BOZEMAN — It’s becoming a theme for Montana State rugby: another season, another bid into the national tournament. The Bobcats received a bid into the USA Rugby College 7s Division II National Championship in Tucson, Ariz. kicking off on Friday.
Only 12 teams get a spot in the national tournament and MSU is no stranger to the big stage. In the fall of 2018, the Bobcats made it to the National 15s tournament, losing to No. 1 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the opening round. They then trounced No. 9 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 87-6 to finish the season ranked eighth in the country.
They also went to the national tournament in 7s in 2018, defeating St. Louis in the first round before falling to William Paterson University in the next round.
Needless to say, this team has experience, and senior Austin Llewellyn, who has been to four national tournaments with Montana State, believes he and his team can make some noise in Tucson.
“Last spring was our first 7s nationals and we went there and we weren’t fully aware of the level of competitiveness that it takes to make it to the top four, to be No. 1 in the country,” said Llewellyn. “Last year we saw that and we took that towards our practicing and our speed training this year, and we put in the effort and the hours and I think that we’re there. The teams that we saw that were at that level last year, I think we have what they have and I’m pretty excited to see what we got when we get down to Tucson.”
Montana State will begin pool play on Friday as it will square off against East Carolina, Norwhich and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.