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Cadets Selected for All-Conference Rugby Team

FullTextImage/img/@altSean Noll ’13 pushes past the Citadel’s defenders during the rugby sevens match at halftime during the VMI vs. Citadel football game Nov. 10. – VMI Photo by John Robertson IV.

LEXINGTON, Va., Dec. 20, 2012 – The Cardinals Collegiate Rugby Conference has selected its all-conference team for 2012. VMI cadets Pat Minnick ’14, Sean Noll ’13, Kevin Ponsler ’13, and Chris Ralli ’13 were selected for the first team, with Ray Donahue ’14 receiving honorable mention.

The all-conference team represents the best rugby players from schools across the state.

“The idea is that this will be our conference’s select side team,” said Wayne Howe, head coach. “They will compete against other regional select sides like the Pennsylvania select side team or the Potomac select side team.”

The Cardinals Collegiate Ruby Conference, instituted this year, is made up of nine member schools: The College of William & Mary, James Madison University, Longwood University, Old Dominion University, Radford University, University of Mary Washington, University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, and VMI.

“Creating this conference was an opportunity to further the sport, so the coaches took charge and it has grown our conference to nine teams,” said assistant coach Col. Tom Trumps ’79. “There are a lot of great players across these nine colleges, so it’s a real honor for these guys to have been selected.”

VMI’s rugby players and coaches are looking forward to continuing conference competition in the spring and are excited about the prospects.

“We’ve got a very talented side capable of beating anybody. The team is tremendously skilled and very athletic,” said Howe.

VMI’s rugby players will have the chance to play teams from around the nation if the team wins both conference games this spring. Since the tournament is single elimination, one loss will put an end to their advance.

“Whoever wins the conference championship will make the sweet 16 at the national level,” said Trumps. “We can beat them, we just have to play really good rugby to do it.”

Members of the rugby team had the chance to show their talent before a large crowd during half time of the Citadel football game, when the team played a rugby sevens match against the Citadel.

“It was a good outing. They often beat up on our football team, so we like to return the favor,” said Howe. “They’re a program that is really coming along, and we always enjoy playing them.”

The talent and hard work of the players and coaches is backed up by the enthusiastic support of the VMI community.

“We get tremendous support from club sports, and we have alumni who help us out with donations, so we’re well taken care of,” said Howe.

– John Robertson