Friday, May 02, 2008

Good luck to PSU, Navy and Shippensburg - and watch it all live!

This weekend 3 MARFU Collegiate women's programs vie for the #1 spot in the country at USA Rugby's Collegiate Championships.

AND YOU CAN WATCH IT ALL LIVE (times are pacific - add 3 hours if you are on the east coast) ...

USA Rugby has partnered with the National Guard & ESPN to stream all the games live and do television broadcasts.

From ..

Friday, May 2
11:00 pm: Division I Women's Semi Final (Penn State vs. Brown) 1:00 pm: Division I Women's Semi Final (Stanford v Navy) 3:00 pm: Division I Men's Semi Final (Cal v Saint Mary's) 5:00 pm: Division I Men's Semi Final (BYU v CU - Boulder)

Saturday, May 3
11:00 pm: Division II Women's Championship - UM-Duluth vs.
1:00 pm: Division II Men's Championship - Radford vs. Utah Valley State 3:00 pm: Division I Women's Championship 5:00 pm: Division I Men's Championship

And don't forget, the 2008 USA Rugby's National Guard College Club Championships is also part of ESPNU's expanded coverage of USA Rugby. A tape delayed telecast of the USA Rugby National Guard Men's and Women's Division I College Championships will be aired on May 21 and 22, at 10 p.m. EST.

To access the live stream ...


Emily said...

That's pretty cool ESPNU is broadcasting!

Fick said...

Go Ship!

RuggerDucky said...

So I watched the Stanford-Penn championship today, and I was struck by the Penn players use of bridging (or sealing). My understanding of the legality of bridging is that it depends mostly on the ref--and on whether or not you are completely over the top of your own player.

The ref did his best, he tried to call most of the hands in and a couple of diving over, but never called on the bridging, even when the player was completely over the top of her own downed teammate.

Now I might be wrong, but coaching young players to bridge over like this seems like a very bad idea. While it might be nice to protect the ball as much as the refs will allow, being completely over the top with your hands on the ground and your head down with your neck exposed just creates a situation for some really nasty neck/head injuries to occur.

I mean, seriously, it's one thing if you're the first person to a ruck and you go in too hard and tip over onto your hands just as the opposition arrives--that's accidental, but the Penn rucks seemed to have at least one player (#7 flanker seemed to be the worst offender) bridging over every single tackle.

What's your take on this coach? Is teaching bridging good coaching or an invitation to injury?

Kudos to both teams, it was a well fought game, and Stanford squeezed out the winning try (was tied 10-10) in injury time.

A player said...

Ruggerducky, the players are practicing "sealing", which is a bit different from bridging. The players are taught to support themselves on the body of the tackled player. Once the ball is clearly won, it may be true that a few of the players hands may fall to the ground from time to time, but since this is having no effect on the play, a good ref will allow it to happen. You will never see a high level rugby game where this is not practiced. The technique is used by all professional teams, and when taught properly, is a safe and effective technique for players of every level.

As it just so happens, the flanker I believe you are referring to, Alison Wormon, is one of the more highly regarded back rowers in the women's game, especially so at the college level. She would have picked up this technique not only with her home club of penn state, but also with the various select-sides and age-grade national teams she has been a part of.

RuggerDucky said...

I'm certain the flanker is quite good, everyone on the Penn team certainly seemed to be (and of course, how many championship games in a row is this for them?)

I was watching the game quite closely, and I saw at least a dozen rucks in which the first player on the ball-carrying side appeared not to actually touch their own player, but to fully bridge over the top of them with their hands on the ground in front. And no, I don't mean players that might have come in too quickly and lost their balance. I mean I watched players come in, go over the top, and set themselves.

I guess my point is that to me it is one thing to teach players to seal off the ball by grasping their own player and getting low, but it is something different to teach them to go completely over the tackled player and leave their head and neck completely exposed at knee level or lower just as the opposition is coming into a ruck.

And yes, over the past dozen years I've been alternately penalized AND praised for bridging myself. (Hey, I never said I was a saintly rugger, I'm just rubbing my own prematurely aged and slightly crooked neck and bumpy head at this point and wondering if the technique is really worth teaching ;-)

Kudos to both teams again. The Penn women totally outplayed Stanford in the scrums (especially in the first half), although they could use some work on lineouts.

Alison Worman said...

just a couple of comments since I was personally called out for "diving over".

First off, I haven't watched the game yet, so these comments are all based on memory.

Playing the ref is part of rugby and part of what makes rugby great. Had the ref started to call "diving over" penalties, I would have stopped sealing and would have began to ruck out. However, the rucks were a mess with both teams fighting for possession at the breakdown. I felt, at the time, in the heat of the game, that sealing was the best way to secure the ball.

That being said, I've played a lot of 7's over the last year where sealing is a common practice. This is probably where the habit came from.

One last thing, when talking about Penn State, use State or Penn State as the abbreviation, Penn is the ivy league school in philly, not the Farmers college in State College :).

Thanks for watching the game!
-Alison Worman

RuggerDucky said...

Alison, you did have a great game, and I do give you big kudos for playing the game the ref allowed. It was mostly that I was just cringing every time I saw your head down over on the other side of the ruck. Again, it is certainly something I've been guilty of a few (hundred) times myself, and I'd certainly play the ref exactly as you did. Watch your head and neck though!

Oh, and you had some really nice tackles. I could hear one of them all the way in the first row of the stands. :-)

And my apologies for the Penn/Penn State error. I promise it will never happen again, and thanks for letting a PNW idiot in on the difference. ;-)

Oh, and I think the game will be broadcast on the 21st and 22nd of May.