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Rugby team takes national championship

April 27, 2009

Coastal Carolina University's rugby team won The 2009 National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) Men's Collegiate Division III National Championship Sunday, defeating SUNY-Oswego 36-15 in the final.

The CCU Rugby Club is the first sport club in University history to win a national championship. Club sports are not affiliated with the University's athletic department and are governed by the Department of Campus Recreation. The number of University club teams has jumped from six to 17 in the past year, and many of them compete nationally.

On Saturday in the semifinals, the Coastal Carolina squad defeated former Coastal Carolina coach John Graham and Longwood University 36-25. Scrumhalf Clayton "LB" Haley was selected as the Championship MVP for his performance.

Other notable players include Alexandre Marchon, Alex Nazon, Eric Beard, Ben Jenkins, Matt DeCastro, Matt Mendelssohn and Steve Pease.

The Rugby Club capped off a remarkable year that included defeating Wake Forest, a Division I opponent. The team also had an undefeated spring season in the Palmetto Rugby Union, sweeping the USA Rugby South playoffs (defeating rivals Furman for the second time this season) and winning the national championship.

The University's rugby team was started six years ago by John Graham, a former professor at Coastal Carolina.

The Final Four was hosted by the South Jersey Rugby Football Club in Cherry Hill, N.J.