#2 Cadets Claim Rugby Northeast Title, Advance to National Tourney
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Junior wing Korbin Wayton (Southlake, Texas) scored the game-winning try, his second of the day, with just over four minutes remaining in regulation to lift the #2 Norwich University men's rugby team over Southern Connecticut State University 35-33 in the Rugby Northeast Championship match on Sunday afternoon.
With the win the Cadets earn an automatic spot in the USA Rugby Division II National Tournament Round of 16 for the second consecutive year.
Senior flyhalf Keegan Frick (Thornton, Pa.) got the scoring started with a penalty kick for an early 3-0 Norwich lead. The Owls then responded with a converted try to take a 7-3 edge. Wayton scored his first try of the day just over 20 minutes into the first half to regain the lead 8-7.
Senior scrumhalf Tom St. Pierre (Warwick, R.I.) chipped in a try (converted by Frick) at the 27-minute mark to stretch the lead to 15-7 and junior prop Taualupe Tau (E. Palo Alto, Calif.) added a try for a 20-7 lead.
The Owls responded with a converted try to cut the NU lead to 20-14 before senior lock Ryan Wagner (Newtown, Conn.) scored an unconverted try for a 25-14 Cadet advantage. Southern Connecticut closed the first half with a converted try to make the score 25-21 at the break.
Midway through the second, SCSU took the lead 28-25 with another converted try. Frick converted on another penalty kick with 10 minutes left to tie the match 28-28, but the Owls came back with an unconverted try to take a 33-28 lead. That set the stage for Wayton's heroics with less than five minutes to go. Frick added the conversion and Norwich held on for the 35-33 final.
With the win the Cadets improve to 10-0 overall and conclude conference play with a 9-0 record. This marks the second consecutive season of undefeated conference records for the NU men's rugby club.
The Cadets will travel to Kutztown, Pennsylvania in two weeks for the USA Rugby Division II National Tournament Round of 16, their opponent is still to be determined.