Men's DI College

Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Monday, 14 April 2014 16:42    PDF Print Write e-mail
Varsity Cup First Round Produces Plenty of Points, Excitement
Colleges - Men's DI College

The first round of the Varsity Cup is in the books. Both Texas and Utah won on the road while Dartmouth and UCLA won comfortably on their home fields.

Dartmouth v Clemson

Madison Hughes raised Dartmouth's level on his return. Todd Bauders, Contrast Photo.
Utah moves on. David Barpal photo.

UCLA is set to face Cal for the third time this season. James Faccinto photo.

The first Varsity Cup match featured a high scoring affair with Dartmouth defeating Clemson 59-24.

With a heavy wind at their back in the first half, Dartmouth jumped out to an early lead on a Madison Hughes try. Hughes received a great offload from freshman flyhalf Dawit Workie and scampered 40 yards for a try under the posts. It was the first of his three tries to lead the Big Green.

Several minutes later Dartmouth doubled up thanks to a tremendous skip pass thrown by Hughes. Hughes found winger Kevin Clark who easily out flanked his counterpart giving Dartmouth a 12-0 advantage. Hughes' second conversion gave the Big Green a 14-0 lead.

Clemson battled back thanks in large part to there very mobile and strong pack. It was clear from the onset that Clemson hoped to use their forwards to control the pace and momentum of the contest. Freshman Number 8 Jimmy Damm had a tremendous game, notching Clemson's first try. A powerful runner, Damm added a second try later in the contest.

Clemson made the fatal mistake of allowing the ensuing kickoff to bounce. They subsequently took a penalty giving the Big Green a lineout inside their own 22. Dartmouth capitalized immediately via Hughes. Hughes broke the Clemson line with a shifty side step and dotted down under the posts for Dartmouth's third converted try.

Hughes finished off his hat trick with four minutes to go in the half and Brian Flint added another Dartmouth score two minutes later for a 33-5 lead.

Clemson continued to battle cutting the deficit just before halftime. A great grubber kick from fullback Grant Keers allowed the Tigers to score and gain some momentum going into the break. The halftime score was 33-12 in favor of Dartmouth.

Clemson came out strong to begin the second half with the wind at their backs. However, a turnover in the opponents 22 allowed Dartmouth outside center Robbie Anthony to make a long run leading to a Victor Muchatuta try.

Inconsistency and missed opportunity plagued Clemson all day. Each time Clemson gained some momentum, they allowed Dartmouth to regain momentum with easy scores.

The teams exchanged scores, and then the Clemson pack added another try. On the ensuing kickoff, Hughes cleverly fielded his own grubber kick in front of an unprepared Clemson side. Linking with Neil Greene Dartmouth moved down the field for another score.

The Dartmouth score seemingly ended Clemson's chances of getting back into the contest. To their credit, they continued to fight until the final whistle.

The game ended with the final score of 59-24. Clemson had no answers for Dartmouth explosive backline, yielding the most points they have given up all season.

Dartmouth will travel to Annapolis next weekend to take on BYU.

Texas vs Notre Dame

Texas Upended Notre Dame 55-33 for its first ever Varsity Cup win.

It was the dream start for a Texas squad that traveled all the way from Austin to South Bend by bus. Notre Dame fumbled the opening kickoff allowing one of the Texas players to scoop up the ball and dart his way through the Notre Dame defense for a converted try seconds into the match.

Within five minutes of the opening whistle, Texas added a second converted try giving them an early 14-0 lead.

Notre Dame, stunned by the early punch in the mouth, reset and started dictating the pace of play and added a try of their own. The sides then exchanged another set of tries resulting in a 19-12 lead for the Longhorns.

Towards the end of a mostly back and forth first half, Texas puts its stamp on the game. Scoring three unanswered tries before halftime and adding another post the break, the Longhorns created an insurmountable 43-12 lead.

Notre Dame continued to fight its way back into the game but ultimately fell 55-33 on their home turf.

