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Rivals Meet Again in SCRC Final

College Men

Rivals Meet Again in SCRC Final

It was 17-14 for Tennessee last time these two met. Ann Leatherwood photo.

It’s rematch time at the SCRC final, as South Carolina and Tennessee meet up during the ACRC Bowl Series.

These two teams faced off in the regular season, with Tennessee coming away 17-14 winners. It was a fair result in that it spelled out how close the teams are at the top of the conference. USC defeated Alabama in the semis last weekend 34-27, and that game was certainly as close.

Alabama also jumps into the ACRC Bowls, playing ECRC runner-up Boston College. 

But for Tennessee and South Carolina, the final is the reacquaintance of two longtime rivals, and while Tennessee may have enjoyed the upper hand in their last meeting, as the song goes, that was yesterday.

“It is always difficult to defeat a worthy foe twice in the matter of weeks, especially a rival like the Gamecocks,” warned Tennessee Head Coach Marty Bradley. “It hasn't been easy for our boys that's for sure.”  

Tennessee completed their last practice early this morning and will now prepare for the big game. Bradley knows it will be a difficult proposition.

“I am pretty sure USC didn't know what happened to them in Columbia, so this time they will be ready,” said Bradley. “Between the handling errors and yellow cards against both teams, it was very difficult to get anything going.  We were finally able to manufacture a try late and then hold on for the win. Not really sure what to expect this time but I know that both teams will be ready - albeit a bit of nerves to start it I'm sure.”

USC is coming off a difficult game with Alabama.

“Alabama is a very good team, physical ,structured and above all else tons of character and sportsmanship,” said South Carolina Head Coach Mark Morris. “Coach Seitz has done a great job over the past few years raising their level of play and instilling in his team all the good attributes that the game of rugby is known for.” 

Alabama kept the ball in the pack and smashed out two early tries. Alabama's forwards controlled the flow for much of the first half mixing pick-and-go’s and pod play. In the second half the Gamecock pack picked up the intensity and that gave their backs some space to work with. 

Captain Tim Hamill scored two tries and played strong defense while No. 8 Mike Mahon received forward of the match honors with a try and good running, but as much for his defense.

“Playing Tennessee again is good for us,” added Morris. “It puts us against the best competition. We know how they play and how to overcome it if we execute our game plan. I know our team is excited for a rematch. Now it comes down to who makes the least mistakes and brings their A game.”

Morris said he didn’t feel his team was unlucky last time, and felt that his own team’s mistakes, including dropped passes and too many penalties and yellow cards, hurt more than luck.

“Unlucky? No. We have many areas we can improve on and the team is playing smarter and practicing hard to correct their mistakes.”

USC faces Tennessee in the SCRC conference final on Saturday at 6:40pm ET. Check back with Goff Rugby Report for the live feed.

 

 

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