Date December 15, 2022
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Brown University men’s rugby team wins Collegiate Rugby Championship

The team claimed its first-ever national championship in Division I National Collegiate Rugby in a 21-5 victory over Queens University of Charlotte.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The Brown University men’s rugby team capped an undefeated season with a first-ever national championship title in Division I National Collegiate Rugby.

The players traveled to Houston for the championship game against Queens University of Charlotte on Saturday, Dec. 10, at Aveva Stadium. Head Coach Dave Laflamme, who has been coaching Brown rugby since 1997, credited the players’ top-notch defense and the team’s dedicated staff among the factors that helped lead the Bears to a national victory.

“In my 26 years here at Brown, this has been the strongest team we’ve been able to field,” Laflamme said. “I am incredibly proud of all the work these guys put in both on and off the field. I’m also grateful for the support the University and Brown Athletics have provided to help make all this possible.”

Part of Brown’s club sports lineup, the men’s rugby team was originally founded in 1960 by three Brown students and an alumnus. Today, Brown competes in the Liberty Rugby Conference, one of nine D-I conferences, against schools including Colgate, Fordham and Syracuse universities.

“Brown is historically a smaller team than many of the higher ranked teams,” Laflamme said. “However, our dominance in the scrum this year has turned some heads.”

On Nov. 5, Brown won the Liberty Rugby Conference championship against American International College, before proceeding to defeat Wheeling University from the Allegheny Rugby Union Men’s Collegiate Conference on Nov. 19. The Bears bested St. Bonaventure University from the Rugby East Conference on Dec. 3, prevailing over last year’s national champions. From there, they advanced to Houston to take on Queens.

“The significance of this is monumental,” Laflamme said. “Ivy League teams have historically been known as decent rugby-playing schools but not ones that could compete at the highest level. This places Brown on the map.”

The 2022-23 team, which has roughly 60 active players, featured strong forwards and consistent defense that helped propel the team to a 13-0 season record in which Brown scored 585 total points and conceded only 74. Continuing its winning streak during championship play, the team managed to stave off the competition in the three national playoff games.

“The final against Queens was an interesting game that was unfortunately riddled with yellow cards — for which a player has to sit out for 10 minutes — and a red card, meaning they’re out for the game,” Laflamme said, with the Bears ultimately winning 21-5.

In a post-game interview, team captain Daniel Archer credited his teammates with staying calm under pressure.

“We were keeping our heads — we’ve done it all season,” Archer said. “We’re not the biggest team on the field, but in my opinion we have the biggest hearts on the field.”

Ollie Corbett, the team’s vice captain, praised the team’s dedication and camaraderie.

“Our culture is just unparalleled,” Corbett said. “We have a unique culture that we’ve cultivated for a lot of years, and it’s growing and growing. We consider ourselves more like family than actually like players on the field. … We are one as a team and that’s how we’ve come so far.”

Archer echoed the importance of the team’s unity and dedication.

“Rugby is a game played by people of all different shapes and sizes, who all have a crucial role in success, so trusting one another to do their jobs is paramount,” he said. “They're all top-notch players in their own regard and this win is a testament to them and the amazing coaching and support staff we had behind us every step of the way.”

The championship game is available for online viewing.