Texas A&M won the Allied Rugby Conference 7s tournament Saturday, beating Colorado State 12-7 in the final to avenge an earlier loss to the Rams in pool play.
The Aggies have already tabbed the Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference tournament as their avenue for automatic qualification, so they have not received an automatic bid to Nationals for winning the ARC.
Per a conversation with College Competitions Committee Chair Kevin Battle, it’s not yet clear whether or not the tournament’s automatic bid falls to second-place Colorado State.
The Rams are also competing in another qualifier – Rocky Mountain 7s – and we don’t know whether or not they chose that event or the ARC to qualify through. Nonetheless, the tournament was good training ground for the Aggies and Rams for the rest of the 7s season.
The Aggies opened the day with a 34-0 win over Baylor and followed it up with a 26-19 win over Texas Tech. The third game of pool play is when they fell to CSU.
“There was some complacency,” said A&M coach Brett Mills of the loss. “This is our first trip of the year. It was freezing cold here. The guys didn’t respond very well. Really, the defense was the key. The first game we were arm tackling, reaching.”
A&M took out its frustration from the defeat on Oklahoma, beating the Sooners (which had blown out their three pool opponents) 36-5.
Colorado State advanced to the final with a 28-0 blanking of Oklahoma State in the other semifinal. The Rams went 3-0 in pool play, also beating Texas Tech and Baylor.
The final was a defensive struggle. Tied 7-7 near halftime, Texas A&M’s Jan Young was sent off for a dangerous tackle near the Aggies’ defensive try line, but A&M regrouped after the penalty and managed to hold out CSU.
“If we give up a score there the game might be a different thing,” said Mills, “but the guys stepped up right at the end there, of the half, and managed to keep theim out long enough, and then of course we got Jan back after the second half and that was a big deal.”
Freshman Matthew Theodore scored the second-half game-winner for Texas A&M.
“That kid was fantastic and really played well today,” said Mills. “We broke one down in the corner and we got it to Connor (Mills) across the middle. He drew two defenders and Theodore was right through the gap. The kid looked like he was going to tackle him and Theodore ran through the tackle for the try.”
Colorado State threatened to score a leveling try in the games waning moments, but the possession ended with a knock-on.
The 7s Aggies are back in action Oct. 13 for the SCRC 7s championship, and Colorado State plays in Rocky Mountain 7s the following weekn.