Rugby ambassadors compete in Croatia, Montenegro

Alumni rugby players served as Thunderbird ambassadors during their summer 2013 tour of Croatia and Montenegro. The group distributed more than 100 tour programs detailing Thunderbird’s story and mission, along with a QR code leading to Thunderbird’s website. The QR code also appeared on the custom bottle openers that the T-birds gave to their opponents after each match. “Part of our tour efforts has always been to expose new markets to Thunderbird and its relevance in today’s global business space,” said Thunderbird Alumni Rugby Association President Chuck Hamilton ’91.

In addition to its global outreach, the association supports the student rugby team by subsidizing its annual trip to Duke University and by distributing an electronic rugby resume book to alumni and corporate recruiters. “Several internships and jobs have come of this,” Hamilton said. The association relies on alumni gifts to fund these activities. An “injured reserves” sponsorship drive and a corporate sponsorship from Norwegian eyewear company Shades of Norway, founded by alumnus Henrik Lauritzsen ’09, supported the Southeast European rugby tour. “Our goal for the future is to increase alumni-owned corporate sponsorships, particularly within the artisan distillery and beverage space,” said Hamilton, who works for financial advisory and auditing firm Deloitte in Evanston, Illinois.

On the pitch Aug. 30 to Sept. 7, 2013, Thunderbird alumni kept the scores close against teams that included former national players. The T-birds lost 15-0 to a Croatian team, 10-0 to an Italian team, and 41-10 to a much younger Montenegrin team. “They were surprised we played as well as we did since we don’t train together,” Hamilton said.

Top caption: Chuck Peake ’90 leads the attack against Falconara RFC in Split, Croatia.

Thunderbird rugger Bill McColl ’86 takes down a Falconara ball carrier during a match in Croatia.

Members of Thunderbird’s alumni rugby team pose during their tour of Croatia and Montenegro.

Mohammed Abu Zeinab ’14 takes the ball up in Pogorica, Montenegro.

Thunderbird’s rugby team and fans enjoy a post-match feast in Split, Croatia.