The Cal Poly Rugby 7s squad put on the green and gold for the first time this season at the 2012 Tri Tip Rugby 7s Tournament in San Luis Obispo last Saturday. The Mustangs entered two teams, plus a Barbarians team made up of Cal Poly & SLO Men’s players in the 32 team Rugby 7s tournament. Tournament organizers say this is the biggest turn out in the Tri Tip 7s 27 year history.
The setting could nothave been any better at the Damon Garcia Sports Fields. The sun was shining, temperatures were in mid 70s with a cool breeze coming across the ground late in the day. Cal Poly 1 went 3-0 through the pools and qualified for the Cup playoffs with wins against the Chico Beer Cats, a tough SLO Men’s A side and Paso Robles. Cal Poly 2 had a tougher road in pool play and went through with one win against the Las Vegas Irish and losses against the Gazelles from Los Angeles and the Seahawks from the Bay Area. The Barbarians team also qualified for the Cup playoffs because of a favorable points differential in their pool.
In the Cup quarterfinals Cal Poly 1 took on a big Belmont Shore side and came away with a solid 27-17 win. The Barbarians played out a tighter quarterfinal beating a very shifty Eagle Rock team 28-25.
The semifinals turned out to be a SoCal showdown between the best of SLO and the best of LA. Cal Poly 1 drew the very experienced Los Angeles Rugby Club (LARC) and the Barbarians lined up against the Gazelles. LARC came out flying against the Mustangs and took a two try lead at half time. Both sides scored early in the second half before Cal Poly staged a fight back in the dying minutes of the match but unfortunately a try on the bell wasn’t enough for the Mustangs to tie the game up and they went down 22-20. The Barbarians had an easier semifinal, dispatching a tiring Gazelles side six tries to two.
With the live band pumping and beer garden overflowing, the Rugby 7s stage was set for an entertaining final. Representing Cal Poly in the Barbarians team for the final were Seniors Kurt Drinkwater and Pat McCreesh, recent alumni Joe Saldana and Eddie Varea, and Cal Poly coach Dave Burnett. The final didn’t disappoint in terms of tries scored. The Barbarians ran in six tries to one against the LARC, much to the delight of the home crowd.
“Tri Tips was a great way to kick off the Rugby 7s season. Its all about getting out on the field with your teammates and having some fun in the sun” said Cal Poly senior Jake Gersh. “Cal Poly has a lot of depth in the 7s squad this year so I’m excited to see what we can accomplish with a bit of hard work in the coming months.”
It’s a mouth watering Rugby 7s schedule for the Californian colleges this fall. Cal Poly officially starts their season on October 6th at the West Coast Rugby 7s Invitational here in San Luis Obispo against the likes of UCLA, St Mary’s and Cal. The next week the same teams plus an inbound BYU side will compete at the Stanford 7s. All this before the Californian Qualifier for the National Championships at Cal Poly on November 10th & 11th, and the National Championships themselves at Texas A&M on November 30th & December 1st.
If you would like to sponsor or assist Cal Poly in putting on the West Coast Rugby 7s or the National Championship Qualifier, please contact Coach Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org