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Saint Louis University won the inaugural Gateway Collegiate Rugby Conference Championship Sunday in St. Louis, Mo., beating Southern Illinois 14-9 in the final. 

SLU advanced to the title match by beating Central Missouri 43-10 in a semifinal Saturday. The Salukis beat Principia 33-19 in the other semifinal. The Billikens went 6-0 in the Gateway's regular season last fall.

With the championship, SLU wins an automatic bid to the DII Sweet 16 and will play in the Madison, Wisc. region April 6-7. SLU will be making its third trip to the Sweet 16 in four years. They were bounced in the Round of 16 by just four points by eventual National Champs Claremont Colleges in 2010, and they made it back to Nationals in 2011. 

Southern Illinois intends to apply for an at-large bid to the Sweet 16.

Three more automatic bids are up for grabs this spring for the champs of the Cardinals, Southern and WIIL conferences. The Cardinals semifinals and finals are April 13-14, the WIIL semifinals and finals are April 6-7, and the Southern Conference is in the middle of regular season play.

Regionals April 27-28     Final Four May 11-12
*clinched playoff spot
NE (Pittsburgh, PA) Mid-Atl. (Pittsburgh, PA) South (Knoxville, TN) MW (Madison, WI)
Colgate* Rowan* Cardinals Saint Louis U.*
IUP* Salisbury* Southern UM-Duluth*
Coast Guard* Marist* At Large WIIL
Providence* At Large At Large At Large