green’s defense was the key to the win, as the Buffs had plenty of possession, but they spent scant time in the attacking end and didn’t get on the board until the death. CU started with possession, as Dartmouth knocked the opening kickoff into touch. Colorado’s flyhalf made a successful juke to get behind the Dartmouth line and across midfield.
A knock-on the next phase ended Colorado’s most promising possession for all but 30 seconds of the rest of the game. Dartmouth drew first blood by picking from the base of a ruck and darting up the weakside for the score.
After trading possession on the next kickoff, Dartmouth’s stout defense forced another Colorado knock-on, and a series of offloads resulted in a second try. The two-time CRC champs tacked on another try just before halftime to extend the lead to 15-0.
Any doubt was removed when Dartmouth added a fourth try just on the other side of intermission. A rare somersault preceded the offload that sprung the scorer free. With the result well in hand, Colorado’s reserve wing scored from 80 meters out to void the clean sheet.