CRC PREVIEW: ARIZONA AIMS FOR NATIONAL TITLE WITH ESPN SPOTLIGHT
Kyle Rogers leads a deep, talented Sevens squad in his final tournament as a Wildcat. (Photo credit: Nikki Adams)
June 1- Arizona will conclude their season this weekend in Philadelphia, taking on the nation's best at the 2018 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship on the ESPN family of networks. The Wildcats have named the 13 man side that will represent them, with Kyle Rogers leading the squad that looks to bring home their first Sevens national title.
The talented group brings back a number of veterans from the Fall's PAC Conference title, with Rogers joined by fellow seniors Dante Weeks, Ryan Hudson, Jonah Eldridge, and Vice Captain Ben Joseph. Two freshmen make their debuts in the CRC this weekend, with George Niethammer and Jon Rogers, the youngest of the three brothers selected to the side. Fabian Lumsden, a junior, also is in line to make his tournament debut. A number of players return to Philadelphia to make the side after putting in strong performances two weeks ago at USA Rugby's College Sevens Championship, including Matt Rogers, Zach Heisterkamp, Garrett Walker, Ben Scoular, and Lou MacLaughlin, who travels as an alternate.
The Wildcats find themselves slotted in Pool B alongside Indiana, Boston College, and South Carolina, with all three teams highly capable of putting the Wildcats to the test. Arizona has little history against South Carolina and Boston College, but did defeat Indiana in the Plate Final of the College Sevens to provide a preview of this weekend's match up. The six pool winners will advance to the cup rounds alongside the top two second place finishers, with remaining teams slotting in to additional knockout stages.
Head Coach Sean Duffy pointed to the tight-knit group this year as being capable of something special, with their leadership group setting a great example for the team to follow. "I can't say enough about how great our leaders like Kyle and Ben have been and what's been great is to see our next generation of leaders step up this camp as well. Our #1 focus this weekend is sticking together. In attack, in defense, in our off field work, everything. We do that and we focus on our jobs, playing for each other, nothing else, and we know we'll be where we want to be on Sunday."
If you can't watch live be sure to follow the Wildcats on Twitter at @AZWildcatRugby to keep up to date with the team's progress. Tickets are still available here for purchase at a discounted rate for Wildcat fans.
10:20 AM vs Boston College (Academy Field #1)
1:15 PM vs Indiana (ESPN+)
4:15 PM vs South Carolina (ESPN+)
Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship Roster