The third edition of the Collegiate Rugby Championships kicks off this weekend in Chester, Pennsylvania. While the tournament may not feature all of the best teams from around the country, it does feature some of the more intriguing players for fans to watch. Here’s a look at some of the players to watch out for this weekend:
Madison Hughes (Dartmouth)- The talented winter is one of the up and coming players in American rugby. Only a freshman, Hughes was one of the best player in the DI-AA this last season. Prior to playing at Dartmouth, Hughes played for the U.S. in the JWRT last year and will do the same this year. How his 15’s prowess will translate to 7’s has yet to be seen, but being under the guidance of U.S.A. 7’s coach Alex Magleby can only help that transition.
Nate Brakeley (Dartmouth)- Hughes’s teammate, Brakeley is a strong player that could be the dominant forward at the tournament. The All-American is graduating this spring and will want to end his college career on a high note. What’s next for Brakeley? A call up to the U.S.A. Select XV this fall would not be out of the question.
Seamus Kelly (Cal)- It’s seems that Kelly has been around for years but he’s still just a junior. Because Cal has gone under the radar for much of the spring due to their departure from the DI-A, fans haven’t been as exposed to Kelly’s overall play this season as they probably should have been. He possessed the ability to take over a match and could named the tournament MVP when all is said and done.
Cam Dolan (Life)- Dolan is no stranger to 7’s having been previously with the U.S.A. 7s team. A flanker in the 15’s game, Dolan plays a similar style to that of Todd Clever in 7’s. Dolan is strong, fast, and savvy. If Life are to win the championship, much of that will have to do with how Dolan plays.
Joe Cowley (Life)- It says something about a player when they are leading the DI-A point scorer. Cowley can flat out score points, whether it’s a try or a conversion. Cowley will team up with Cornelius Dirksen (Hanno’s younger brother) to form a deadly backline for Life. Most important is Cowley’s kicking ability which single-handily has the power to win matches.
Peter Tiberio (Arizona)- Arguably the most accomplished player at the tournament, Tiberio has the power to dominate play. Last year Tiberio’s dominance eventually led to a 7’s residency contract. He’s still growing as a player and will look to use the tournament as another springboard.
Jimmy Kowalski (Delaware)- Every year it seems a player from a lesser-known school comes out and shows his skills. This year it could be Kowalski. Like the others, he is young but comes from a good rugby background and has the skills to compete.
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