St. Bonaventure's men's rugby team destroyed Rutgers, 67-11, Saturday at McGraw-Jennings Field to clinch the Empire Rugby Conference's automatic berth in the 16-team Division I-AA national rugby tournament in April.
Chuck Meagher (3), Alex Brussard (2), Jordan Farrant (2) and John Sullivan (2) all scored more than once to lead the Bonnies, who finished the regular season 7-2-1. Senior Kevin McCorry, the conference's third-leading scorer, was 6 for 11 on kick conversions.
The Bonnies needed to win and score at least four tries to earn a bonus point to clinch the spot in the playoffs. The scoring drama was over by halftime, when the Bonnies took a 29-8 lead en route to the big win.
"It was a great team effort all around. We didn't let the moment phase us, we kept our composure and made sure there weren't any questions about the outcome," said coach Clarence Picard. "The entire coaching staff is really proud of the team, from the seniors with their great leadership, to the younger guys stepping into key roles. We're looking forward to representing St. Bonaventure on the national level."
The Bonnies tied Brockport for second place with 38 points, but claimed the national tourney berth because of their 29-19 win over Brockport in September.
Army (8-0-2) clinched the regular-season Empire title, but isn’t eligible for the Division I-AA playoffs since it also has a team in Division I-A, which competes in the spring. The Bonnies tied Army, 15-15, and would have won the league title outright had they beaten the Cadets.
The Bonnies won five state rugby titles while a member of the Division II New York State Rugby Conference: 1993, 1998, 2004, 2007 and 2008. Last year, the Bonnies won the Empire Conference’s west division before falling to Stony Brook in the league finals.