Men's Rugby advances to Division I Championships

Men's Rugby teamMen's Rugby places third in New England, second in the Northeast, and earns fourth seed at the National Sweet Sixteens

The Norwich University men's rugby team has advanced to the Sweet 16 of USA Rugby's Division I Collegiate Championships for the first time in the history of the program. The Cadets, led by senior captains Ryan Scott and Andy Grenier, qualified for the playoff round by virtue of a second place finish at the Northeast Rugby Union (NRU) championships played at UMass-Amherst on November 8 and 9.

After narrowly dropping Saturday's game to first seed Army by a score of 25-24, the Wick surged back on Sunday and eliminated Northeastern - a team they had lost to earlier in the season - with a decisive 45-7 victory. Cornell, who defeated Northeastern on Saturday, was eliminated Sunday after losing to Army by a larger margin.

NU men's rugby vs. DartmouthThe Cadets' outstanding performance at the NRU playoffs capped a Cinderella season that opened with a disappointing loss to Amherst, and culminated with a dramatic win over perennial powerhouse Dartmouth. Norwich finished 4-3 on the regular season, good enough for third-place in the highly competitive New England Rugby Football Union [White League].

One week earlier, Norwich played their Northeast quarterfinal match at the University of Buffalo, handing the Bengals a 29-20 loss and advancing to the final four of the Northeast Championships for the second year in a row.

Norwich, seeded fourth coming into the Northeast playoffs, surprised everyone but themselves by walking away with a second-place finish and a ticket to the Sweet Sixteen. Third-year head coach Bob Weggler praised his team for their consistent effort throughout the season.

"This was our goal since camp way back in August - to qualify for the Nationals," Weggler said. "It's what we've been building towards all season long. We were fortunate enough to peak at the right time."

Norwich is seeded fourth going into the tournament, which will take place in Spring 2004 at a venue yet to be determined. For a look at the entire season, see grid below.

Date Opponent Score
Aug 30 Bishop College (preseason) Win, 17-5
Sept 6 Brown (preseason) Win, 45-3
Sept 13 at Amherst Loss, 15-17
Sept 20 Boston University Win, 47-17
Sept 27 Army Loss, 3-37
Oct 4 Harvard Win, 17-12
Oct 11 at Northeastern Loss, 13-30
Oct 18 Connecticut

Win, 32-5

Oct 25 at Dartmouth Win, 29-22
Nov 1 at Buffalo Win, 29-20
Nov 8 Northeast Playoffs
vs. Army
Loss, 24-25
Nov 9 Northeast Playoffs
vs. Northeastern
Win, 45-7
TBD USA Rugby Sweet 16
in April
TBD
NU men's rugby vs. UConn

dweggler@norwich.edu, December 2003

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