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15 October 2008

JSU Rugby Downs Auburn and Alabama in Charity Tourney

Three rugby playing universities– Jacksonville State University, Alabama and Auburn– found pink to be their common team color last weekend as JSU hosted the first Alabama Breast Cancer Awareness Rugby Tournament, the proceeds of which benefited the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama.

For rugby enthusiasts the theme was "Rucking for a Cure," but for those less familiar with the game the theme was "Tough Enough for Rugby, Tough Enough for Pink." The event, co-sponsored by Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, featured tough play by tough men wearing pink socks. The "pitch" was decked out in pink sideline markers, and the referee and coaches wore pink t-shirts.

The rugby teams at these universities play as club sports teams and are self-supporting. The players are true student athletes since the clubs do not receive funding from their schools as do the varsity sports teams.

Last week's tourney was a knock-out threeway event. The first match of the tourney was JSU vs. Auburn. Auburn scored first with an unconverted TRY (5 points). JSU answered back with tries from Josh Flemming, Matt Olsen, Tom Snow and Justin Armstrong for a 29-5 JSU win.

The second match was close, with Bama edging Auburn, 22-17. The final match was the highlight of the day with JSU topping Bama, 34-5. Chris Steketee, Josh Flemming, Gwinyai Murahwa, Chris Hisamoto and Matt Olsen had tries for JSU in this match.

Tournament points were Auburn,1; Alabama, 3; and JSU, 8, giving JSU the tournament win. JSU's Gwinyai Murahwa was named the tournament's "Man of the Match."

Although this tournament is history, JSU rugby will return full force in February when the new regular season starts. According to Coach Mike Trowse, the rugby season runs from February through April.

Trowse also hopes to build the high school rugby presence in the state. Anyone interested in forming high school rugby clubs are encouraged to contact Trowse, the USARugby Representative for Alabama, at (256) 655-2700.

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