URI rugby to compete in first Liberty Challenge
Results: URI Men’s rugby finishes fall season with 17- 12 win over Syracuse in Liberty Challenge Series in Fairfield, CT. The Rams had to come from behind twice to grab the win against a tough, physical Syracuse team. From the opening kickoff, URI dominated possession and pressed close to the Syracuse line, but the rain-slickened ball and/or nerves kept them off the scoreboard; 2 penalty kicks were missed and a driving maul and a pick-and-go right at the goal line were both thwarted by knock-ons at the line. Midway through the half, the Syracuse center broke the defensive line at midfield and, with the help of 2 more missed tackles, scored for Syracuse. Other than that breakdown, however, the Rams defense was superb and kept the Orange pinned in their end for the rest of the half. Ryan Thomas’ penalty kick left the Rams trailing at half, 7-3, but knowing they were controlling the play. While the sets were a stand-off, the Rhody forwards were spread wider and faster in attack and defense than their Syracuse counterparts, resulting in increasing pressure on the Syracuse backline, continual attacks across the gain line, and eventually, more space for the Rhody backs. Man-of-the-Match Chris Hayes used that space to break the ‘Cuse back line and raced to the posts for the Rams’ 1st try to put URI up 10-7 at 56 minutes. Minutes later, though, Jack McCarthy was given a yellow card for repeated offside infringements, and the Orange used their advantage to break down the far left sideline for a try in the corner to regain the lead, 12-10, midway through the half. But the reversal was short-lived, as URI again pressed deep into the Syracuse end. James Gianonne, putting the capper on a superb fall season, outflanked the Syracuse line and touched down minutes later, only to have the try disallowed when the sideline official said that he had knocked on while touching down. Syracuse was unable to clear its own end and the Rhody pack set up camp on the goal line, running a long series of pick-and-go’s, culminating in Shawn Grenier touching down for the try, with Adam Nabb’s conversion putting URI up 17-12 after 64 minutes. From there, Rhode Island maintained possession and pressure on the Orange backline, keeping them penned in their own end to finish out the match.
URI finished the season 4-4 in conference and 5-5 overall.
See results and videos of this seasons games.
Read more about the Liberty Challenge: Rugby Today article about the Challenge series with writeups on all the matches, including URI’s.
More news: Rugby Celebrates 50 Years
Rhody Rugby steps up to Division 1A
Following several successful seasons that saw Rhode Island capture the New England Collegiate Rugby Conference title and advance to the USA Rugby D2 regional final, we have moved up to D1A this fall to compete a consistently higher level, joining New England powers such as Massachusetts, Boston College, Northeastern as well as metropolitan NY area schools such as Fordham, Fairfield, Iona and Stony Brook.
The rugby program at URI have been solidly developing for years, growing in size and competitiveness. We’ve had great success in recent years developing players with no rugby experience, but good athleticism and, most importantly, a willingness and ability to take what we teach at practices and put those lessons into practice on the field.
The club has a culture of hard work effort that the coaches recognize and reward. Playing time is earned through diligence at practice and performance on the field, and the competitive atmosphere brings out the best of all players, top to bottom. The team practices Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 4:15 pm on the rugby fields behind the baseball park.
Honest, it’s fun! Even our FANS are tough.