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Red Wolf Rugby Falls 43-13 in Varsity Cup Final


SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Arkansas State University’s hopes for a rugby championship were dashed when the University of California defeated the Red Wolves, 43-13, Saturday afternoon in the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup 15s Championship.

This is the second consecutive national 15s title for the Bears of California. Arkansas State comes away with an overall record of 9-2-1.

“I am proud of our team and what it achieved this season,” said head coach Shaun Potgieter. “We built from the bottom and got better every week leading up to the final.”

A-State advanced to the final with victories over Oklahoma (69-7), Utah Valley (39-12) and Navy (25-7).

“Of course, the result isn’t what we wanted, but it is encouraging to know that 20 out of the 24-man squad will be returning next year. Our seniors had an outstanding year, leading the team from the front and by example.”

Four seniors were on the field for the Red Wolves, including team captain Blace Walser of Tulsa, Okla., Sione Fangaiuiha of Canberra, Australia, Kuda Makuvire of Harare, Zimbabwe, and Terrence Kennell of Anchorage, Alaska.

The Bears of California struck first and took the early lead, 19-3, at the halfway mark. A-State scored midway into the second half with Fangaiuiha’s try and followed by Dylan Boast’s successful try.

The Red Wolves return to Jonesboro and begin training for the 7s championship Tuesday. The Penn Mutual Collegiate 7s Rugby Championship will be played Saturday and Sunday, June 3-4, in Philadelphia at Talen Energy Stadium. For ticket information, go to https://www.usasevenscrc.com/crc-tickets/.

Valentin Balande
A-State's Valentin Balande churns for more running room. — Photo by Connie Hatfield