Men’s rugby falls to Rowan College in national playoffs

Unsure about whether or not they would be granted an entry into the national tournament, the Norwich University men’s rugby team was enthused to hear that they would be competing against Rowan College on Saturday April 27 in their first round of nationals.

“We lost to Coast Guard at New England’s so we didn’t know if we would qualify, but we got the wild card,” said Patrick McGrath, 21, a senior biology major from Marshfield, Mass.

For the seniors on the team this was going to be their last chance in the tournament.

“This is a good way to go out,” McGrath said. He also states that he is proud to be out there with his nine other seniors, who have been playing together for the past four years.

“There’s a lot of motivation heading into this tournament, because it’s the last chance we’ll ever get at it,” he said.

“We deserved it,” said Seamus Page, 20, a sophomore political science major from Westford, Vt. “We are one of the better teams in the nation and we can go with the best teams in the country,” he said.

“McGrath and the rest of the seniors are animals and they’re going to be laying some big hits out there against Rowan,” said Joshua Kernan, 22, a senior history major from Waterbury, Vt.

“We’re going out to our last tournament ever so it’s time to go out and crack some heads and leave our legacy here on Norwich rugby,” McGrath said.

This was the first appearance in the USA Rugby National Tournament since 2003-04, but a win was not to be. On April 27, the team officially closed their season with a 37-20 loss to Rowan in the Sweet 16 playoffs on the Pittsburgh field.

“The kids really worked hard and battled the entire way under the circumstances and held their heads high,” said NU head coach Bob Weggler in an interview with Norwich Athletics. “It was anybody’s game until the 76th minute.”

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