Texas was able to break down a pretty disciplined defense thanks in large part to the patient play of freshman flyhalf Carson Youmen and quality support outlets after line breaks.

"Youman's attacking decisions were excellent." Coach Chris Hopps told reporters. "We were able to attack with support and offloaded at opportune times. Things just kind of clicked."

Flanker Raphael Lopez was awarded man of the match honors for his consistent line breaks. He scored a try and assisted on several others.

Texas has the long ride home to rejoice in its win but no knows it will have an even tougher contest against Navy next weekend.

"This was a big win for the program and I am really proud of our guys," Hopps added. "We know it will be an even more difficult next week but our guys are looking forward to the challenge."

Texas will travel to Annapolis to take on Navy.

Oklahoma v UCLA

UCLA overmatched a young and inexperienced Oklahoma side to the tune of a 77-12 victory.

UCLA jumped out to an early 24-0 lead before Oklahoma answered with a try at the twenty-minute mark. The Bruins controlled the momentum of the rest of the first half going into the break up 31-5.

Hooker Matt Frederickson and Number 8 Jackson Welch led a solid Bruin pack that dominated the set piece all day. UCLA dominated the scrum, especially on sooner put ins allowing UCLA to keep a majority of possession.

"We were very successful on set pieces. It allowed us to put consistent pressure on Oklahoma all day, Coach Scott Stewart told United World Sports.

In addition to the set piece, UCLA used a very effective kicking game to isolate the Oklahoma fullback. They forced several penalties and turnovers resulting in a handful of Bruin scores.

Oklahoma coach Jason Horowitz praised UCLA's ability to attack off of the broken play and penalties.

"Their technical ability and decision making was superb," Horowitz commented. "They were able to create many overloads and punish us for failing to keep our defensive shape."

Despite the lopsided score line, Stewart indicated that Oklahoma played a very physical game and were very fit as a team.

Due to injuries the Sooners only traveled with 19 players, including several that only one or two games of rugby experience. They were without Captain Michael Al-Jiboori and ended up finishing the game with 14 players due to several injuries during the game.

Although Oklahoma struggled to compete with UCLA, there is plenty of optimism moving forward. With only three seniors graduating, and a strong incoming freshman class, look for Oklahoma to continue to improve and make some noise in future Varsity Cups.

UCLA will host Cal next weekend in a matchup of bitter rivals.

Utah v Air Force

After falling to BYU in the Wasatch Cup a week earlier, Utah bounced back with a 71-24 trouncing of Air Force.

Air Force jumped out to an early lead with a streaking try on the flank. They broke the line several times and ended up dotting down for a 5-0 advantage.

Utah Coach Mark Brown stated, "we thought we were going to a have a dogfight on our hand but we were able to gain control of the game despite them scoring first."

Utah bounced back immediately and the floodgates opened after their first score. Scores came from various forms but Taylor Thomas scored four tries from his wing position.

Little things killed Air Force all afternoon. They missed several key tackles and suffered from poor defensive shape. Utah exposed the holes and Air Force was never able to recover.

Nata Lauti had a very solid day with the boot despite a stiff wind. Scott Strong and Matt Ball contributed solid games of rugby in the win.

The Utes were solid on set pieces stealing many Air Force scrum put-ins and lineouts. As a result, Air force struggled to gain any continuity. Offensively they relied heavily on individual efforts and could not keep up with the dynamic Utah attack.

Utah will travel to UCLA to take on Central Washington next weekend.

Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Monday, 14 April 2014 16:34    PDF Print Write e-mail
DIA Playoffs Set
Colleges - Men's DI College

The first two rounds of the DIA college playoffs are set, with eight teams slated to play in the first round this coming weekend, and the four winners going on to the quarterfinals on April 26.

The seedings have been based on USA Rugby's rankings, with St. Mary's (6-0 in California conference play) and Life (6-0 in Mid-South conference play) headlining the group that gets a bye to the quarterfinals.

