More than 150 Southeastern Louisiana University alumni, students and regional rugby players and fans turned out Nov. 18 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of rugby in Hammond.
The match and barbecue reception that followed were held on the Southeastern football practice field adjacent to Strawberry Stadium.
Alumni came from both coasts, including Washington and Florida.
The match had nearly 40 players from ages 17 to 60 taking the field for the Gold team vs. the Green team.
The Gold team's advantage in early play causing a reshuffling of the lineup at halftime, a news release said. In the second half, the Green team proved much more competitive, cutting the Gold team’s lead in half. The game ended with a 20-10 Gold victory. Dustin Brown, Jason Rich and Clay Hyde each scored twice — a score is known as a try — and Brown was selected outstanding player of the game.
The match, supported by the Southeastern Alumni Association and Athletic Department, was designed to mark the anniversary of the second-oldest team in the Gulf South and to encourage a revival of the club sport on the Southeastern campus.
A news release said people hope to restore the Southeastern team and stimulate interest in reviving the Mardi Gras tournament, which was once the largest rugby tournament in the world, the release said. More than 200 teams from Australia to Japan regularly participated in the event that became so large it was held at the Hammond Regional Airport.
At the end of the anniversary match, players and alumni gathered at the center of the field to remember and honor former Southeastern standout rugby players such as the legendary Joe Foxx and team founder John Healy.
Recollections were provided by players from various generations of Southeastern rugby, including one who had played on the original 1967 team. Plans are underway for a follow up match in the spring.