LUBBOCK, Texas -- The University of Oklahoma Men’s Rugby Club has taken a significant step forward as a program and towards the 2013 USA Rugby Emirates Airline College Sevens National Championship.
This past Saturday, the Allied Rugby Conference held the first of three events, all of which will culminate in an automatic bid to the Emirates Airline Collegiate Sevens National Championship in Greensboro, N.C. Pool play for the competition included the five members of the ARC: Texas A&M, Baylor, Oklahoma, Sam Houston State and Texas Tech, who entered two sides into the competition.
The opening rounds saw the more experienced squads pacing their opponents fairly handedly, with the Sooners of Norman and the host Red Raiders of Lubbock combining for a 6-0 record heading into their Finals showdown.
Texas Tech was forced to prove their worth just to reach the finals. Last year’s ARC Sevens Champions, Texas A&M, controlled their opponent for the majority of the match. However, A&M’s departure of all seven starters from last year’s team may have proved too much to overcome as Tech prevailed in the final minutes.
The Finals did not disappoint as both clubs showed they had plenty in the tank after a grueling Saturday in Lubbock. The Sooners, led by new head coach Jason Horowitz, found themselves trailing Tech 5-19 at the break. The deficit did little to deter Oklahoma as they quickly closed the gap with back-to-back unconverted tries.
A Red Raider penalty with no time remaining opened the door for Sooner prop Patrick Jones, who was named Player of the Tournament, to make the break of the day as he fended off multiple tackle attempts on his way to a 40-meter try and a 22-19 victory.
The ARC 7s Series will continue October 5 on the Texas A&M campus with former conference foe University of Texas added to the fray.