Notre Dame hosted Aspen in a 7s exhibition Saturday during the Notre Dame spring football Blue-and-Gold game.
This was a historic day for a Notre Dame rugby program that is still not that far from having been kicked off campus.
The exhibition, in front of over 30,000 fans, was prompted by James Aldridge, now playing with Aspen after a stint in New Zealand, and a former Notre Dame football player.
This was a special experience for all the players, and the fans were especially enthusiastic watching to 7s. The fans responded well to the big hits and the fast pace of game.
The roars began to build up about midway through the single 7-minute period when winger Dom Carsaro tried to win the corner, but was pushed out 10 yards away from the end zone. The first and only score came with about a minute left, when senior Dan Scheper made an and passed to sophomore Byron Henry on a cutback. Henry split two defenders and found senior David Harrington, who offloaded in contact to senior Chris "Sparky" Pesigan to set him up for the 60-yard race to the tryline.
"It was the best experience of my life," said Sparky.
The Notre Dame 7s team is now preparing for the USA 7s Collegiate Rugby Championship at PPL Park in Philadelphia June 2-3. This experience at the Blue and Gold game will help the players for the CRC, too, as the size of the crowd won't be a shock. Notre Dame has brought in former Eagle (7s and 15s) David Fee to lead the 7s effort, and they will look to build on their 2011 finish, where they made the Challenger Cup final.
Click here for more on the CRC.