Dec 04, 2021
Tui Osborne admitted he had a touch of nerves in advance of Saturday’s semifinal vs. Kutztown in the National Collegiate Rugby Division I Tournament.
Having conquered Kutztown for the first time in program history in a 17-12 slugfest just four weeks ago, the Bonnies coach knew the challenge of beating a perennial rugby power twice in the same season.
“I was a little nervous. It’s been a while since I’ve been in playoff rugby,” Osborne said. “But just the way the men prepared this week gave our staff a good feeling about today.”
That feeling was rewarded.
The top-seeded Bonnies erased an early 7-3 deficit and rode a strong defense and kicking game to a 27-15 victory and a berth in next weekend’s NCR title game at AVEVA Stadium in Houston, home to Major League Rugby’s Houston Sabercats.
SBU will face second-seeded Penn State, a 32-31 winner over Queens University in the day’s second semifinal. The Bonnies defeated the Nittany Lions, 19-15, in October at State College.
“Our defense was relentless today and that gave us a good platform to convert opportunities in attack,” Osborne said. “Keelin Coyle’s boot was on point today and that put us in range to launch some good set piece attacks.”
The Northern Ireland native converted both his penalty kicks and was perfect on conversions after all three Bonaventure tries for a total of 12 points.
After falling behind 7-3, Ethan Doumbe and Matt Conroy scored to stake the Bonnies to a 17-7 halftime lead. Kutztown cut the lead to 17-10 midway through the second half, but the Bonnies responded in less than 2 minutes on an Andrew Bigler try and Kutztown would get no closer than nine.
“We’re looking forward to Houston,” Osborne said.
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.