Cougar rugby players drop tough pair

The College of Charleston men’s rugby team has faced two hard losses since their draw with the Charleston Outlaws on Sept. 17.

Rugby in their season opener against the Outlaws (Stephanie Burns/GSO)

The first came on the road at Clemson on Sept. 25. The game started with Clemson taking advantage of the team’s dropped penalties, but the College was quick to fight back with a try by freshman Kenny Evans, a player who team president George Woolston describes as “zulu warrior.” Evans, who also distinguished himself in the match against the Outlaws as “Man of the Match” (and “Dick of the Day”) used a dropped ball by Clemson and was able to return it for the try.

The Tigers, taking advantage of a largely rookie team that was suffering from numerous absences due to sickness and injury, picked up their game and went for their second try of the match. The Cougars quickly responded with Evans scoring his second try of the game off a feed from Ian Mueller to tie the game.

The halftime break, though a relief to the tired-out Cougars, led to Clemson grabbing more trips to the try zone as the Tigers plowed through CofC players. Evans once again made a fight for the Cougars, pulling off his third intercepted pass of the day, and ultimately meriting him ‘Man of the Match’ selection by finishing off the play with a hat trick. Brian Abplanap used this opportunity to grab the ball and pass it off to Mueller, who got it over the fullback and into the try zone in the last moments of the game. Trailing 26-24, a conversion and possible tie was on the horizon, but Woolston was unable to make those two extra points happen, leaving the team to suffer their first loss of the season.

Though the Clemson match saw high scoring on both sides of the field, the College’s match against N.C. State was locked in a stalemate for the majority of the match. Evans was able to make the first try by intercepting and landing the try in the middle of the zone. Woolston missed the conversion to keep the score at 5-0, not offering much of a cushion for the Cougars. Charleston’s defense helped to maintain this lead into the second half, but a yellow card to Jeff Seidel, immediately followed by one to J.J. Garrell for illegally attempting to handle the ball in the ruck, hurt the Cougars defense. With the College down a player for 20 minutes, N.C. State was able to get a try of its own and subsequently convert it, giving the Woflpack the lead, and ultimately the win, 7-5.

The Cougars next plays on Oct. 22 against UNC Charlotte. To follow the rugby team, be sure to check out cofcmensrugby.com and follow @GSOClubSports

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