It’s 10:00pm PST Wednesday night and the boys should just be touching down in Austin, Texas right about now. The Vikings left Sea-Tac at 4:30 pm this afternoon on a flight to Dallas-Ft Worth, where they switched planes for the short hop to Austin. They will spend the night in Austin and get up in the morning to train at the Austin Rugby Club facility. They’ll finish training around 11:00 am local time, have lunch, and then head out to College Station, where they’ll check into their hotel rooms and cool their jets until they kick-off pool play against St Mary’s, Friday morning at 11:00 am. Pool play on Friday will include a match against Texas A&M at 2:20 pm and then a match against Bowling Green that will kick-off at 6:00 pm.
After pool play is concluded all of the teams will be re-seeded, 1 thru 24. The re-seeding will give each of the pool winners seeds 1 thru 6 with the remaining teams seeded based on won/loss record within the their pool as well as point differential (points scored minus points allowed). The pool winners, 1 thru 6, will also be re-seeded based on point differential. The top eight teams will compete in the ‘Cup’ quarterfinals, the middle eight teams will enter the ‘Bowl’ quarterfinals, and the seeds 17 thru 24 will compete in the ‘Shield’ quarter finals. Got all that? There will be a quiz later…. In any event the teams will play at least two matches on Saturday. In the end we’ll know who finished where, 1st thru 24.
On the women’s side of things it is pretty much the same set-up but with 16 teams instead of 24. It looks like the only West Coast teams that made it are Oregon State, California, and Stanford. Colorado is there, too, but they really aren’t West Coast, not cool like us…
You can watch all of the fun as USA Rugby will be streaming all of the games on the two fields live through out the day and then Saturday, ESPN3 will be carrying the Men’s and Women’s Cup Semifinals and Finals beginning at 11:40 am Central Time. Click on this link for the webcast and ESPN3 info: National 7’s TV
You can also see the full draw and schedule of matches by clicking on this link: USA Rugby National 7’s You can navigate around from this link and see the entrants, pools, rosters, and much more, all related to the tournament.
Yesterday I tried to link you to the team capsules and how the editors and writers at rugby.mag saw this National tournament playing out. I forgot that those people wanted some of your money to see that stuff, my bad. Anyway, I’m not going to go there again but I am going to include what they said about Western and our chances in the tournament. Here is what rugby.mag has to say about Western:
Perhaps a distant second to Central Washington in the Northwest, the Vikings are actually quite solid. Under their new management they have recruited some good players and are actually far and away better than the rest of the Northwest.
British-Columbian recruit Quinton Willms has been superb for a team with some good senior leadership. Highly skilled and experienced despite his youth, Willms led all players in scoring in the Northwest Collegiate 7s, and his ability to make five points seven (never mind creating the five points to begin with) makes him a game-changer.
Seniors Matt Jensen and Robert Boenish provide leadership, while they have some skilled players ready to score tries, such as Gavi Grossman and Matt Tiscornia.
Overall, WWU has been a solid team that plays good defense and good team rugby. They needed to amp up their athleticism and their sophistication to make the upper echelon. They have certainly done the latter.
And also in their favor is being stuck there in the top left-hand corner of the country. Too many opponents will overlook them … to their peril.
So what the rugby.mag writers are saying is they don’t know too much about us either since we’re stuck up here in the “…top left-hand corner of the country…” and we’re counting on their last sentence ringing true. The only inaccurate parts of the capsule are that Quinton Willms is a freshman (although he plays like a senior) and Matt Tiscornia is still out with an ankle injury suffered in the NCRC qualifying tournament, October 20th.
What we do know is that the Western boys are going in to this thing prepared and focused. They feel like they can compete with anyone and they can. They play some really good teams, St. Marys is really good, Texas A&M are one of those “who knows?” teams since the Southwest Conference is not a rugby hotbed, as yet. And Bowling Green is a total mystery. But in the end the boys will do us proud.
Thanks to all who have supported the team this fall, the boys are really grateful and happy at the direction of the program. Thanks to the WWU Campus Rec group, Pete Lockhart and Clark, and to Linda Goodrich and everyone in the Athletic Department for all the help.
I’ll be there and I will be sending updates to the facebook page: WWU Mens Rugby Fanpage and of course I’ll be updating the website: www.wwurugby.org Hopefully we’ll have some video and pictures as well.