With all the big name schools appearing at the Rugby CRC, not many people outside the rugby community would have anticipated that Life University would appear in the Championship Cup final. Rather, they would say “There is a Life University?” A small university, located in Marietta Georgia, Life specializes in Chiropractic studies. With less than 1000 students , Life is not known as a sports powerhouse.
Except for Rugby.
Head 7s Coach Tui Osborne explained that all they do at Life is “eat and breath rugby.”
The passion for the sport is clearly exhibited by both the players and the fans. In their neon green and black shirts, several hundred Life supporters traveled the distance to see their boys play in the competition. A special moment occurred after the final where the entire Life Team jumped into the stands to thank their loyal supporters. The relationship between fan and player clearly unites this tight knit community. To them all, rugby is a source of pride.
(It's also worth noting that, despite some people claiming that many of the Life players are older than their respective opponents, all of Life’s players are under 23 years old. This was a true undergaduate team.)
Captain Colton Carriaga said that the coaching staff is the most important factor in their success, but Osborne deflects such compliments.
“It's easy to implement a game plan or make in-game adjustments when you have quality players,” he said Regardless, Life is successful because they have a coaching staff that understands the intricacies of the game and a group of talented young men that have the ability to do the two most important things in rugby handle the ball and make their tackles.
"Tui's our 7s coach, and he runs the show," said Life Director of Rugby Dan Payne. "He took this team right after the DIA final and got them together, got them in ten days got a pattern together to get them ready to compete. He's maturing and growing all the time, and he's invaluable to us and he's going to be coaching at Life for a long time if I have anything to say about it."
With great coaching that is expected to stick around, and a plethora of talented athletes, it is no surprise that Life University won the D1A national title. But to then turn around and make the CRC final, and finish strongly in the second half of that final, only to lose by a try, just two weeks later is a truly noteworthy accomplishment.