Arkansas State win USA Collegiate Sevens Championships

Arkansas State win USA Collegiate Sevens Championships

While the majority of ASU fans were fixated on the ASU football championship Saturday, the Arkansas State Red Wolves Men’s Rugby Club won the USA Rugby College 7s National Championship Saturday at Penberthy Sports Complex in College Station, Texas. Beating Life University, its long time rival, 21-7, the Red Wolves finished with a perfect run of 6-0 through the weekend. The victory over Life for the national title would be the first national title ASU has seen since 1970. In a press release ASU’s interim head coach Alex Houser said, “Our players could not be happier after winning today, the guys did a great job. They never let up and really controlled the game late.”

While the majority of ASU fans were fixated on the ASU football championship Saturday, the Arkansas State Red Wolves Men’s Rugby Club won the USA Rugby College 7s National Championship Saturday at Penberthy Sports Complex in College Station, Texas.

Beating Life University, its long time rival, 21-7, the Red Wolves finished with a perfect run of 6-0 through the weekend.

The victory over Life for the national title would be the first national title ASU has seen since 1970. In a press release ASU’s interim head coach Alex Houser said, “Our players could not be happier after winning today, the guys did a great job. They never let up and really controlled the game late.”

Dylan Carrion opened the match with a try after a penalty called against Life, giving Carrion the opportunity to sneak past defenders for the try. ASU you would start with a 7-0 lead with a conversion by Zinzan Elan-Puttick.

Life had several chances of scoring, while both teams traded turnovers for several minutes. Life would finally get some points on the board when ASU’s Steyn Benade was penalized for crushing Life’s Joe Cowley off the ball.

After Benade’s penalty, Life retained possession putting the score at 7-7 with a conversion from Joe Cowley. The tied score broke just before half as senior Zac Mizell found senior Shaun Potgieter took the ball in for the try. Elan-Puttick would get the conversion giving the Red Wolves a 14-7 lead over life.

During the second half, Life’s defense pumped up the intensity forcing the Red Wolves into their own territory, but Life’s penalties allowed the Red Wolves to take control as the pack forced pressure on defense.

“I was really impressed with our defense this weekend, and Life, they have done that to us the last few times we’ve played them in the 7s games. I just kind of wanted to put pressure on them and force them into some uncharacteristic errors,” Houser said.

ASU would take the game with a try from Elan-Puttick as he took a broken play into what would work in the Red Wolves favor.

“We were going to bounce it back to the forwards, because they were already out there, but Zac Mizell was being double teamed and Dylan gave me the ball and I just went with it because we were kind of under pressure,” Elan-Puttick said.

Sending the ball wide, Elan-Puttick penetrated a hole and cutting past Life defenders getting to the post giving the Red Wolves the 21-7 lead over Life.

The championship marks the first time Arkansas State has ever beaten Life in 7s. Life is the only team to ever beat ASU in 7s. Life upset ASU in the 2011 and 2012 South Independent Rugby Conference Championship and the 2011 National Semifinals.

Mizell was named Most Valuable Player of the Tournament, while Potgieter, Elan-Puttick and Dean Gericke were all selected as All-Tournament Team Members.

“I could not be more proud of this group, Zac, Shaun, Dean and Zinzan are all deserving of the awards they have received, but it was a total team effort. Everyone has worked very hard and their efforts have paid off,” Houser said.