The Saints surprise the college rugby world

Thomas More was the surprise of the national collegiate rugby season.

So surprising that the team came home with the trophy for the Division II National Championship, defeating number one-ranked Adrian College at the final game in Houston, Texas.

“We were the underdog,” says head coach John Fox, “but we’re a team that can adapt. And in adapting, we changed our whole game plan in the game to come out victors."

Thomas More came to the attention of the rugby world in early November, when it won the Midwest Collegiate Rugby Conference title. "Thomas More Pulls Off the Big Shocker," blared the headline in the Goff Rugby Report.

That win launched the team into the National Collegiate Rugby Association's final four in Houston last weekend.

Graduate student Matias Caramuti of Argentina was a key to the victory, converting three field goals and one extra point attempt, accounting for 10 of the Saints 21 points. First-year student Bautista Saint Bonnet of Buenos Aires also gave a standout performance, and was  awarded the National Championship MVP after the final.

The Saints lost only once all season, to Division I giant University of Kentucky.

“This win is a huge victory for our rugby program,” says Thomas More Athletic Director Terry Connor.

In August of this year, Alejandro Torres made Thomas More rugby history as the sophomore from Argentina was recruited in the second round of the Major League Rugby draft by the Dallas Jackals.

"They thought it was their legacy to win this game," Fox said of the final match. "They wanted to prove their legacy to do something for the University, and to make sure that we get Thomas More on the map. I think they were very successful in that.”

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Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.