The snow may have had to have been shoveled off the field after an early May snowstorm, but the Simpson College rugby team turned out to be hot as they hosted – and won – the Central Regional Championship. The victory earns them one of eight spots in the inaugural NSCRO Small College Rugby 7s National Championship held on June 1-2, 2013 in Philadelphia.
The achievement is even sweeter since this is the very first year Simpson has fielded a rugby team since the 90’s. “I have been very pleasantly surprised and pleased with our numbers and the quality of our players,” said head coach Jake Norlin.
The teams participating in this tournament are Grove City College (PA), New England College (NH), University of North Florida, Occidental College (CA), Roger Williams University (RI), Simpson College (IA), Susquehanna University (PA), and Western New England University (MA).
Simpson team will travel to Drexel University for the first round of the pool play tournament. The eight teams will be split into pools of four where each team plays each other once. From there, the top two teams in each pool will advance to a semi-final and final bracket to be played in PPL Park – the Major League Soccer stadium and home to the Philadelphia Union – on Sunday.
“There is a good chance the final will be broadcast nationally on NBC,” Norlin said. “That’s what we’re shooting for!”
Each game consists of two, seven-minute halves with very little downtime in each game. “There is a lot of sprinting involved. It’s very intense and almost non-stop,” Norlin explains.
Tickets are now available for the two-day event and can be purchased here.
The NSCRO Small College Rugby 7s National Championship is being held in conjunction with USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championship, featuring team such as UCLA, Notre Dame, Army, and the University of Texas.
“The team is very excited for this opportunity,” Norlin explains. “Only one of our players had ever played rugby before joining the team but everyone is playing well together and we’re winning which is a great feeling heading into the national tournament.”