Admit it, you don’t think New Orleans has a shot.
Admit it, you didn’t think they had a shot in USA Rugby’s DI Club quarterfinals when they played Midwest champions Metropolis (New Orleans won 15-10), and you probably didn’t expect them to dispatch Mid-Atlantic champs PAC 59-8.
No one thinks New Orleans will beat OPSB this weekend, but that’s OK, they can handle that.
“All through the year we’ve been learning and improving,” said captain Jeff Reuther. “We played Life in the Fall and got beat pretty bad, but we took a lot of lessons out of that. And then we played them in the Spring, and while they beat us again, it was a lot closer and we took more lessons out of that. We learn from our mistakes, we work hard, and we’ve really come together as a team.”
Reuther is the leader of the team, but they have enjoyed some big performances from wing Adam Ducoing and especially No. 8 Nick Benvenutti, who leads the defensive effort and is a terror with the ball in hand.
But Reuther said, the key is a united effort from a team that no one expects to win.
“The main thing is our fitness,” said Reuther. “Our team defense is good, but it comes from our fitness. We expect to finish a game well and the defense is a team thing. It’s how we’ve come together, and how we keep getting better.”
If New Orleans shocks everyone and wins DI, they will have won a national title in three separate divisions in three consecutive years. They did it a weird way, winning DII with their 1st team in 2011, DIII with their 2nd team in 2012, and now, with their 1sts again, are looking at, at the very least, a top four finish.