GLENDALE, Colo. – The Norwich University men's rugby team will head back to the USA Rugby Division II College 7s National Championship for the second straight year in search of its first national title.
The Cadets finished ninth out of 12 teams last year and will be joined by seven other returning teams from the 2017 National Championship, including defending champions UW-Whitewater. The Warhawks are on a roll right now winning the last three USA Rugby Division II titles with the 2016 and 2017 15s titles and the 2017 7s title.
William Patterson, Hartford, UNC Charlotte, Principia, NC State and St. Louis join Norwich and UW-Whitewater as repeat finalists from last year's tournament. Old Dominion, North Texas, Bloomsburg and Montana State round out this year's championship field.
The Cadets have drawn University of Hartford, North Texas and Saint Louis as their three pool play opponents.
Norwich (14-4) will face North Texas at 3:40 p.m. Mountain Time (5:40 p.m. Eastern) on Friday to kick off the tournament. The Cadets will then face Saint Louis at 6 p.m. Mountain (8 p.m. Eastern) and then they wrap up the day facing Hartford at 8:20 p.m. Mountain (10:20 p.m. Eastern).
There are three pools of four teams each with the top two teams in each pool, as well as two wild card teams advancing to the eight-team Cup knockout round.
Norwich is in Pool C, while UNC Charlotte, North Carolina State, 2013 champion Principia and Montana State comprise Pool B. Pool A consists of UW-Whitewater, Bloomsburg, Old Dominion and William Patterson.
UW-Whitewater won the last two USA Rugby Division II 15s national championships in the fall. They also won the 7s title last May, becoming the second team in as many years to accomplish the feat after Minnesota Duluth did it in 2015-16.
The Warhawks beat Norwich in the 2016 15s semifinals en route to the title. The Cadets have finished third in the last two 15s national championships. NU lost a heartbreaker to VMI in the semifinals this past fall before rallying to beat North Dakota State in the third place game.
Norwich qualified for the USA Rugby Division II 7s National Championship for the second time in program history by winning the Rugby Northeast Conference 7s title on April 22 at Stonehill College. The Cadets have had a storybook run the last two seasons, going undefeated in conference play in both 15s and 7s matches the last two years.
You can watch live video of every match of the 2018 USA Rugby Division II Collegiate 7s on the www.therugbychannel.tv