Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
by Ted Hardy, Editor, Rugby America
As teams take another step closer to the college rugby playoffs, we are not going to bore you with tales of 100 point beatings from teams that are on a crash course to face each other in the CPD finals.
However, there were some very good games across the board this weekend. The action in the Atlantic Coast was previously chronicled, so here is a look at everything else.
The Rugby East Conference continues to deliver some of the best pound-for-pound games in the college rugby. This weekend, the two service academies, Army & Navy, did their part to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
Navy 29 Penn State 12 – Blake Taylor scored two tries to lead the Middies past visiting Penn State who was previously unbeaten.
Army 32 Dartmouth 23 – Four different players scored tries and Will Holder added two penalty kicks for the Cadets.
Kutztown 68 Ohio State 24 – The Golden Bears get their first CPD victory as Kutzown’s Tim Acker tallied three tries, two penalty kicks and six conversions to lead the Bears past the Buckeyes.
In the Mid-South Conference, the Arkansas State/Life game was on everyone’s mind and for good reasons… it was going to be a good one from the day the schedule was released.
Arkansas State 28 Life 26 – Another good call on the Barnburner of the Week from USA Rugby. The game lived up to its billing and went right down to the wire. The Red Wolves jumped out to a 25-5 lead before Life roared back in the second half. ASU’s Pat Sullivan slotted three penalties and two conversions and scored a try. His penalty in the 75th minute gave the Red Wolves the win.
Texas A&M 13 Notre Dame 6 – Another darn good game in the Mid-South, Michael Mills was responsible for all of Texas A&M’s points and scored a try & conversion in the 63rd minute to win it for the Aggies in South Bend. Sean Peterson converted two penalty kicks for the Irish.
Tennessee 37 Oklahoma 22 – A very good road win for Tennessee as Mason Howard scored three tries to lead the Vols to a win in Norman. Brad Henry notched a pair of tries for the Sooners.
In the Western Conference, there wasn’t much to get excited about although the Utah/Arizona game was looking good for a while.
BYU 123 Wyoming 3 – Prop Ray Forrester scored five tries and Ryan Roundy scored three to lead the Cougars to the win.
Utah 48 Arizona 19 – The game started out promising, but Utah pulled away. Sione Lauti paced the Utes with 18 points on a try, four conversions and a penalty kick.
Arizona State 40 Colorado State 10 – No. 8 Travis Hughes scored three tries for the Sun Devils and was ASU’s man of the match for the third time this season.
Air Force 36 Colorado 15 – The Zoomies got tries from five different players, including a pair from Anthony Ruize, to outdistance the Buffaloes at Infinity Park. Alex Oesterle scored twice for CU.
The Pacific Conference didn’t produce any surprises, but UC Davis did put a bit of a scare in conference contender, Central Washington.
Central Washington 36 UC Davis 25 – CWU got a pair of tries from Tim Stanfill and 11 points off the toe of Ryan Hamilton to score a road win over Davis.
St. Mary’s 57 Cal Poly-SLO 17 – Tim Maupin scored three times and Michael Haley and Jake Holguin scored a pair each for the Gaels.
Cal 100 UCLA 0 (Friday) – In game one of Cal’s double header weekend, seven players notched tries for the Bears. Dustin Muhn and James McTurk each scored three times.
Cal 62 Claremont 7 (Sunday) – Sean Gallinger scored three times for the Bears as Cal completed a weekend sweep in Los Angeles.
Staying in California, but out of the CPD, Stanford locked up a trip to the Division I Round of 16 with a 39-18 win over Santa Clara. Stanford got tries from six different players in the victory.
‘I’m very proud of our team. We had a solid performance today to beat an improved Santa Clara team, but more importantly we have made steady improvements all season to be able to win our league and now compete in the playoffs,” said Stanford Head Coach Matt Sherman.
“Nonetheless, we also believe that we have far more to give, and great room to improve further, and I’m excited to see how much further we can develop until the playoffs in four weeks.”
Stanford will play at the West Coast Regional on Saturday April 30 and Sunday May 1st. They await their opening opponent. The match will feature the winner of the Western Rugby Conference (likely University of New Mexico or University of Northern Colorado). The other side of the bracket will have UC Santa Barbara and Oregon State.
Moving down the road to Southern California, Loyola Marymount University defeated University of San Diego 30-10 in a match which essentially was a contest to determine who would take second place in the Southern California Men’s D1 completion as UCSB clinched the division title the night prior by defeating USC convincingly.
The bonus point win by the Lions insured that Loyola Rugby mathematically secured 2nd place in the league table. Next week they face league leader UCSB at home on Sullivan Field.
“The team was hit with a number of injuries in the late fall and early on in the league season”, said Head Coach Larry Docimo.
“We asked multiple freshman to step up during that period, and they did very well. Before spring break we challenged the team to finish strong, and today’s result was an indication that the team doesn’t want to stand down regardless of the fact that mathematically we can’t get to nationals by winning the league. That said, next week poses a massive challenge.”
Team Captain and All-American hooker Zach Fenoglio was the man-of-the-match marshaling the team superbly playing at tight head prop.
“Zach secured our scrum very well playing tight head and resulted in us stealing a few against the head, but overall his leadership as captain was essential to the overall team performance,” said forwards coach Tim Hock.
Back up the coastline north, the Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference is nearing completion on their inaugural season. The only real blemish this weekend was Canadian side, Simon Fraser posting a forfeit when they couldn’t travel to face Washington State.
University of British Columbia 114 Western Washington 0 – UBC must have felt left out seeing Cal and BYU crack the century mark. Sean Ferguson posted two tries and 5/9 on conversions for UBC. Twelve different players for UBC recorded tries.
University of Oregon 33 University of Washington 10 – The Duck’s Nate Deslisle scored one try and added a conversion in the victrory. Oregon’s Greg Folk records first drop goal in NCRC history.
Oregon State 59 Eastern Washington 24 – Mitch Farghar records a hat trick for the Beavers as they come back from halftime deficit for the win. The win inches Oregon State ever so closer to the Division I playoffs.
Congratulations to the NCRC Player of the Week: Francois Du Toit of the University of British Columbia scored two tries and went 6/8 on conversions for an NCRC record 22 points against Western Washington on Saturday.