In our pool predictions for the USA 7s Collegiate Rugby Championships at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., we look at a real pick 'em group.
Who will win: Central Washington
This is clearly the most competitive pool in the CRC. All four teams are capable of winning all of their pool games, but the key for CWU isn’t so much the players, although Kellen Gordon, Tim Stanfill, Ryan Hamilton, Chris Harriage, Matt Lobe et al are all very good players; it’s their teamwork. As much as any team in this competition, they have honed their 7s game.
Who will challenge them: Well, everyone else. Navy has looked the best so far, having had a little bit more time to practice 7s than Army, and boasting a team of some significant physical power. Head Coach Mike Coyner has a youngish squad, but that’s OK. The Alex Lee and Evan Rose-led UNC team will be a surprise at some point, while Army has been working on 7s skills all season.
Clearly for Army the key is Ben Leaatigaga and Will Holder. If they get space (that is, if their teammates don’t run sideways too long before passing the ball off) then they can be mighty dangerous.
11:26 Navy v. North Carolina
11:48 Army v. Central Washington
As we’ve said in other predictions, the first game can be a shocker, but it’s not this game that is actually the key for most. Central Washington should be more polished at this point and will be favored to win, as is, to a lesser extent, Navy.
1:38 Army v. North Carolina
2:54 Central Washington v. Navy
A huge clash for Central as they wade through a tough pool, but we like Army and CWU here.
5:02 Army v. Navy
7:02 Central Washington v. North Carolina
Well you can’t fault the CRC organizers for creating drama. Likely Army and Navy will play each other with a quarterfinal place on the line. This will be one of the most compelling, physical, and exciting games of the day. We can’t pick a winner, but it will be a confrontation that’s for sure.