Rugby set to defend crown

By Gus Bode

With every team but men’s tennis out of town this weekend, SIU rugby will reign over the SIU sports scene this weekend with the All Fools Tournament – the club’s equivalent to the Super Bowl.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will face off against premier teams from around the Midwest in hopes to repeat last year’s good fortune, when both clubs won it all.

“There’s definitely a lot of pride, especially being from Southern and it being our tournament,” said Elizabeth Bollaert, a senior on the women’s team. “So it’s definitely more pride for us to win this than anything else.”

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SIU is considered the favorite, mostly due to the absence of perennial rival Illinois State University, who opted to play in another tournament this weekend. Western Illinois University is the closest thing to a competitor the women will see this weekend in their six-team bracket.

“I think we’re just going to blow everyone out,” Bollaert said jokingly.

Standing in the way of the men will be great programs such as Iowa, Illinois and the Kohlfeld Scorpions, a respected club of mostly college-age players from Cape Girardeau who chose the All Fool’s Tournament over Ruggerfest in St. Louis.

Aside from the tougher competition, the men will also be against 18 teams, which may cause a logistical problem. The competition will begin at 9 a.m., and a champion is hoped to be crowned at the end of the day.

The tournament, which is open to spectators, will take place at the intramural playing fields. Programs, which include brackets and the basic rules of rugby, will be available at a tent west of Abe Martin Field and off Evergreen Terrace at no cost.

“Pretty much, it’s an open forum for anybody to come out and watch,” said John Smego, vice president of men’s rugby. “There’s no charge, it’s all completely free and it’s going to be a full day of rugby.”

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