Posted: Feb. 6, 2011
The Central Washington University men’s rugby club, which lost in sudden-death overtime in the title match in USA Rugby’s Sevens national championship tournament last December, returns to action this weekend at the prestigious Las Vegas Invitational (LVI) sevens tournament.
The 32-team Las Vegas field is split into two conferences, which are divided into four, four-team pools. Each squad will play its first two pool games on Thursday and its final pool game on Friday.
“We know the importance of playing well in pool matches,” said CWU head coach Tony Pacheco said. “We need to improve each match so that we peak in the final.”
Central will play Indiana University and Weber State University, on Thursday, and Yale University, on Friday.
“Yale was at the LVI last year but we don’t know much about Indiana or Weber State,” Pacheco acknowledged. “I know we’re considered heavy favorites to win our pool, but we’re not looking past pool play.”
The top two teams from each pool will advance to the quarterfinals on Friday. The semifinals and championship match are scheduled for Saturday at the 36,800-seat Sam Boyd Stadium.
“Our players are comfortable playing on big stages,” Pacheco added. “We’ve been there before and know what it takes to win. It’ll come down to our execution on the field. Hopefully we can stay healthy and win this tournament.”
The Wildcat squad features All-American candidates Tim Stanfill, Vancouver; Patrick Blair, Tacoma; and Andrew Nelson, Kent.
The winner in Las Vegas will be the only team that earns its way into the 16-team USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC). The Wildcats will be looking to punch their tickets for a return trip to the nationally televised event next June in Philadelphia. Central finished fourth at the 2011 CRC.