Blue Hens Relish Return to Sevens Championship Play
Delaware is back. After nearly two years of exile, the celebrated Blue Hens rugby program returned to active competition last summer and wasted no time reasserting itself on the college rugby scene, notching wins in regional 15s competition and scoring a major victory over Iona at the 2015 ACRC Bowl Series. The comeback effort earned them Men's College Club of the Year honors from Rugby Wrap Up.
Now into their first spring season since 2013, Delaware is fired up for the ACRC7s in Virginia Beach (April 29-May 1), the Kutztown Sevens in April, Subaru Sevens in May and return to the CRCs in early June. Last week, they finished a respectable fifth at the Las Vegas Sevens, defeating The Citadel, Harvard and Air Force.
Delaware Rugby Looks to the Future
Delaware sevens coach Biddy Boyle says the boys are in full rebuilding mode, led by two players from the "old regime"—seniors Chris Mattina and Joey Roberts. Mattina, who is team captain, and Roberts played for the likes of Atlantis, Wilmington RFC and other top-notch clubs during the time Delaware was not involved in rugby.
"The two years off hurts the program because you have to teach the new guys what to do," Boyle says. "But we’re going to do well. We’re going to pick off some of the better teams."
The Blue Hens have already proven this with their performance in Vegas. "Nobody expected us to beat Air Force," Boyle says.
Coupled with other tournament wins, including a 2nd place showing at the Millersville 7s (where they went 1-1 against Temple), the team has successfully put the college rugby world on notice.
Boyle says new Head Coach Struan Murray has been very supportive of his and Mattina's efforts with the sevens squad. Delaware is also playing 15s this spring including the D1-AA regional championships in Pittsburgh. The team will rejoin the D1-A Rugby East conference for Fall 2016.
"We should have a good season and I’m looking forward down the road to the next couple of years," Boyle says.
Note: This article originally stated that UD beat Colgate in Las Vegas. Colgate won the game 12-5. We apologize for the error.