This summer the AU men’s rugby club team has made some painful strides in trying to improve their program by competing in multiple matches during the off season.
In late June the Eagles competed to a one-and-three record at the Potomac Athletic Club (PAC) 7s Rugby Tournament at Signal Hill Park in Manassas Park, Va.
“Summer 7 man rugby offers a great opportunity for the AU men’s players to square off against senior level rugby teams,” said AU Men’s Rugby head coach Chris Rutyna. “We are focused on training hard and playing against more challenging opponents.”
AU’s first match at the tournament was against the Maryland Exiles Rugby club. AU lost to the Exiles 32-5 with the Eagles only try coming from sophomore Kurt Hansen near the end of the scrimmage.
“It was tough going at first because we have been facing more physical and experienced teams in summer 7s rugby tournaments,” said Koki Mori, captain of the AU Men’s Rugby club.
Hansen broke out in the second game against the PAC II rugby club, scoring three tries. Hansen’s effort’s was accompanied by one try from sophomore Nick Profita.
Despite the offensive prowess put forward by the two sophomores it was not enough to offset the lack of defensive support necessary to hold back PAC II club, falling in overtime 25-20.
The Eagles were able to pull off their first and only victory of the tournament against the Rocky Gorge rugby club, 24-17.
Profita added another try to his name in a second consecutive game and a quicker AU simply overmatched the laggard Rocky Gorge team.
“We have enjoyed these challenging matches and are committed to playing attractive and winning rugby,” Mori said. “With some more hard work, we’ll improve our play and contribute to a more successful summer season.”
In AU’s forth and final match of the day, they fell to the F.R.T.S. club 37-10. AU was simply outmatched by a much older club, but was able to get on the scoreboard thanks to Mori and Hansen.
“We have a young team of mostly sophomores and juniors,” said Rutyna. “I commend the players for their commitment, and look forward to more quality rugby this summer,” said Rutyna.
AU will compete next at the Rocky Gorge Slugs 7, 14th annual tournament at the Gorge Tournament Field in Laurel Maryland on July 17th.