By Derek DeBurger

Louisville has won their first-ever National Championship in spring 7’s rugby at the Division I club level. Louisville’s championship comes after back-to-back years finishing as the national runner-up in fall 15’s, including one near-perfect season.

The Cards entered the Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC) tournament as the top overall seed, with one of the best players in the country in Liam Johnson.

In the first round, Louisville handled the Salisbury Sea Gulls 42-5. In the second round, the Cards once again routed their opponent, the Columbia Lions, 31-0 to advance to the national semi-finals.

Louisville faced the Tennessee Volunteers in the semi-finals. The Vols presented the toughest challenge for the Cards, as they just eked out a 12-0 victory. National championship bound, Louisville was set to face the NC State Wolfpack. They capped off their dominant CRC run by shutting out the Wolfpack to win 29-0 in the championship game, only giving up a combined five points the entire tournament.

Johnson was named the MVP of the national championship game and was one of just seven players to make the All-Tournament team.

With Johnson still having two years of eligibility and a highly touted incoming recruiting class, the Cards are poised to keep their momentum going for years to come.

Co-head coaches Emil Walton and Cameron Bernard said in a statement, “A lot of people following the program knew this was a long time coming… after twice being the national runners up in 15’s, we had that in our back pocket. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. This time was different.”

Louisville’s first championship is just a start for a hungry program, and it just might position them to become the next powerhouse in club rugby.

Photo Courtesy // Sean Hale, Jess Rapfogel, Allison Lim (Collegiate Rugby Championship)