Northwest RCT Produces Enthralling Matches All Weekend Long

Parity and tight finishes highlighted a great weekend of youth rugby in Boise.

Boise, ID- A new location and new champions, were the stories of the weekend at this year's Northwest Challenge  RCT. Across four divisions there were four different winners, highlighting the strength and parity that lies within youth rugby in the Northwest.

In the Boys Tier 1 division it was Evolution, a side made up of youth talent predominantly from Idaho and Utah, that claimed the title. In pool play they weren't challenged going through their two opponents with ease, scoring a cumulative total of 111 points, while only conceding 7 points. Things got a lot tougher for them in the semifinal though where they had to fight for the full game before eventually prevailing over a strong Northern California side, 12-7. Their opponent in the final would be determined by the winner of the Washington Loggers and EIRA. It was a close game that required extra time to eventually find a winner, and in the end it was the Loggers that prevailed. It was another tight fixture in the final, the difference coming down to missed kicks. Evolution winning the final, 17-15.

Girl's Tier 1 told a similar story, but this time it was the team from Utah that finished on top. The Utah Cannibals made it through a tough pool in impressive fashion scoring just under forty points a game, while remaining stingy in defense. In the semifinals they faced a stubborn Rugby Northern California team, but were able to overpower them 39-10. Their opponent in the final would be the Oregon Redhawks who were looking fierce, having scored 110 points in their pool games and had shut out TOA in the semis. While it was a hard-fought game, Utah ultimately came out on top 29-10.

Another division, and another team claiming victory. This time it was TOA taking out the Boys Tier 2. In a three-pool competition, the winners of each pool automatically qualified for the semifinal, and the last spot went to the 2nd placed team that performed the best. From Pool A EIRA advanced, Pool B saw TOA win, Pool C's champion was Bay Area and the best of the rest was Rhino Rugby from Pool B. The semifinal results set up an all Pool B affair in the championship, as Rhino had a chance at redemption against TOA. Rhino was unable to reverse the result in the championship and fell for the second time in as many days to the squad out of Idaho.

The Oregon Red Hawks were crowned victors of the girls' Tier 2 competition. They had to overcome a tough TOA side twice to claim the title. Oregon advanced through to the final on the back of comprehensive displays in their pool fixtures. In their two games, the girls from the Beaver State amassed a devastating 112 points for while only conceding 24 points. When they drew TOA in the final, anyone could have been excused for thinking it would be another whitewash but the underdogs fought all the way until the final whistle, but ultimately weren't quite strong enough, falling, 22-12.