April 24, 2024

CRC Preview: Men’s Division II

Indiana University of Pennsylvania seeks a third-straight 7s national championship in Men’s Division II. Led by a slew of stars, like backs RJ Beach and Dom Holmes, and bruising forwards Cam Taylor and Dylan McAnulty, IUP is the odds-on favorite coming into the weekend. 

The title of top challenger goes to the Memphis Tigers, champions of the Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference, who fell to IUP in the 15s national championship game in December. Sehrab Bagha is a force, both with ball in hand and as a tackler. 

Like 10 of the 16 teams in the field, Northern Iowa was in the 15s playoffs last fall, losing in a very close, high-scoring semifinal to Memphis. The Panthers, led by All-American Jentry Staack, enter as an at-large selection, having been upset by Northwestern and 6’5” star Linus Bray in the Great Midwest championship. 

UNI draws Southern Conference champion UNC Wilmington in one of the most intriguing opening round matches, as speedster Carey Cortes will have his jets on full display for the Seahawks. Another one to look out for is Northwestern against Norwich. The Cadets gave IUP their closest contest at the CRC last year, losing 15-14 in the semifinal. 

The two opening rounds of the Men’s Division II bracket will be played Friday and streamed live on National Collegiate Rugby’s YouTube, with the semifinals (11:50 and 12:10 EST) and finals (6:11 ET) set for Saturday live on The Rugby Network.  

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