Rugby’s Black Rose Tournament

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  • The Georgia Southern Rugby team celebrates the winning of thetournament. The victory included wins over the Ga. Southern alumni team (The Southern Exiles) and Valdosta State in the title game.

Katie Tolbert@kttolbert

The Georgia Southern Rugby Football Club hosted 12 teams in the annual Black Rose Tournament, but most importantly, it defeated the GSU alumni team, the Southern Exiles, and came out on top with the championship victory against Valdosta State.

Southern Exiles

It is clear that these rugby players are playing for the love of the sport. Any fan could see the bond that the GSU team and the Southern Exiles had, but what was even better to watch was the chemistry between the two on the field.

Before the first half was even over, each team had a player on the sidelines on the verge of vomiting. This match was no joke. For a 9:45 a.m. match, these two teams were playing with determination, but it was the Southern Exiles who fell to GSU, 35-7.

“The first half was pretty solid. I think in the second half stuff started breaking down, and seeing that this is the old boy side, age started to be a factor. But it is just so fun to meet up with guys you haven’t seen in twenty years,” alum Drew Geer said.

Although these two teams roughed it out on the field, alum Kyle Ogletree mentioned that it really is all about teaching the college players and giving back.

Journey to Championship

Defeating the Southern Exiles was the highlight of this tournament for GSU Rugby, but the play did not stop for celebration. After 40 quick minutes, GSU was back on the field only to gain another victory against the Gwinnett Griffins, 54-0.

With that victory, GSU made it into pool play. As the day went on, the matches got a little closer and it was obvious that the constant beating of the game was starting to take a toll on the players. That did not stop the GSU team. They took down their next two opponents, bringing them to the final.

And the champion is…

In the final game of the day, 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, GSU Rugby was to face off against Valdosta State. This was not like the majority of the matches because GSU was not dominating. All day long, the GSU Rubgy Club was showing no mercy, and outscored every team by more than one score. This match was the exact opposite.

Valdosta was leading for the majority of the match, and GSU was going to have to make a serious comeback. In the last ten minutes, GSU pulled out all it had left and barely scrapped a 22-21 victory from Valdosta, making them this year’s Black Rose champions.

“The annual Black Rose Tournament is great, and this year we had a great turnout of about 12 teams. There has been a lot of competitive play. This is the first year in a long time that we actually beat our alumni team, the Southern Exiles. They came down from New Orleans, Philadelphia, Detroit, South Carolina, and Atlanta, so we put a good whopping on them,” Sean Gilfillan, member of GSU Rugby Football Club, said.