College rugby tournament in Chester a prelude to sport’s return to Olympics in Rio

    Collegiate rugby teams from across the United States travelled to the Talen Energy Stadium in Chester this weekend for the Penn Mutual National Championship tournament.

    Inside the stadium and in adjacent fields, teams of men and women faced off in front of thousands of enthusiastic fans of the sport.

    As the 2016 Summer Olympic Games approach, the event served as a spotlight for the sport, which is making it’s return to the games in Rio De Janeiro after a 92-year hiatus.

    Launched in 2010, The Penn Mutual championship has been part of a nationwide effort to build talent and grow interest in rugby as the sport gains popularity in the U.S. and abroad.

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    Ten alumni of Saint Joe’s Prep high school rugby program faced off against each other, playing for University of South Carolina, Penn State University, Saint Joe’s University, Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, Mt. Saint Mary’s, and Temple University.

    In one of the more exciting matches Saturday, the Temple Owls scored 19 unanswered points in a comeback against the Clemson University Tigers. Down 12 points after the first half, the Owl’s rallied while the hometown crowd, wearing cherry and white, cheered them on.

    University of California is the defending three-time champion of the tournament in which the winner takes home the Pete Dawkins trophy. The award is named after the Heisman Trophy winner from West Point’s football team who went on to become a Rhodes Scholar and excelled on the rugby field while attending Oxford University.

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