Finishing 4-2 in the Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference's Eastern division wasn't a travesty for South Carolina, but it wasn't what the team wanted, either.
The Gamecocks are generally used to being one of the top teams in the SCRC and expect to make the playoffs. While South Carolina was on the outside looking in after losses to Tennessee and Kentucky last year, USC head coach Mark Morris thinks things will be different in 2017.
Morris points, in part, to the Gamecocks winning the bowl in the Collegiate Rugby Championships 7s tournament, which included victories over Tennessee, Delaware, Virginia Tech, and Clemson. South Carolina's loss to Indiana was close, and the only big defeat was the tournament opener against Kutztown. While 7s success doesn't always translate to 15s, there's enough of a similarity for Morris to point out that he has talent on his squad.
And he's getting more. A solid B side is sending players up to the A side for 2017, and Morris is very pleased with his recruiting. Specifically, Morris has gone for tight five players. His program's speed and pace is solid (as evidenced by the CRC performance), but the Gamecocks need to be tougher up front.
South Carolina has addressed that area of concern in its recruiting, including the additions of a 6-foot-5 second row, another prop/No. 8, and some more locks.
"We knew we needed some beef," Morris said.
Will that be enough? Well, you know what they say -- it's physics in the forwards and math in the backs... or it's that the forwards decide who wins and the backs decide by how much. Whatever they say, the numbers might add up a little better for South Carolina this fall.
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