Late Friday night, almost 30 rugby players in tow with a few fans, took off north to Flagstaff for the 32nd Annual Rugby Tens Tournament involving more than 10 men’s and women’s rugby teams from different undergraduate and graduate schools in Arizona and New Mexico. After getting to Flagstaff so late and checking into the most luxurious Quality Inn & Suites, the team had to wake up early for its first match of three at 9 a.m. Hitting the pitch in the 40-degree weather, the rugby players fought their way valiantly through their first match against the NAU Landshark’s A-team and won their first victory of the day!
With their second match of the day just minutes away, the team took some time to work on its defensive drills to ensure a promising second victory. Up against the NAU Landshark’s B-team, the men’s team played an even more remarkable game and scored a total of five tries (goals). It was an incredible victory and earned them a place in the finals against the New Mexico Tech Rugby team. In this final battle, the men’s team was faced with its toughest challenge of the day. After being behind New Mexico by three tries at the half, they were able to come back and tie it up in the second half. Unfortunately, in the last 10 seconds of the match, New Mexico was able to sneak one more try in and won the match and the Tournament.
Our Thunderbirds made a valiant effort bringing in the second place trophy as was presented that night as the tournament’s “Best Rugby Team on the Pitch.” A high honor and although it wasn’t the Tournament Champion trophy that they were able to bring home, they were presented with another trophy of sorts that will be revealed in the Pub in the coming few weeks. It was an incredible weekend and an even more incredible turnout for our Thunderbird Rugby team.