Iowa Central Claim 1st Ever DI-AA Title

Iowa Central Champions

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

On Sunday morning in sunny Charlotte, NC, Iowa Central Community College completed a journey five years in the making by defeating Western Michigan in the DIAA national championship, 36-21.

Iowa Central came out firing in the first half, racing out to a 20-0 lead by intermission. 

Although the first 10 minutes were a bit frantic, the Tritons ultimately got comfortable and found a rhythm. They did an excellent job of spacing the field and giving their decision makers multiple options on both sides. 

This allowed Iowa Central runners to consistently take the ball at pace and dominate the collision points against flat-footed or retreating Western Michigan players. 


Using their big, powerful carriers in the middle with great success opened things up for some of the electric playmakers out wide, like fullback Viance Vano, who had an absolute blinder. 

The distribution abilities of flyhalf Hugo Minaar and center Rhys Smith were also key in putting their receivers through gaps for line breaks. 

From a Western Michigan perspective, the first half was a very forgettable one. 

They just consistently shot themselves in the foot with knock-ons, poor lineouts, and a few missed penalty kicks for touch. They very well could have been in the game, but simple errors went punished by Iowa Central. 


The second half began with an immediate Triton penalty kick from Smith, but then Western Michigan started asserting its physicality more, and the momentum began to shift.

Iowa was unable to control the advantage line like they did before and soon Western Michigan settled down and started playing their own game. 

They dominated territory for the opening 15 minutes, but again blown lineouts and untimely knocks spoiled a number of scoring opportunities. 

Eventually though, the Broncos got a bit of magic from outside center Kyle Williams, who scooped up a loose ball, jetted around the corner and stiff-armed the last man, before outrunning everyone 50 meters for the score. 


With the conversion it was 23-7, and signs of life began to emerge. 

Almost immediately after Williams' long try, the center was at it again. Iowa Central had a scrum deep inside Bronco territory, but the Western Michigan pack fronted up and bulldozed the Triton scrum to win a penalty. 

They kicked the ball out for a lineout near midfield, and then ran a nice, simple hands move to get the ball out to the wing. The difference for the Bronco backline on that play was noticeable compared to the first half. 

Where as they tended to catch the ball stationary in the early part of the game, this time they all punched onto it at pace, and the winger was given time and space to operate when he got it. 

null

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

He beat his man up the touch line, before passing back inside to Williams in support. He then took the ball and full speed and again outran everyone 50 meters to the house. Now, with 20 minutes remaining it was suddenly 23-14. 

But Iowa Central showed excellent composure to stem the tide. Rather than attempting to play helter skelter rugby from their own end, they were poised and booted the ball deep into the Broncos half. 

The results were a pair of penalties won by the Tritons and a couple of opportunities for their goal-kicking ace Rhys Smith to step up and keep the scoreboard ticking over. 

He was successful on two kicks, and with ten minutes to play it was back to a 15 point game at 29-14. 

Western Michigan didn't give up though, and quickly responded with a gritty, forward-led try to close the gap to 29-21 with seven minutes to play. 

Unfortunately for the Broncos though, the ball never got back out of their own half. Eventually Iowa Central scored on the final play of the game to make the final 36-21, but the scoreline shouldn't overshadow the heart shown by Western Michigan to come back. 

But at the end of the day Iowa Central were just too clinical, too balanced, and too poised to relinquish the lead. 


Standouts from the game include Western Michigan's inspirational No. 8 Joseph Backe, center Kyle Williams, and fullback Willem Stanley. 

Iowa Central got quite a few excellent performances. Chief among them were prop Elijah Hayes, rampaging lock Tuia Tupuola, No. 8 Ulza Elberg, scrumhalf Pierre Wansbury, flyhalf Hugo Minaar, cool-headed center Rhys Smith, and dynamite fullback Viance Vano. 


It remains to be seen where Iowa Central will go moving forward, but it's clear that they've established themselves as one of the premier clubs around the country. 

Congratulations on both of these teams for their outstanding fall seasons, and don't be surprised to see these boys making noise in the spring 7s campaign. 

Autumn Nations Cup Stock Report

null

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

You could be forgiven for thinking that the Northern hemisphere teams decided to play another Six Nations tournament in 2020, and added Georgia, perhaps on a trial basis. But no! 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Top 15 Players Of Autumn Nations Cup

England

The Autumn Nations Cup wasn’t just a measuring stick for international teams, but also a proving ground for players looking to either break into the national team or reestablish their place in it. For the four British Isles, it was also an audition for Warren Gatland’s 2021 British & Irish Lions team which heads to South Africa next summer. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Top 5 Games From Autumn Nations Cup

null

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Now that it's over, it's all about the numbers.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Autumn Nations Cup Notebook: Fijian Flair Shows Up & Champions Crowned

England

If the first three rounds of the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup were labeled as slow, or too kick-heavy, the final weekend was anything but. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

England Prevails As Autumn Nations Cup Champs

Championship Replay: England vs France

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

It was supposed to be a cakewalk. It was supposed to be business as usual for Eddie Jones’ team in front of 2,000 spectators at Twickenham. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

How to Watch Autumn Nations Cup: Wales vs Italy

Wales vs Italy

Italy and Wales will face off for fifth place as they look to finish off their Autumn Nations Cup run with a win. 

How to Watch Autumn Nations Cup: Ireland vs Scotland

null

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Both teams had some decent showings in pool play. Ireland's lone loss came to championship contender England in the second round in a hard fought contest. They will look to finish out the Autumn Nations Cup on a good note with a win over Scotland.

How to Watch England vs France In Autumn Nations Cup Championship

null

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

England and France will be looking to stay flawless at the Autumn Nations Cup as they meet with the title on the on line. 

Autumn Nations Cup Notebook: Stage Is Set For Massive Title Bout

Georgia

Round 3 was highlighted most by the efforts of the Georgians, who pushed Ireland for 80 minutes in Dublin. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

England Looking To Stay Perfect Against Wales

null

Create a free account to unlock this video!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

England has been rolling. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In