PSU Penn State – Collegiate Rugby Championship

PSU Penn State

Founded in 1962, Penn State Rugby is one of the most successful collegiate rugby programs in the United States, consistently fielding teams that compete for the National Championship. Founded in 1962, Penn State Rugby is one of the most successful collegiate rugby programs in the United States, consistently fielding teams that compete for the National Championship. The Penn State Rugby program is classified by the University as a Team Sport rather than a Club Sport as is found with most collegiate rugby programs, and as such is part of Penn State’s Intercollegiate Athletics Department. Penn State Men’s Rugby has some of the nation’s top coaching and administrative staff and also provides athletes with varsity health insurance, athletic training, varsity strength and conditioning coaching, direct medical referrals to PSU team doctors, treatment, rehabilitation and more. Penn State Rugby is an organization that combines a highly successful team, a dedicated University and an alumni network that is over 1600 members strong, into one singular program devoted to being a flagship in U.S. collegiate rugby. A participant since its inception, this is the sixth trip to the CRC’s for the Penn State 7’s program which has shown significant improvement each year they return to the tournament. With high performance preparation and year round 7’s training as a part of PSU’s overall training matrix, the team is poised to build on their performance at last year’s CRC. Lead by a new Head Coach in Blake Burdette and several key returning players, including captains Brian McKellra and Mike Eife, the Nittany Lions are hopeful that the 2016 CRC’s will be a memorable one.

Head Coach: James Willocks
Assistant Coach: Joe Pullara
Athletic Trainer: James Wilkes

Players to Watch
Malcolm may is a big unit. He’s physical, athletic, and has a high work rate. He is a physical mismatch for most, and he’ll often soak up multiple opponents in contact. He will be a vital piece of the puzzle for the Nittany Lions. Selby Niumataiwalu is a heady player with a smooth running style and distribution skills. His brother is a freshman player to watch for St. Joe’s, where his dad is assistant coach. Jack Mclean is good in the air, and he’ll add physicality on both sides of the ball. Mike Dabulas is the playmaker with fancy footwork and the leg to kick for points. Mike Eife is an explosive, quick, physical runner who will be needed to break the defensive line.

The Scoop
Penn State is the home team, really, as the largest institution in the state of Pennsylvania. The Nittany Lions always have a good fan showing, but the results on the field have been inconsistent. In seven years, four times they’ve reached the quarterfinals, and three times their title hopes ended in pool play. If the trend of making the top-eight every other year were to continue, Penn State would be due to not reach the quarterfinals this year. However, a new coach is at the helm in James Willocks, and he comes from a Dartmouth program which has been very successful at the CRC. He’s inherited a talented team which narrowly lost to runners-up UCLA in 2016, and there’s reason to hope he’ll get the Nittany Lions over the hump and into the semifinals this year.

No matches