The sunshine that persisted during the pool stages Saturday took its time to emerge at the Eastern Rockies Rugby Football Union’s (ERRFU) Rocky Mountain Challenge Sunday morning, but by the time the tournament’s U-17 Championship match between the Northern California Rugby Football Union and the Minnesota Rugby Football Union began, it had once again returned with full force.
Minnesota emerged from Saturday’s pool stage as the semifinal’s top seed having soundly defeated Texas and shutting out ERRFU (Colorado).
On Sunday, Minnesota easily dispatched fourth-seeded Wisconsin 33-12 to reach the final. Northern California also entered the Championship Semifinals with a record of 3-0 having dispatched number three seed Utah earlier in Sunday morning.
Defense was the story in a low-scoring first half that saw only Northern California reach the try line before the end first 27 minutes. The conversion against the wind fell short, and California took a 5-0 lead over Minnesota into the break.
|2010 Rocky Mountain Challenge|
|Under 17 - Sunday, June 20, 2010|
|Rocky Mountain Challenge U-17 Final|
|Northern California Rugby Football Union 30|
|Minnesota Rugby Football Union 0|
|Eastern Rockies Rugby Football Union (Colorado)|
|HOA -Heart of America Rugby Football Union|
|SFGG - San Francisco Golden Gate|
In the second half, Northern California maintained its stiff defense. California’s offense made the most of a steady breeze to score four unanswered tries (three converted) and a successful penalty conversion against a Minnesota defense that appeared to be withering in the heat. The result was a 30-0 shutout, and Northern California took home the 2010 Rocky Mountain Challenge U-17 Title.
In the U-17 division, nine select sides (equivalent to all state), representing their respective regional rugby unions from across the country, competed in three pools of three teams each (see story). The top four pool winners advanced to Sunday’s semifinals. The five teams not qualifying for the championship rounds moved into the consolation pool.
High school rugby, matches are typically played in two thirty minute halves with a ten-minute halftime. To accommodate rules limiting high school athletes to 90 minutes of play in a single day, tournaments where teams play two games each day, such as the Rocky Mountain Challenge, shorten halves to 27 minutes each.
About the Rocky Mountain Challenge
The Rocky Mountain Challenge is one of five regional tournaments in the United States where USA Rugby evaluates emerging players for its Elite High Performance Development System.
Selected players may have the opportunity to compete as part of the Under 20 and Under 18 USA National Teams.
Both teams will represent the United States in international competitions during 2010.