Life – Collegiate Rugby Championship

Life

life
Founded in 1974, Life University is a health sciences institution most known for its chiropractic program, the largest in the world. With 12 undergraduate degrees and 4 Master‰’s degrees, each rooted in the philosophy of vitalistic health and wellness, Life University is at the forefront of the worldwide healthcare evolution. The 110-acre campus in suburban Atlanta contains state-of-the-art facilities, an idyllic setting, and convenient proximity to a top-ten metropolitan area. Life U Rugby was founded in 1980 and has since grown to include undergraduate men‰’s and women‰’s teams that compete in both 15s and 7s: The men‰’s 15s team won the D1A National Championship in 2013, and were runners-up in 2014 and 2015. The 7s team won the inaugural USA Rugby 7s National Championship in 2011, and have participated in the Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC) every year since 2012, and reached the finals in 2013. They have been semifinalists every year, and will look to make a return trip to the finals in 2016! The men‰’s program is coached by Scott Lawrence, a former US Eagle player and coach. The 7s team coach is Colton Cariaga, a former collegiate All-American and US Falcons player. The women‰’s 15s team, in it‰’s first season of competition finished 3rd in the spring championship in 2015. They currently play in the Women‰’s D1 Elite competition. The 7s team played its first-ever competition at the 2015 Collegiate Rugby Championship, winning the Challenge Cup. They are looking forward to the 2016 CRC! The women‰’s program is coached by Rosalind Chou, an elite-level player and coach with the Atlanta Harlequins. Life U has rugby-dedicated facilities, and has been the site of regional training camps for both the men‰’s and women‰’s US National Teams. Life U is also designated by USA Rugby as one of four regional Olympic Development Academies (ODAs).

Players to Watch
Life’s cupboard is chalked full, so picking out just a few players to watch is difficult. Cody Melphy is a very skilled player who typically plays in the centers in 15s. He’s fast, strong, smart and has the ability to read defenses to pick out holes. All of the same can be said for Harley Davidson, who runs with aggression and has an insatiable work rate. Both are capable of making something from nothing. Mitch Wilson provides a lot of speed on the wing, and he has great ball skills, too. The brothers Van Schalkwyk are CRC veterans, having played in the high school division with the Charlotte Tigers years ago. Both are well-rounded playmakers. And Sam Cowley has to be mentioned. He is an abrasive runner and defender who shines in the contact area.

The Scoop
The Running Eagles might be the most talented team in the tournament, with dynamic, game-breaking runners all over the field. The one knock is size. Overall, the Running Eagles aren’t exceptionally tall or long, which may hurt in the restarts and set pieces. But on the ground, Life is as good as anyone. The Running Eagles did bow out uncharacteristically early last year, falling to Arizona in the quarterfinals. But the previous four competitions they reached the semifinals, including a finals berth in 2013. Look for Life to get back to the final four this year.

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