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Pool F at the Penn Mutual College Rugby Championships is the Army vs Navy group with Central Washington and Maryland joining the service academies. The traditional rivalry of Army vs Navy will be on display once again on Saturday with the West Pointers holding the 3-1 CRC advantage. CWU enters the tournament for the first time since 2011 and Maryland makes its fourth appearance in Philadelphia.
Coming off a successful 15s season, Navy will be ready for this year’s CRC. The Midshipmen’s best finish was in 2013 when they lost in the cup semifinals and hope to do better this go around. The Midshipmen played Army at the All-Academy 7s in April and beat its bitter rivals twice, including a 12-5 win in the final. In preparation for this weekend’s event, Navy practiced against Wales in its lead-up to playing South Africa in DC and scrimmaged Penn State, who is Pool D. The highlight of pool play should be how Navy deals with the athleticism of CWU and the power of Army.
Similar to Navy, Army hopes to turn a winning 15s squad into a high finish at the CRCs. After taking second at the All-Academy 7s, the Black Knights struggled at the West Point 7s Invitational but will look to improve this weekend in Philly. Ever since coming in second in 2011, Army has only played in the CRCs three more times and has not reached the cup round since. Last year, the Black Knights made it to the plate quarterfinals only to lose to Wisconsin. Look for Army to do some damage in Pool F.
The most well-rounded team of the pool may be Central Washington. 2018 will be CWU’s first appearance in seven years at the CRC when it finished fourth in 2011. The Wildcats expect to build on their impressive fall 7s results when they outplayed fellow CRC entrants, UCLA and Arizona, in west coast tournaments. At the Las Vegas Invitational earlier this year, CWU finished in fourth. CWU now brings the show to the east coast and will be grouped with Army and Navy as it was back in 2011. Considering the athletes on the team, the Wildcats are a strong favorite to make the cup round.
Maryland has only played at the big dance in Philadelphia three times with its highest finish in 2014 with a plate finals victory over Northeastern. The Terps last appearance was two years ago when they advanced to the bowl finals where they lost to Army, 10-0.