For interest – 3 years ago Florida as part of the south decided as a body to invest heavily in collegiate rugby. A 3 year plan ( stay in D 1 , consolidate , win) was perfectly executed by a dedicated team of coaches and players, fantastic. We are no longer a joke.
GLENDALE, Colo. – The South proved once again that it is a territorial union to keep an eye on as it took home its first USA Rugby Men’s Collegiate National All-Star Championships on Saturday at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo.
“We have some great athletes in the South,” Coach Vince Atkinson said. “And we’ve got some very strong coaches, which means that when the players come into the program they are already fit and rugby savvy. These guys were really able to bond during their time together and that’s what kept them in the game at the very end. They were hungry to win for each other.”
Although the South scored first, the Pacific Coast kept it close until the very end as Marcus Henderson ran half the field to touch down a try in the corner. That unconverted try brought the Pacific to within one at the 54th minute, but both teams remained scoreless for the rest of the match, and the South held on to win this defensive battle, 14-13.
In the Tier 2 Championship, the Midwest won against the Mid-Atlantic in the opposite manner, coming away with the 42-24 victory. At one point, the Midwest led their opponents by 25 points, but the Mid-Atlantic Rugby Football Union were able to finish with a converted try to narrow the margin of victory and ease the sting of defeat just a bit.
The Midwest’s offensive effort was led by prop Dave Knab, who scored two tries, and the flyalf, Nick Viviani, who converted five of the six tries and hit a penalty to kick off the scoring.
The Midwest will move up to Tier 1 for next year’s Championship event, while the West will be demoted to Tier 2 following their 29-20 loss to Southern Cal.
For a match that had five lead changes, the final 15 minutes of that Tier 1 Consolation were a bit anti-climatic, as Southern Cal ran in two tries and squashed the West’s hopes of redeeming themselves from last year’s final, which saw Southern Cal beat the West to secure the Championship title.
The USA Under-20s showed a much improved performance from Thursday to Saturday, as it raced to a 29 point lead in the first half against the Northeast. The Northeast was able to mount a bit of a comeback in the final 30 minutes, but the U-20s were just too far out of reach by that point and the USA U-20s program was able to take home the victory with a 51-24 scoreline.
“They played much, much better today than they did just a couple days ago,” USA U-20s coach Ray Lehner said. “We only had four practices before the first game, and it’s pretty typical of age-grade rugby to see a steep learning curve. I’m very excited to see them exceed my expectations, though, and we will keep doing a lot of the same when it comes to preparing for the final match of our U-20s assembly, which is on Friday.”
Not only did competing in this territorial all-star event help in preparation of the USA Under-20s, but it also allows the USA Rugby Men’s Collegiate All-American selectors a chance to view the best the nation has to offer in way of collegiate players across the nation.
Teams compete for pride, but also for a chance to showcase the talent of their territories’ athletes. The Collegiate All-American selectors will have a list of those receiving the honor in the next few days, while the USA Under-20s will face the University of Wales Institute (Cardiff) on June 18 at the Colorado School of Mines.
For more information on the USA Rugby Men’s Collegiate National All-Star Championships, please visit www.usarugby.org/goto/championships or contact Sara Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2010 Men’s All-Star Championships
Day 1 Results
MARFU 22, USA U-20 13
Midwest 61, Northeast 20
Pacific Coast 47, West 29
South 57, SoCal 20
Day 2 Results
USA U20 51, Northeast 24
Southern Cal 29, West 20
Midwest 42, MARFU 24
South 14, Pacific Coast 13