Nov 16, 2023
After a landmark win over perennial power Army on Family Weekend in September, the season didn’t go quite as planned for St. Bonaventure’s men’s rugby team.
Although still ranked No. 3 in the latest National Collegiate Rugby Division I poll, the Bonnies (4-3) dropped three of their last four regular-season matches.
But Coach Tui Osborne is confident the team has the ability to turn their season around starting Saturday when they travel to Wheeling University for the quarterfinals of the Collegiate Rugby Championship Division I national playoffs. The game is at 1 p.m. and will be streamed here.
“We’re not fully healthy, but we’re as close as we’ve been in a while,” Osborne said. “Getting guys like Matthew Conroy, Ethan Doumbe and James Aitken back should really help us.”
The players realize the next loss ends their season, Osborne said.
“We’ve had a good mindset all week in practice. The guys understand that it’s play well or go home,” Osborne said. “We just have to do a better job in the green zone of finishing off our opportunities when we get the chance.”
Wheeling (5-2) dropped its first two matches of the season, but rebounded to win five in a row, including three in the Big Rivers Rugby Conference tournament. The Cardinals are ranked No. 7 in the latest NCR poll.
The Bonnies earned an at-large playoff berth as the runner-up to Notre Dame College in Rugby East. Notre Dame edged the Bonnies, 28-19, in the regular-season finale Nov. 4.
Saturday’s winner will advance to the national semifinals at Penn State-Berks in Reading, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 2. The national title game will be held the weekend of Dec. 8-10 in Houston. St. Bonaventure beat Penn State in Houston to win the 2021 national title.
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. Out of 167 regional universities in the North, St. Bonaventure was ranked #6 for value and #14 for innovation by U.S. News and World Report (2024).