Rugby_Recap_Nathan_Xu

Led by junior and club President Nathan Xu, Penn men's rugby is in the midst of a stellar spring season, headlined by two City Six tournament championships.

Credit: Cole Jacobson

The end of the school year at Penn is not the end of college sports in the Philadelphia area.

The Collegiate Rugby Championship was held last weekend from Friday to Sunday at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania. While Penn did not compete in the tournament, Lindenwood University in Missouri was victorious on both the men’s and women’s sides. This is the first time ever that the same school has won both divisions of the championships.

This year’s event was the ninth edition of the tournament, the last eight of which have been contested in the Philly area. The championship was contested in the rugby sevens format, with six pools of four teams each on the men’s side and four pools of four teams each on the women’s side.

In the men’s division, Lindenwood defeated UCLA by a score of 24-7 in the final round, taking an early 7-0 lead and never looking back. Life University and Arizona lost in the semifinals while UC Berkeley, which was the five-time defending champion of the tournament, did not compete in this year’s edition.

On the women’s side, Lindenwood defeated Penn State 21-12 in the finals. Similar to the men’s team, Lindenwood got out to an early 7-0 lead and stretched it to 21-7 later on for a comfortable win. The victory gave the team a bit of redemption, as it had lost in each of the previous three finals, including in 2015 to Penn State.

Additionally, the men’s MVP award for the championship was renamed this year after Mark Dombroski, a rugby player from St. Joe’s who passed away in March while in Bermuda with his team for a tournament. United World Sports, which runs the Collegiate Rugby Championship, made this decision in order to honor Dombroski’s life and memory.

The tournament is not leaving the Philadelphia area anytime soon. The great amount of support for the championship from fans in the area combined with a sponsorship from Penn Mutual Life Insurance means that there will likely be big-time rugby near the city for the long haul.

So for those starving for Philly college sports in the summer, the Collegiate Rugby Championship provides a long-term fix.

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