Salesianum Rugby Team Conquers the Ruggerfest


John Sebastiani, Staff Writer

Last weekend, Salesianum’s rugby team traveled down to North Carolina to compete in a rugby 15’s tournament. The tournament, called Carolina Ruggerfest, took place in Mecklenburg, NC, just outside Charlotte. Eighty-six teams from seventeen states competed, comprising groups of all ages and skill levels in this national tournament. The team departed Salesianum on the crisp morning of Friday, March 1st and arrived at their hotel after a ten hour drive. After eating dinner as a team, they met with their coaches in order to set goals and to talk about the expectations for the weekend.

The team played their first of three games on Saturday morning, and played again in the afternoon. In between matches, they watched other high-school rugby teams compete as they cherished the warm North Carolina weather. When their second game ended on Saturday, the rugby team hurried onto the bus and changed into their church clothes before attending mass. Once mass ended, they ate dinner as a team and returned to Ruggerfest to watch the University of South Carolina take on UNC-Charlotte in a rugby showcase game. On Sunday, Sallies played their final game of the tournament, beating out Hudson Rugby by a mere point. Junior Liam Mara broke off for two big runs to score for Sallies and senior Nate McCourt sealed the game by converting his two kick attempts. When the final whistle sounded, Sallies finished the tournament with a 1-2 record.

However, they made great improvements between each game. It is still early in the season, so Ruggerfest was a great way for the team to find their strengths and to identify areas of weakness. Team captain Houston Tyree said, “Throughout the course of the Carolina Ruggerfest, we identified new talent on the team and learned more about the sport of rugby through exposure to it. Overall, it was a very successful weekend for our team and a great opportunity to play a full game before our regular season began.”

The team looks to win their first game of the regular season at Cumberland Valley High School on Friday, March 15th. Students are encouraged to come out and support the team all season!