"World masters: UCD Smurfit take title", The Irish Times, April 18, 2011
THE UCD (University College Dublin) Smurfit School were recently crowned MBA rugby world champions after winning a bruising tournament in America.
The team captained by Robert Downes and coached by Barry Gibney cut a swathe through several American universities and one English one to take the title.
They beat their hosts Duke (22-12), the University of Texas (35-12), UCLA Cal state (22-7) before holding off Wharton (17-14) in a hard fought quarter-final, literally as two Smurfit players required hospital treatment, while the Pennsylvania team also had two players receive a red card.
Tight encounters were to become a feature of the knock-out stages as the Dublin college edged past the London Business School 12-8, claiming victory with a last-minute try.
The final, against Harvard, was another nail biting affair with UCD Smurfit holding out following a series of five-metres scrums to prevail 13-10.
It was definitely a thoroughly merited and hard-earned success following 320 minutes of uncompromising rugby over three days. Seapoint’s Stephen Verso was the only member of the squad who regularly plays AIL rugby...