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Charlotte Rugby Club headed to Final Four in Atlanta

The D2 Men Charlotte Rugby Club remains undefeated for the past three years.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The D2 Men's Charlotte Rugby Football Club is headed to Atlanta this weekend after clinching a spot in the Final Four of the National Championship.

Head coach, Craig Knight, said his team was able to beat out two Atlanta teams in the Georgia Rugby Union Championship. They then went on to win in Houston at the Gulf Coast Super Regional which earned them a spot down in Georgia. 

The D2 Men Charlotte Rugby Club remains undefeated for the past three years. Knight said the journey to get to where they are now was a long and hard one with the pandemic forcing everything on hold. 

"We were undefeated after 2019 into 2020 and when everything shut down, rugby stopped for about 18 months," Knight explained. "So we had to then get everyone back on [the same] page." 

Knight said several players either retired or moved, but said despite all of that, they were still able to create something special.

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"It's huge for us," Knight said. "It's been a three-year journey for us and it was just a culmination of it all. We're very, very proud." 

Knight, who was born in New Zealand, said as a young boy he was handed a rugby ball and a pair of boots. 

"So for me, it was a natural thing," Knight said. 

He said he's excited that the sport is now growing in the United States.

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"It's massive the fact that rugby is growing here," Knight said. "We'd love to see a professional team here but if this is the launching point for us to get rugby popular in Charlotte, then that must be that."

Blake Jackson, one of the players for the Charlotte Rugby Club said he and his teammates are ready for the National Championship this weekend and said it's been three years in the making.

"Three years of hard work is all coming down to one weekend," Jackson said. "We're finally here to get our trophy that we feel we earned and deserve for a while now."

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Samuel Patterson, another player, said he's proud of his team and the way they have supported each other during the season.

"It's a destiny for some of these guys and we want to just owe it to them and owe it to all the boys who have supported us throughout the journey," Patterson said. 

All of the athletes apart of the Charlotte Rugby Club are not paid. If you want to help support the team, you can do so through this GoFundMe page.

"None of these players are paid to play for us," Knights explained. "So it's all just by their own merit and their own money."

Contact Meilin at mtompkins@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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