South Carolina defeated Queens University Charlotte, a top-tier Division 1 varsity program, 19-17 to win the Gamecock 7s Invitational Tournament Saturday.
Three months ago, Queens advanced to the National Collegiate Rugby 15s D1 finals and finished the season ranked 10 by Goff Rugby Report. The victory avenged a 24-7 loss to Queens February 25 at Southern Virginia University and gives the Gamecocks momentum as they prepare for the Southeastern Rugby Conference 7s Championship Tournament in Tuscaloosa, Alabama April 1-2.
The Gamecocks dispatched UNC-Wilmington (19-0) and Furman (40-0) before facing a talented University of Georgia squad. The Bulldogs, who logged lopsided victories over Alabama (17-0) and Western Carolina (33-0) tested USC early by taking a 7-5 lead. The Gamecocks put together a string of trys in the second half to put away the Bulldogs 19-7.
Less than 90 minutes later the Gamecocks defeated Georgia in the tournament’s semifinals 12-7 setting up a match-up against Queens, who defeated Lander 36-5 in the other semifinal.
The finals was a back-and-forth affair with each team trading trys. Two Gamecock trys came under the post, which made for easy conversions. While the Gamecocks conceded three tries, USC forced Queens to ground the ball on the fringes of the try zone, which forced difficult conversions and proved the difference.
“On the whole we played very good defense against a very athletic Queens team,” said USC coach John Roberts. “And we showed a lot of grit and speed by chasing down several Queens players after long runs. Our off-loading continued to improve throughout the tournament.”
Clemson, playing without several starters due to spring break, defeated UNC-Wilmington 26-7 in the Bowl Championship. All scores are posted here.
The USC-B-side played well at times but finished 0-3 as the squad was placed in the tournament’s most competitive pool which included, Queens, Lander (a varsity program), and Clemson.
The B-side will face more equitable competition this weekend when they travel to participate in a 7s Tournament at Furman against a field that includes Furman, Western Carolina and Appalachian State.
To date, USC-Aside has compiled a 13-3 7s record.
Photos by Jesse Copeland