Also from the Mid-South, Lindenwood (2-4) and Arkansas State (4-2) get the bye. This might seem charitable to Lindenwood, but the Lions four losses included this past weekend's 21-20 defeat at the hands of ASU, and losses to Life of 21-17 and 19-15.

The California Conference also gets extra teams into the playoffs, as Santa Clara (5-1), Cal Poly (4-2) and San Diego State (3-3) make the cut.

Also playing in the first round is Danveport, 0-6 in the Mid-South, but losing to three top teams by an average of only ten points, Colorado, Colorado State, and Wyoming from the West, and Army, which has been playing an independent schedule since the program's reinstatement on campus.

St. Mary's has dominated all year, and punished a very good Santa Clara team this past weekend. Michael Geib photo.Army, which pushed Navy a week ago and played well in other games had hoped to have done enough to get an invitation. In the West Conference, two of the four teams are in. Colorado has a game against Air Force left on the docket (scheduled for Tuesday April 15), but clinched the conference April 5, and that didn't change even after they lost 53-34 to surging Colorado State. CSU is 3-3, winning their last two games while scoring a total of 110 points.

Round 1 April 19
Game 1: Colorado St @ Santa Clara
Game 2: West Point @ Davenport
Game 3: San Diego St @ Colorado
Game 4: Wyoming @ Cal Poly

Round 2 April 26th
Game 5: Winner Game #1@ St Mary’s
Game 6:Winner Game #2 @ Lindenwood
Game 7:Winner Game #3 @ LIFE
Game 8:Winner Game #4 @ Arkansas St

Round #3 May 3
Winner Game  #5 vs Winner Game #6 (Higher see to host)
Winner Game #7 vs Winner Game #8 (Higher see to host)

Round #4 May 10
Championship Match

Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Monday, 14 April 2014 01:02    PDF Print Write e-mail
Dartmouth Moves on in Varsity Cup
Colleges - Men's DI College

Hanover, NH – Dartmouth moved on to the 2nd round of the Varsity Cup after handing Clemson a 59-24 defeat Saturday.

Dartmouth fullback and captain, Madison Hughes, opened the scoring in the 14th minute, taking a well-timed offload from Dawit Workie and scampering the remaining 40 meters untouched for the try. Hughes would total 29 points in the match from three tries and seven conversions. And Hughes's ability to set up his teammates was also on point.

Hughes hit Kevin Clark on the wing with a 20-meter pass for the team’s second and Clark's first of two tries on the afternoon. The Big Green maintained a balanced attack throughout the match that saw Brian Flint, Zack Fowler, Neil Greene and newcomer Victor Muchatuta touch down for tries as well.

"We were very pleased with the result against a good Clemson side," said Hughes. "They challenged us in lots of facets of the game, and we were pleased with how we responded to that. It was fantastic being back out on our beloved Brophy Field. It's an extremely special place to play rugby, and we loved having the chance to get a run out there in front of our loyal home support. Having our fantastic senior class get one more opportunity to play out there was awesome, and thankfully we got the result such a day deserved."

Senior locks Dylan Jones and Ned Kingsley spearheaded a strong Dartmouth defense as the Big Green held Clemson to a pair of tries in each half.

Senior Tyler Moragne was also a standout on the day as his consistent passing and decision-making from the scrumhalf position fueled a potent offense. The second half also saw several reserves get solid minutes. Good pressure at the contact point by Mike McDavid to cause turnovers complemented Phil Sheridan and Neil Greene’s successful efforts at the same task earlier in the match.

"The Varsity Cup is the premier collegiate XVs competition and to win a game in this tournament means a lot," said Dartmouth coach Gavin Hickie. "We felt we did well against a very organized and well-coached Clemson team. Once again, our seniors stepped up and delivered.

"We have a lot of work to do this week before we face BYU but we are very excited to face the Varsity Cup champions in Annapolis next week."

