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Coastal Carolina, UNCW Lead Southern Conference

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Coastal Carolina, UNCW Lead Southern Conference

Credit to the guys up front - UNC-W's pack led the way.

One week in and already things are shaken up in the Southern Rugby Conference in men’s DII college competition.

GRR’s #4 team from last year, Furman, went down to Coastal Carolina 29-8 Saturday in something of an upset and a nice birthday present for Coastal’s coach, Tom Barnett.

The game itself was hugely physical, especially in the first half, and it seemed Furman had the run of play, getting three kickable penalties. They made just the one kick, though, and held a slim 3-0 lead just before halftime. It was then, with Furman down a man due to a yellow card, that Coastal pulled off a nicely-executed backline attack off a lineout, which put Michael Tillman through a gap for a try. That try was converted to put Coast up 7-3 at the break.

The second half remained tight. Coastal forward Jake Beckett powered up the middle and shrugged off defenders to score right after the second-half kickoff. Furman replied with a try from Adam Miller and the score held at 14-8 until about ten minutes to go. That was when Coastal Carolina blew the game open. Chris Doss powered through a group of Furman defenders, forward Clayton Wynn thundered down the sideline, and then Tillman capped off another nice backline move.

“We contained their best players, putting the pressure on them to pass to less experienced players and forcing those players to make decisions,” said Tillman. 

Meanwhile Furman Coach John Roberts said his team made some bone-headed mistakes, and didn’t recover well to halt line break.

“Coastal is a very athletic side and they clearly got the better of us today,” said Furman Coach John Roberts. “Coach Thomas Barnett and his players had a great game plan. They have greater size and were able to run through our tackles late.”


Meanwhile, UNC-Wilmington, the conference runners up in 2014, won 38-10 over an improving Citadel team.

“We have a solid team,” said UNCW Head Coach Jeremy Tominack. “Our veterans bring each day the same level of intensity and execution, whether it's the first day of practice or game day. The Citadel, as expected, played a very hard, clean game for the full 80 minutes. Cheers to Mr. Duffy and the Bulldogs for a solid performance, but our pack established a physical, controlling tempo.”

Younger players continue to step up for Wilmington, with sophomore prop Hollis Harris establishing himself as a key contributor. South all-star and all-conference lock Cole Schanelic led the forwards, while flanker Tom McCrimmon scored two tries. In the backs, wing James Hall also scored two tries, while Tyler Coffer kicked well despite the wet conditions.

It was a big effort from the Seahawks. Also winning on the weekend, East Carolina, 36-5 over Appalachian State, UNC-Charlotte, 10-7 over Elon, College of Charleston over Lander 20-0, and UNC-Greensboro 43-13 over Western Carolina.


Southern Rugby Conference                  
North W L T Pa Pf Pd BT BL Pts
East Carolina 1 0 0 36 5 31 1 0 5
UNC-Greensboro 1 0 0 43 13 30 1 0 5
UNC-Charlotte 1 0 0 10 7 3 0 0 4
Elon 0 1 0 7 10 -3 0 1 1
Western Carolina 0 1 0 13 43 -30 0 0 0
App. State 0 1 0 5 36 -31 0 0 0
South W L T Pa Pf Pd BT BL Pts
UNC-Wilmington 1 0 0 38 10 28 1 0 5
Coastal Carolina 1 0 0 29 8 21 1 0 5
College of Charleston 1 0 0 20 0 20 0 0 4
Lander 0 1 0 0 20 -20 0 0 0
Furman 0 1 0 8 29 -21 0 0 0
The Citadel 0 1 0 10 38 -28 0 0 0