The N.C. State men’s rugby club demolished its rival, UNC-Chapel Hill, by a score of 100-0 to close out its spring season.
Any time State rugby defeats UNC-CH is a special win for the team, but this score is anything but normal for rugby, which is scored similarly to football.
This result leaves the Wolfpack with a record of 6-3 this season, ranked 5th in the Atlantic Coast Rugby League, or ACRL.
“I couldn’t ask for a better end to my college rugby career: beating the [snot] out of UNC,” said Abe Harman, team president and graduating senior.
The game had a shaky start, with lots of dropped balls and penalties on both teams. But State eventually took control of the game, leaving the Tar Heels helpless against the Wolfpack’s onslaught. The Pack dominated in the rucks, leading to numerous turnovers from UNC-CH.
State’s forward pack displayed its impressive power by pushing two scrums into the try zone to score for the Wolfpack.
The Tar Heels were unable to find weakness in State’s backline defense, and the Wolfpack easily quelled any attacks its rivals put together. On the other side of the ball, State’s relentless backline attacks pounded the UNC defense into submission, eventually resulting in defensive breakdowns and scores for the Wolfpack.
In the end, dominant play from both the Wolfpack’s forwards and backs led to an outstanding victory.
“This was a great win and a great way to send off our graduating seniors,” said Kent Mackman, team captain and senior majoring in accounting.
With the Carolina game marking the close of State’s ACRL season, the men’s rugby club continues to practice for upcoming tournaments. The next tournament is April 27 and 28 at East Carolina University in Greenville. This will be the club’s first matches without its graduating seniors, giving new players an opportunity to break into the team and gain more playing time in future matches.
“We have big shoes to fill,” said Mikey Dotterer, sophomore in aerospace engineering. “We are looking forward to seeing how we will measure up without the seniors.”
With more than 10 seniors graduating this semester, the club will most likely be playing a very different style of rugby than they currently play. Along with experience, the club also loses quite a bit of physical size in its forward pack with the departure of its seniors.
The rugby team’s elite 7s squad will continue training to participate in the Collegiate Rugby Championship, or CRC. The event, which will take place June 1 and 2 in Philadelphia, Pa., will be nationally televised live on NBC and NBC Sports.
This is the rugby club’s second appearance at this prestigious event, which hosts the nation’s top-20 teams. After placing 13th in the nation at last year’s CRC, the State seven players will soon be ramping up training to prepare for the event.
“We hope to do even better at the CRC this year now that we know the level of play that is needed to win,” said Greg Hesler, graduate student. “Now we just need to train to get to that high level of play.”