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GCU Men’s Rugby Lands Abundance of New Additions

GCU team huddle
August 30, 2021

O’Leary adds multitude of talent to 2021-22 roster

By: Zach Melcher/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff

New prospects. New potential.

A slew of new rugby players will join the Grand Canyon University Men’s Rugby team as they prepare for the 2021-22 season.

“I am very excited about my first true incoming class,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Sean O’Leary. “The incoming class is a mix of high school seniors, transfer students, and the ‘COVID class’ who took last semester off to remain eligible for the upcoming season.”

The excitement is eerily similar to last year, as the third-year coach can finally welcome his first full recruitment class.

The new recruits join the Lopes from a plethora of respectable rugby programs, including O’Leary’s first international recruit who hails from the United Kingdom.

O’Leary thinks the Lopes’ fans should be excited to see former USA Rugby U18 Boys High School All-American Ethan Van Tonder (Boise, ID) join the team. Tonder will be combining with a talented backline which now includes Marcus Terzoli from Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, CA), Lotu Pulu from the Kahului Warriors (Kahului, HI), Camrin Bonner from View Park High School (Los Angeles, CA), and Chris Buonarati, a transfer from conference rival St. Mary’s College of California.

The Lopes’ new additions have increased the talent and depth within the forward pack. Charlie Marshall from the Young Aztecs (San Diego, CA), Collin Knowlton of Culver Military Academy (Culver, IN), and Reese Prefontaine (transferring from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania) will add a mixture of size, strength, and technique in the front row.

O’Leary has also found more size, pace, and skill to add to the back five forwards with the likes of Ross Thurtell from Epsom College in the UK, Sean McElligott from San Francisco Golden Gate High School Rugby Club (CA), and Jared Taverez joining from Life West (Hayward, CA).

What’s next for these new Lopes? Competition.

“Our focus as a coaching staff is to get the guys on the same page as quickly as possible,” said O’Leary. “With our three-day minicamp starting September 3rd, and our first game only three weeks later, it’s going to be great fun.”

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