by Sarah DeWolfe | Staff Writer

This season has been a wild ride for the players on the Salve Men’s Rugby team, and it’s not over yet. Men’s rugby is the only Salve athletic team in history to hold a national title, thanks to their 2012 National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) Championship. As the team currently continues their undefeated season they are looking to repeat history 5 years later. So far they have gone 12-0 this season with two wins separating them and a national championship. They have improved their overall record to 99 wins (and counting) in the program’s history.

The Salve Men’s Rugby club team plays home games at Fort Adams State Park.

Their journey to nationals had humble beginnings, taking it game by game “defending the fort” at their home field of Fort Adams State Park. The Seahawks climbed the ranks until their undefeated season resulted in a Colonial Rugby Conference Championship against visiting Endicott Gulls. Just like they do game after game, Salve struck first, this time with a penalty kick to lead 3-0. What makes this win even more amazing is that, due to an early dangerous tackle call and an ejection, Salve played shorthanded the entire game. A combined effort from Seniors Liam Burke and Ben Faulkner resulted in a try that put the home team up 15-0. Their offensive efforts were widespread and unstoppable throughout the championship match. They capitalized on two Endicott knocks, both ending with players finding the try zone. Four more Salve players each took the ball in to score, helping boost the Seahawks to a 37-3 win and a shiny new trophy to add to their growing The Salve Men’s Rugby club team plays home games at Fort Adams State Park.collection.

The Seahawks remained undefeated this season and qualified for the final four of the NSCRO Tournament.

In the New England Regional Final against Holy Cross, the winner would move on to the Sweet 16 in the NSCRO. Naturally, Salve was first on the scoreboard with a try making it 7-0. Although the teams grappled back and forth with possession for some time, Salve eventually found the try zone four more times unanswered. Burke carried the ball in for two tries, while Senior Benjamin Brissette himself carried it in for a hat trick. Holy Cross attempted to lessen the blow with a try of their own, but Salve quickly shut that down to end the game at 51-12.

In Salve Rugby’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 2012, the Seahawks faced off against Paul Smith’s College for a spot in the elite 8. Salve made quick work of things and put up the first try, and the second, and the third. In fact, the Seahawks scored 7 times all without retaliation from the opposing team. Sophomore Toni Barbosa, Junior Brian Schmidt, Burke, and Faulkner were among those who combined tries in the 49-0 victory.

The time came for the Seahawks to prove themselves worthy of a final four appearance. Exactly 6 years ago to the date of their qualifying game against UMaine Farmington this past Sunday, the Salve Rugby team clinched a spot in the National Semi-finals. It wouldn’t be a Salve rugby game if they didn’t score first, so that’s exactly what they did. The Seahawks ran the score up to 31-0 before UMaine finally answered with a try of their own. From then on, the game was back and forth between the teams. With every scoring run by the home team, the visiting team shot back. Fortunately Salve had already given themselves a wide margin of victory, and they received their 99th win in the program as history repeated itself. Faulkner gave a grand performance recording three tries, with Sophomore Tyler Juliano also scoring twice after entering the game as a sub. Senior Dakota Williams and Senior Joe Goff both brought the ball to the try zone once a piece.

Saturdays were definitely for the Seahawks this season. Having outscored opponents 453-58 this year and shutting out four teams, there’s no wonder why this undefeated team has found so much success. And with only two games separating them from a national championship, the Seahawks are anxiously waiting for their turn, practicing hard as ever to become even more of a contender in April.

For more information and tournament game updates go to salveathletics.com and follow @SalveRugby on Twitter.

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