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Bonnies hold off Indiana to advance to semis of National Collegiate Rugby Tournament ​

Nov 19, 2022

The Bonnies survived to fight another day and are one step closer to repeating as national champions.

In a tale of two halves dictated largely by a strong wind, St. Bonaventure (7-2) held on to defeat Big 10 champion Indiana, 29-24, Saturday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the National Collegiate Rugby Division 1 tournament.

The Bonnies advance to play Brown (10-0) at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3., at Penn State-Berks in Reading, Pa. Brown defeated Wheeling, 27-7, Saturday afternoon.

SBU jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead just 7 minutes into the game on a Keelin Coyle penalty kick from near midfield, and followed it up with tries from Lukas Otineru, Carson Cross and Ricky Rose and two Coyle conversions to take a 22-0 lead less than 30 minutes into the game.

But Indiana (7-2) cut it to 22-7 late in the half and then took advantage of the wind at its back and some untimely SBU penalties in the second half to twice cut it to a one-score game: 22-17 and 29-24.

The difference turned out to be a try from Juan Pen, the only score of the second half from the Bonnies. Then it was a matter of holding on.

With Indiana having cut the lead to 5 and pressing toward the try zone with less than a minute left, Coyle recovered a Hoosiers fumble and the Bonnies kicked the ball out of bounds to draw the game-ending whistle from the referee.

“Getting out to the big lead kind of kind of saved us at the end,” said Tui Osborne, Bonnies’ head coach. “The first half we had the good side of the wind, which they took advantage of in the second half. Plus, we made a few errors and took some penalties that allowed the momentum to shift.”

In the end, though, Osborne was “just happy to squeeze out a win” and move on in the tournament.

“It’ll be nice to have the Thanksgiving break to rest and allow some of our guys to heal up,” Osborne said. “Brown has had a great season and will be a challenge.”


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.