Nov 17, 2022
The Bonnies are back in the tournament that put them on the national stage.
St. Bonaventure (6-2) travels to Indiana (7-1) Saturday at 2 p.m. to meet the Big 10 champion in the quarterfinals of the National Collegiate Rugby Division 1 tournament. The No. 2 seed from Rugby East, the Bonnies defeated Penn State, 19-18, last December to win the NCR Championship.
The game will be streamed live on the NCR Rugby YouTube page.
Indiana, whose only loss was Sept. 17 to perennial national power Davenport, defeated Ohio State, 22-20, last weekend to claim the Big 10 title and earn the NCR bid. The Hoosiers are ranked 8th in the latest D-1 national poll; the Bonnies are ranked 7th.
St. Bonaventure is coming off a 28-8 loss to Navy, the nation’s top-ranked team, in a game that was closer than the final score indicated. The Bonnies appeared to score midway through the second half to cut Navy’s lead to 15-8, but officials called SBU for a foul to negate the try.
Until then, the Bonnies spent a lot of time in the offensive zone but a couple defensive lapses allowed Navy to score two tries to take the lead.
“The first 20 minutes of the game, we had the better of it and if we could have scored on a couple of our opportunities in the green zone, we’d have had a lead at halftime,” said Tui Osborne, Bonnies head coach. “We just made a few too many mistakes, and you can’t afford to do that against a team that strong.”
Despite the loss, Osborne thinks the caliber of play in Rugby East, considered the toughest league in the nation, has prepared his team well for the tournament. Six of the top 11 teams in the latest national poll play in Rugby East.
The Bonnies’ only two losses are to No. 1 Navy and No. 3 Army; both teams opted to compete in the College Rugby Association of America D-1 tournament in the spring.
“Nothing against any of the teams ahead of us, but Navy might be the toughest team we play this year,” he said. “But we’re not going to look past Indiana. They have a very good coach and a sound structure to their game plan. The Big 10 has really improved a lot in the last few years and Indiana has always been strong.”
Winners of the four quarterfinal games Saturday will advance to the semifinals Dec. 3 at Penn State-Berks, with the winners there advancing to the title game Dec. 10 in Houston.
The SBU-Indiana winner will play Saturday’s winner of Wheeling at Brown. Thomas More hosts Fairfield and American International travels to Queens (N.C.) University in the other two quarterfinals Saturday.
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.