Rugby suffers tough loss in national tournament

Despite winning the 2014 Texas Rugby Union State Championship for the first time in three years, St. Edward’s Rugby Club President Nikolai Solow says the season didn’t go exactly how he and the team wanted.

“Winning our conference’s state championship was important but we realistically expected more given our team,” Solow said. “We still accomplished a lot on and off the field.”

It hasn’t been all joy for the rugby team this season. They recently lost a heartbreaking game, falling to the University of Denver in the final round of the regional tournament of the Cowboy Cup 27-23 as part of the National Small College Rugby Organization playoffs. Solow explains that the loss was tough both physically and emotionally. Solow gave credit where it was due to the team who ranked number three in the country last year.

“I am very proud of our performance against them and despite their significant size advantage we didn’t back down. University of Denver are a classy team, we gave them a run for their money,” he said.

Club captain and fly half, Andor Benyi, believes that the team’s overall journey this season was better than the end result. He contributes a lot of this to team chemistry. 

Though he is graduating this year after four years on the team, Benyi is confident the loss of the seniors this year will not impact the teams performance and morale next year.

“We have the depth within our squad for other players to step up and fill in,” he said. “The coaches have done a great job bringing in new guys and making them a valuable part of the team.”

Solow also believes that losing a big senior class will not affect the team’s success. He is confident that both new and returning players will continue to achieve the team’s goals for both on and off the field. 

“We have goals that extend off the field that include growing our alumni involvement, doing more service projects, and ultimately being able to recruit the best high school rugby players,” he said. “Every year that I’ve been here it always seems like we are losing key guys but we have been lucky and continued to grow as a club.”

The team continued season play in the Texas Collegiate Cup Championship in a 16 team single elimination tournament. Going into the tournament players were ready to win again.

“We desperately want to win after our loss to Denver,” said Benyi. “I think we can win the whole competition with the quality and depth we have on our squad. We have a strong chance to do that.”

That is exactly what the team did. They beat Division I University of Houston and were able to advance to the elite eight. 

Solow and Benyi are both excited at the opportunity to play some of the bigger schools in Texas. 

The team plays April 12, at Burr Field against Texas State University, with the winner advancing to the final four.

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