They’re simply the best!
Siena’s men’s rugby team clinched a national title on December 12 with a win at the National Collegiate Rugby Small College Challenge Championship.
They beat Wayne State 25-20 in Sunday’s final at AVEVA Stadium in Houston, and brought home a silver cup to go with their new title. It’s their first season after transitioning from a club to varsity sport. They went into the tournament with a 10-0 season record, coached by Jaco Visser.
“When the whistle went it was like, this hard work just paid off and we finally reached the goal that we wanted to,” said co-captain Isaac Frost ‘24. “Everyone was hugging. It was like, seeing a side of people you’ve never seen before, but it was really special to share that with all the boys. Everyone at home watching, the support was immense from everyone around the world, really.”
Sennen Grove ’25 had the winning five-point try with four minutes left in the match.
The championship will help raise the profile of Siena’s rugby program even higher.
“It was planning and preparation that took us to that victory,” said Rugby Coordinator Greg Matthew. “It was a stretch goal to make it to the nationals, and to actually win it was something truly special.”
Matthew said the relatively young age of the team means that most of the championship players will remain with the team for the next two to three years.
“We had big guys who had tears in their eyes; I never thought I would see those guys cry.”
Rupert Bronkhorst ’25, co-captain
“We had a lot of conditioning in the rain, in the mud, in the snow. We had high hopes at the start of the season and it was just phenomenal to see all that hard work pay off so quickly.”
Eddie Wilhelm ’22, team president