Although the Collegiate Cup is the focal point of the weekend, several other tournaments are taking place with the championships to be held at PPL Park on Sunday afternoon. The Military Cup, which is comprised of five teams all from different branches of the military, allows active servicemen to participate in a competitive tournament despite being out of college.
Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and the Marines were all represented. The servicemen competed in a five-team round-robin that really demonstrated their competitive natures. Ultimately, Army and Navy finished as the top two seeds and will square off in the final tomorrow. In their first matchup, Army came from behind to beat their rivals 14-10.
2nd Lieutenant Austin Ollis, of the Air Force, thoroughly enjoyed his experience in the Military Cup and added that he now looks at the game in a different light after serving in the military. Ollis played rugby at the Air Force academy but has since graduated and served his country for the past year.
“I looks at the game differently now after not having the opportunity to play it anymore," he said. "I view it as a lot more fun and cherish the opportunity to step out on the field.”
Sergeant George Davis of the Marine Corps, who served two combat tours in Afghanistan, further added that “my military experience taught me to look out for my brothers on the field much like I do as a member of the Marine Corp. “
Sergeant Davis first started playing rugby at Virginia Tech before enlisting in the Marines. Passionate about the game, he jumped at the opportunity to participate in the Military Cup.
All of the players exhibited this type of competitive passion, yet it was clear that all of the players respected their opposing number.
“Off the field we are brothers in arms," said Ollis, "but on the field it is always a battle.”
Bragging rights have been and will always be an essential part of the relationship between different branches of the military. Tomorrow, Navy and Army will renew their rivalry to earn rugby sevens bragging rights.
Having the opportunity to watch the men and women who protect our freedom play rugby, is a tremendous honor. It is nice to see these individuals who sacrifice so much, have the opportunity to play a game that they love.