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Edwards PK on final play vaults Bonaventure men into national rugby title game next weekend

Dec 02, 2023

With just three minutes left in a game they had led since the 1:40 mark of the first half, St. Bonaventure’s men’s rugby team fell behind. Their opportunity to avenge last fall’s 14-9 loss to Brown in the national semifinals appeared lost.

Raphael Lansonneur drilled a penalty kick from a tough angle to give the top-ranked Bears (10-1) a 13-12 lead and what looked like a certain ticket to the national title game next weekend in Houston.

But a Brown miscue on the ensuing kickoff and a “hands in the ruck" penalty at the 80-minute mark gave the Bonnies new life. All Noah Edwards had to do was make a 25-yard penalty kick from a sharp angle to allow the Bonnies to rip that ticket away.

Some players couldn’t even watch. They had little to fear.

The freshman from Santiago, Chile, who scored 16 points off kicks in the Bonnies win over Wheeling in the quarterfinals two weeks ago, split the uprights on the final play of the game, setting off a jubilant Bonaventure celebration on the field.

“What an effort,” Coach Tui Osborne said of the 15-13 victory. “That’s really been the story of our season, winning games with those kinds of efforts. I had belief that Noah would make it. He’s kicked well for us all year.”

The Bonnies (6-3) jumped to a 5-0 lead very early, Eddie Nelson scoring on a burst up the left wing off a nice pass from Wilson Koina. SBU extended its lead to 12-3 just two minutes into the second half when James Aitken bulled over from 2 yards out.

Brown cut it to 12-10 eight minutes later and the Bears spent much of the rest of the half deep in Bonaventure territory. But other than Brown’s late PK to take the lead, the Bonnies wouldn’t allow the Bears to penetrate the try zone.

“I’m really proud of the guys for hanging tough,” Osborne said. “We had opportunities in the green zone, but just had too many handling errors that we’ll have to clean up for next week.”

The Bonnies will play a familiar foe in the Dec. 9 title game: Rugby East champion Notre Dame College, which defeated Indiana, 26-13, in the other semifinal Saturday. NDC beat the Bonnies, 28-19, four weeks ago.

St. Bonaventure defeated Penn State, 19-18, to win the 2021 Fall 15s 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).