South Charlotte

Club team eyes national crown

The Charlotte Catholic rugby club team won three straight games at the USA Rugby South High School Championships on May 1-2 in Sanford, Fla., to win the regionals and qualify for the USA Rugby High School National Championships.

The club is in its seventh year and has fielded a varsity team the past three. This is Catholic's third-straight regional championship and appearance in the national championship, which will be in Salt Lake City on May 20-21. Two years ago, the team failed to win a game in the national championship; last year they finished fourth.

"We've been building goals over the last few years," said coach Brendan Keane. "Last year's goal was to win one game. ... This year the goal is to go and win."

The Cougars are 12-0 this year and ranked No. 3 in the country by RugbyMag.com. The varsity team won the Division I state title 73-0 against Providence, and the junior varsity won the Division II state title 39-17 against Independence.

On the first day of the regional championship, Catholic had shut-out wins against Archbishop Shaw (La.) 36-0 and Chapin (S.C.) 29-0. In the title game Sunday, the Cougars beat Jupiter (Fla.) 45-12. Providence High also took part in the championship and finished sixth. The Matthews Vipers rugby club finished third in the U19 division.

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