lake and beyond
University Hosts Rugby National Championships This Weekend
The Furman University men’s rugby team will have a rare opportunity this weekend. The Paladins will be competing for a USA Rugby National Championship on a home field named in honor of their longtime coach.
USA Rugby, the organizing body for rugby in the nation, announced earlier this fall that Furman would host the USA Rugby Men’s Division II National Championships, the Women’s DI, DII, and Men’s DIAA Fall Championships Dec. 3-4.
Furman, a DII team, has hosted the event for the past three years. But this is the first time the team has been a participant.
The Paladins, 12-0 and champions of the Southern Rugby Conference, are ranked third in nationals polls. The program moved up to DII after capturing DIII national championships in 2003, 2004, 2005 and finishing runner up in 2007 and 2008. The team was founded and is coached by John Roberts. Over 18 years, Roberts has compiled a record of 187-60-2.
In all, 12 college and university teams will participate over two days, culminating with four champions being crowned Sunday. Games will be held at Roberts Field, which is located adjacent to Paladin Stadium and Stone Soccer Field.
Joining the DII men’s field with Furman will be defending champions Minnesota-Duluth, Wisconsin-Whitewater and Norwich. The Paladins qualified for the final four by running past Sacred Heart 68-31 and N.C. State 41-19 to win the USA Rugby South Regional Nov. 19-20.
The Paladins have been rarely tested this season, winning by an average of 55 points. Most of the points that have come against Furman have occurred late in games when the outcome has been secured.
The team should be more than pushed Saturday when the Paladins face three-time defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth. The winner of that contest will advance to face the winner of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater-Norwich game in the DII national championship game at 1 p.m., Sunday in the soccer stadium.
All games with the exception of the consolation games on Sunday will be broadcast live on the The Rugby Channel. Here is the complete schedule of games:
Saturday (all games played at Roberts Field) Admission: $5
9:00 AM – Men’s DII Semifinal: Norwich v UW Whitewater
11:00 AM – Men’s DII Semifinal: UM Duluth v Furman
1:00 PM – Women’s DII Semifinal: Davenport v Vassar
3:00 PM – Women’s DII Semifinal: Coast Guard v Winona State
Sunday (all Championships games played at Stone Soccer Stadium) Admission: $10
9:00 AM – Men’s DII Consolation
9:00 AM – Men’s DIAA Fall Championship: Bowling Green v Notre Dame College
11:00 AM – Women’s DII Consolation
11:00 AM – Women’s DI Fall Championship: Air Force v UConn
1:00 PM – Men’s DII National Championship
3:00 PM – Women’s DII Fall Championship