Team takes down Tigers for first time in five years Despite losing to Tennessee in the finals of the Gamecock Invitational Sunday, the South Carolina men’s rugby team is moving in the right direction.
The Gamecocks entered the tournament riding high after capturing the March 26 Classic City 7s Tournament in Athens, Georgia by defeating five teams – Georgia A and B, Vanderbilt, Kennesaw State and Valdosta State by a combined score of 170-7.
The field of teams at the Gamecock Invitational was much stronger with teams from Clemson, UT, Lander (a varsity program) and Division II power Furman participating.
The Gamecocks lost a close and tightly contested match to Tennessee (ranked 1 by Goff Rugby) 12-7 in the opener but followed up that game with a solid 21-7 win over an athletic Lander squad and a 31-0 victory over Clemson’s reserve side.
In the semi-finals South Carolina faced rival ranked Clemson, which ran past the Gamecocks 26-5 at the Citadel Invitational March 5. South Carolina won in convincing fashion, defeating the 8th ranked Tigers 19-5. The victory over Clemson was the team’s first win against the Tigers since the Gamecocks defeated their rivals s in the bowl championship of the CRCs on June 4, 2017.
In the finals, South Carolina was down 0-7 to UT at the half. But everything went wrong thereafter as the Volunteers raced to a 33-7 win.
“The second half in the final aside, I thought we competed well,” said John Roberts, the Gamecocks first year coach. “We put together our best game against Clemson and I know our fans and alumni will be delighted.”
On the Spring, the Gamecocks are 13-8-1. Four of those losses came in close games against 18th ranked Kentucky and 19th ranked Western Michigan earlier in the season.
“Our season started slowly. But we’ve taken a big step since spring break. And the boys have been putting in a lot of work,” said Roberts.
Next stop for the Gamecocks, the SCRC Championship April 23-24.