St. Thomas Aquinas defeated Morton of Chicago in the championship match of the 64th Annual Gateway Ruggerfest in St. Louis, Mo for their third-straight Ruggerfest title.
With victories over St. Charles (24-0), Eureka (56-0) and Parkway United (42-8), the Saints advanced to the final against Morton. The Mustangs are the current tier-one Illinois state champions.
Morton started off well with their forwards pounding the smaller Saints defense. Aquinas Saints repelled a first half onslaught from the Mustangs and a stiff wind to take a 15-8 lead into halftime.
The Saints started the second half with the wind at their backs and kicked effectively for field position. The kicking game helped spread the field, and the Saints back line ran through the Mustang defense by using excellent ball movement and superior team speed.
The Mustangs countered with tight pack play, making tough yardage inside the Saints 22-meter line, but could not punch through the swarming Saints defense.
This was Aquinas’ second major tournament title defense this spring. Early in the season the Saints ran the gauntlet at the Green Country Rugby Showdown in Tulsa, Okla., defeating three teams from last season’s West playoffs: Union, Jenks H.S. Rugby Club and the Kansas City Junior Blues.
The Saints are looking forward to returning to Nationals this year and are hoping to improve on their seventh place finish in 2011.