By Tom Crosby
Congratulations to University of Louisiana Lafayette Men’s Rugby and Coach LeJeune for making it to the USA Rugby South Collegiate Championship Finals against Furman University!!! After a Furman’s 7-5 lead through the first half and 12 – 5 lead into the second half, ULL pulled back to tie the match at 12 -12 with 15 minutes left. However, in the last 10 minutes Furman scored the match-winning try leaving the final score 19 – 12. Brian Stringer, USA Rugby South Collegiate Director said he was ” impressed by the behavior, good manners, and exemplary sportsmanship UL demonstrated both on and off the field.” Stringer also spoke highly of Coach LeJeune saying he must also “pay tribute to the huge contribution Coach Boyd LeJeune has made to the UL rugby program.” Needless to say, the Deep South is very proud of this team and their leadership.
Keith Knowlton scored two trys to lead the Furman men’s rugby team to a 19-12 victory over the University of Louisiana Lafayette in the Rugby South Division III Championship game Sunday.
With the win Furman (15-3-1 overall, 7-0-1 spring) advances the national National DIII Championship Tournament, which will be held April 26-27 in Hamilton, New York.
Hosted by the University of Alabama, Furman advanced to the tournament’s championship game with a 26-10 win Saturday over Elon University while ULL (6-1 spring) bested Lee College 23-18.
Knowlton, a senior center, helped the Paladins to an early 7-0 after a try and successful conversion by Blair Barton midway through the first half. ULL, champions of the Deep South Rugby Union, scored an unconverted try late in the half to cut the Paladins’ lead to 7-5.
Midway through the second half an unconverted try by freshman Monty Turner helped the Paladins to a 12-5 advantage. Five minutes later, the Ragin Cagins answered with a converted try to tie the contest.
With less than four minutes remaining Knowlton broke through several tackles and rushed 30 yards for a try that would put Furman ahead 19-12 after Barton’s successful conversion. During the game?s waning moments the Cajuns advanced deep in Furman territory before time ran out.
Zach Mullinax and Kyle Tenke scored two trys each in Furman’s Saturday victory over Elon, champions of the North Carolina Rugby Union.
Furman has collected five Rugby South Championships and three National Championships during the past six years. In 2007, the Paladins fell one point short in national finals with a 11-10 loss to Bentley
11am Plymouth State vs Hamilton College
1pm Widener vs Furman