Is the St. Joseph's University 7s team at the CRC just to make up the numbers?
Did they get invited because they are local (maybe), will bring fans (yes), and nothing else (no).
Head Coach Sean Duffy, a 20-something bundle of energy who has worked for the USA 7s Collegiate Rugby Championship before, says his team is in the CRC because they have something to show.
"We are serious about 7s," said Duffy, whose St. Joe's were runners up in their conference in 15s this season. "We run 15s in the fall and the spring. We always have our eye on the ball in 15s, but in the periphery 7s is always there, and we play it in the winter and summer."
Duffy took his team to the Las Vegas Invitational in February, and he said that was a big benefit to his program. But there's more to it than that.
About a year ago we decided that, rather than build from the ground up every year, we'd keep players in a 7s pool and keep some 7s training going. We have a 20-man 7s pool and we narrow it down through tournaments and trainings.
The St. Joe's players, done with exams now, will convene on Monday to begin preparation for the CRC.
"We get a lot of support from the University," said Duffy. "We're going to have these boys in a professional environment - strength coaches, speed coaches. We're going to put them to work, and they know that going in."
Duffy said he has players on the 15s team who look the part for 7s, but can't make the commitment. No hard feelings, they aren't in the pool.
"We're really happy we made the switch to the new plan," said Duffy. "The University is getting behind us. We are starting to see players in from good high school programs. We're getting kids in from Xavier. We don't have football here, so maybe rugby can be our football."
Rugby is not varsity at St. Joe's, but Duffy is working on it. Even if they don't make the Big V, they continue to get more support from the school.
"We're laying the groundwork for varsity, but we're not there yet," he said. "But playing in the CRC will certainly help."
For more information on seeing the USA 7s CRC, go to www.usasevenscrc.com