Franciscan falls to Robert Morris in conference championship, coach remains hopeful for team’s future



Franciscan University’s rugby team put up a fight in the Three Rivers Rugby Conference championship in Moon, Pennsylvania, but it could not overcome the experience of the Robert Morris University Colonials, who beat the Barons, 41-22.

The Barons suffered a clear mismatch in experience and Robert Morris exploited that weakness early and often in the first half to gain a healthy lead.

“In the first half, Robert Morris controlled the game and used their experience to put points on us,” said Head Coach Chris Courtnell. “They’re a well-drilled side and it showed today. They played an excellent 80 minutes.”

Though significantly trailing at halftime, the Barons did not give up. They fought back as hard as they could, but the game was just too far out of reach.

“In the second half, we fought back and we gave them a game,” said Courtnell. “Robert Morris is going to feel it in the morning. When they wake up they’ll know they just played a game of rugby and that’s the most important thing. Win or lose, you have to make your opponents feel it.”

Despite the loss, Courtnell was optimistic about his team’s performance. He said he was pleased with the way they played this season, especially due to the fact that their were many new players on the team.

“We had 22 new players on the squad this year,” said Courtnell. “Basically we had a squad that never played together before and to make it to a conference championship is a great achievement.”

Courtnell said he was confident that after some more work this upcoming winter and spring, the Barons will be a formidable team.

For his strong individual play, senior and team captain Ian Miller was named Man of the Match.