Men’s rugby wins 7s championship for second year in a row
By Brett Drucker, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Thursday, June 7, 2012
The Dartmouth men’s rugby team successfully defended its title at the USA 7s Collegiate Rugby Championship over the weekend in Philadelphia in front of a nationally televised audience on NBC.
The Big Green controlled most of the action at PPL Park and cruised through the group stage on day one, beating the University of Delaware and the University of Maryland handily before closing the opening portion of the competition with a 28-0 shutout of the University of Florida. In those first three matches, Dartmouth tallied a plus-78 point differential and led all teams by surrendering just 12 points over that stretch.
After winning Group B, the Big Green advanced to the quarterfinals to face the University of Wisconsin. Kevin Clark ’14 scored a pair of first-half tries as Dartmouth jumped out to a 35-0 lead. The Big Green held on to advance with a 35-5 victory.
The semifinals brought arguably Dartmouth’s toughest opponent as the Big Green faced off against the University of California. Cal, a perennial powerhouse in men’s rugby, has won 19 of the last 21 15s titles and defeated Dartmouth in the final of the inaugural 7s tournament two years ago. The Golden Bears put Dartmouth in its only hole of the tournament, jumping out to a 12-7 lead at halftime. After a hard-fought second half, the Big Green cut the deficit, which had grown to 12 points, down to five before Clark found the goal line with 43 seconds remaining to tie the game. Co-captain Derek Fish ’12 hit the conversion to give Dartmouth a 21-19 victory and a return trip to the final.
After the triumphant come-from-behind victory, the Big Green took the field under three hours later to meet the University of Arizona for the title. Dartmouth jumped out to a quick start, building a 19-5 lead at the half. From there, Dartmouth continued to press, and a gritty try from co-captain Will Lehmann ’12 provided the final points of the tournament, as the Big Green held on to win, 24-5. Dartmouth was able to hold on to the match in the second half despite being down a man for two of the last three minutes.
Fish led the tournament with 60 points, scoring four tries and adding a tournament-high 20 conversions. Clark and Madison Hughes ’15 tied for sixth in the tournament with 30 points each. Hughes was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player for his efforts and was also named to RugbyMag.com’s All-Tournament Team along with Fish and Nate Brakeley ’12.
The team will now break for Summer term before returning in August to prepare for the fall 15s season.