King’s Rugby Sevens Club competes in inaugural tournament


The five-year-long dream to have a sevens rugby team compete as a part of The King’s College athletic program was finally fulfilled this past weekend when the newly-formed King's Rugby Sevens Club went to SUNY Stony Brook to compete in its first tournament. The starting seven pray before the first game. Photo by Brian Stewart.

Athletic Director Sean Horan, who also coaches the New York City Sevens, a team that ranked fifth in the world last summer in international competition, gathered a group of interested male students and, over the last month and half, turned them into a team that competed head-to-head with the B pool at the SUNY sevens tournament. At the tournament on Saturday the games were 20 minutes long, each half being 10 minutes long with three minute half-times. 

For King's, the competition opened against the Stony Brook B team. In the second minute, after multiple turnovers by both teams, four quick passes to winger Brian Stewart (’16) lead to a try which was followed by a successful conversion kick by fly-half and co-captain Peter Murphy (’17). But the longevity of the game aided Stony Brook in their scoring. Stony Brook’s ability to keep a fresh team on the field, thanks to their tactful employment of substitutes, led to tries in both the first and second halves (with one conversion kick) resulting in a final score of 12-7.

Following a 50 minute break, King’s played its second game against the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. A strong defense in the first half resulted in a turnover, caused by scrum half Isaiah Hale (’15), near the Merchant Marine’s goal line gave hooker and co-captain Carlos Santos (’16) a try.

Later in the game, with only a minute left before halftime, fly-half Peter Murphy (’17) received a pass from Isaiah Contu-Owen (’16) and broke the line to score a try, which he followed with a successful conversion kick to make the score 12-0. In the second half, the Merchant Marine’s received the ball on kick-off and retained possession for much of the 10 minutes. They scored three tries--one off of a turnover and another from a succession of distance penalties--to end the game with a 15-12 lead.

A scrum for possession against Columbia. Photo by Brian Stewart.

King’s kicked off its third game against Stony Brook B, several minutes after playing the USMMA. Both sides exhibited resilient defenses in the first half until Stony Brook broke through to score a try and conversion kick. After the ensuing kick-off, King’s gained possession and Peter Murphy (’17) broke a tackle and burst through the defense to run 90 meters for a try and conversion kick. Stony Brook again pushed steadily back up the field to score a try in the final minutes of the game, resulting in a 14-7 loss for King’s. 

In the fourth and final game, King’s played the Columbia B team. Due to injuries, both teams lacked substitutions, which set the game off to a slow start until Columbia scored midway through the first half. While on defense and with a few minutes remaining in the first half, hooker Carlos Santos (’16) wrapped up the Columbia captain, which provided forward Michael Sheetz (’17) with an opportunity to strip the ball and recover the fumble for a try. Columbia quickly bounced back before half-time, battering its way slowly through the defensive line to score a try. In the second half, King’s gained possession of the ball and was able to move quickly down the field. Hooker Carlos Santos (’16) found an edge around the sideline and, as he was tackled, shoveled the ball off to forward Josiah Chapman (’15) who raced passed the goal line for a try, which was followed by a conversion kick by fly-half Peter Murphy (’17). The game ended with a 12-12 tie.

Coach Horan enlisted the help of several Columbia rugby team members for the game against Stony Brook. Photo by Paul Murphy.

Coach Horan, who formerly served as head coach of Columbia's rugby club, was able to recruit several of the Columbia B team members to play as substitutes during the two games King's played against Stony Brook. The two teams bonded and the final game was the least penalized of any of the four that King’s played in the tournament. The King's Rugby team thanks Columbia for their camaraderie and sportsmanship.