This past weekend, Men’s Rugby returned to the Beast of The East Tournament, the largest college rugby tournament in the world. Returning from a one-year hiatus to the second division, the team went three for five this weekend in Providence, R.I.
“We were led by seniors Matt Almeida, Mario Murray, and Chip Duval on the field and Steve Hannigan off the field. We have a plethora of athletic ability and are becoming better rugby players,” Coach Matt Leonard said. “Many people stepped up this weekend and are looking forward to the fall league season.”
Fairfield started off against Providence College, losing to them after an initially strong start. Later in the day, Fairfield bested Castleton, which meant that the team moved onto the single elimination Consolation Bracket on Sunday.
After defeating Colby, the Stags advanced to the second round facing Wentworth Institute of Technology. This low scoring match went into overtime with Senior Matt Almeida, who was dealing with an injured shoulder, giving the Stags the winning try and advancing them to the championship game. The team lost in the championship game with a final score of 18-10 to cross town rival Sacred Heart.
“This tournament was a sign of good things to come,” Almeida said. “A lot of young players stepped up during the two days.”
Senior Mario Murray echoed Almeida’s comments, “Over the two days of the tournament our level of play definitely increased. I’m proud of our boys and what we did. I want to thank the rugby team for giving me the four years that I’ve had. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Senior Steve Hannigan pointed out his favorite part of the tournament. “Seeing every one of my teammates try their absolute hardest,” he said. “When one person got hurt, another person stepped up. The camaraderie on this team is unparalleled and we see each other as brothers.”
Coach Leonard said, “The spring is always a time of change and I think things look good for our reentry into league play next fall.”