2 Lopes also among nation’s Freshmen of the Year
Nearly half of the all-Gold Coast Conference of Intercollegiate Rugby’s first team was comprised of Grand Canyon University men’s rugby players.
That also constituted nearly half of their 15s team’s starters from the past season. Eleven Lopes men’s rugby players were honored to the all-Gold Coast Conference first team, second team or honorable mention list . Seven made the first team: Lincoln Sii, Joseph, Kooiman, Avery Longrie, Connor Fischman, Dru Pelter, Maceo Brown and Brent Williams.
GCU captain Darien Pickett was selected to the all-Gold Coast Conference second team while Matt Barber, Nick Heinrich and Brendon Curle were all-conference honorable mentions.
Curle, a flyhalf, and Lopes teammate Roddy Hamilton, a lock, also were among the 23 Freshmen of the Year that FloRugby selected for U.S. collegiate rugby.
“Brandon Curle is one of the most talented players in the United States,” Lopes men’s rugby head coach Cameron Wyper said. “He just had so many injuries this year. On the field, he is super talented. With a summer to have his body recover, he will have his body right and be able to do a full season.”
Hamilton, Pickett and fellow GCU returning players Brian Carlson and Rob Halverson are training in Australia this summer.
“He came in as a pretty solid player and improved with every game he stepped on the field,” Wyper said. “He was a solid player by the end of the season. He could do all the grubby work to get through the game.”
The Lopes, a national semifinalist in Division I-AA 15s, also finished the 7s season with a No. 17 national ranking from FloRugby.
After taking sixth place at the USA Rugby College 7s National Championship in June, GCU’s Austin Taefu was among 12 players picked by TheRugbyChannel.TV to the The Rugby Commentators Dream Team for the Division I tournament.