Dartmouth travels to Annapolis, where they take on BYU while Texas, 55-33 winners over Notre Dame, will take on hosts Navy.

Written by Alex Goff    Saturday, 12 April 2014 18:52    PDF Print Write e-mail
BYU Wins Rugby Bowl Over Tenacious Arizona State
Colleges - Men's DI College

Paced by two first-half tries each from their wings Jordan Lowry and Chris Wernli, BYU ran out to a 35-5 halftime lead and held on to win The Rugby Bowl 52-26 Saturday in Scottsdale, Ariz.

This was the first of what is expected to be a series of special rugby events in Arizona. Several thousand fans ringed the field at WestWorld of Scottsdale, in bleachers, their own seats, and in two huge tents. With bands, extensive concessions, and special events, The Rugby Bowl was a successful event before the game started, but the game helped, with the ASU Sun Devils competing despite being heavy underdogs.

"I've never played in an environment like this," said ASU hooker Tommy Boyle. "It was amazing."

BYU got on the board early after ASU started the game holding possession and carefully testing the BYU D. A floating pass wide for Arizona State was caught a little by the wind and Lowry nabbed it and raced in under the posts.

Flanker Ara Elkington cut through on a good line for the second try, and then Wernli torched the Sun Devils twice, and Lowry once more in the first half.

Wernli's second was after a long period of ASU pressure in the BYU 22. The Cougars defended well and turned the ball over, setting Wernli free. Flyhalf Johnny Lineham kicked all five conversions, including a couple of tough ones from the touchline.

At the end of the first half ASU worked the phases, with flanker Jack Corry and lock Eric Rygiel especially useful. Then, with space out wide flyhalf Keenan Mayfield sent a long pass to Boyle, the hooker, who wisely popped back inside the fullback Adam Sandstrom, who weaved his way over for the try.

That made it 35-5, but the rout wasn't on. ASU picked up their game in the second half.

"We work hard on our preparation and hydration and I think we were prepared for the hot weather," said Boyle.

"The thing about playing BYU is that they're so disciplined, and we needed to be disciplined, as well," added ASU Head Coach Gary Lane. "When we were disciplined, we scored, and I think we could have scored some more."

Sandstrom scored ASU's second, set up by a strike against the head in the scrum, and then am interception by center John Varvera started an attack that ended when Ryan Spiwak took it in under the posts. BYU scored through sub flanker Kody Thompson.

"We had the option of kicking to touch on the penalty but we quick-tapped and Johnny saw me on the outside and got it to me," said Thompson. "The first half was a lot of smashing it up. The second half we needed to send it wide more and we figured that out. We had some mistakes, too."

Thompson's try was important as the momentum shifted somewhat in ASU's favor. Mayfield added a try on some nifty footwork, but BYU scored late - Kyle Sumsion bulled through the middle, and Kyle Lontine scored two.

"Arizona really dug in their heels when we put the pressure on," said BYU's Ben Keith. "We put some pressure on them and I think we got some lucky breaks, as well. The main priority for us was making our first-up tackles."

"We got a lot of injuries, and we need to learn to prepare for the changes in the lineup," added flanker Ryker Haddock, who took a big hit in the first half.

Boyle, Sandstrom, Spiwak, Sebastian Sica, and Corry were all very strong for ASU.

"Our forwards worked so hard," said ASU Coach Lane. "If you told me at the beginning of the season that our forwards would be able to front up against BYU that way, I would have said no way, but they put in a tremendous amount of work."

BYU 52
Tries: Lowry 2, Wernli 2, Lontine 2, Thompson, Sumsion
Convs: Linehan 5, Webber

ASU 26
Tries: Ad. Sandstrom 2, Spiwak, Mayfield
Convs: Mayfield 3

Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Friday, 11 April 2014 20:54    PDF Print Write e-mail
Lineups Set for Rugby Bowl
Colleges - Men's DI College

Brigham Young University and Arizona State have named their lineups for The Rugby Bowl, a new showcase rugby event to be held in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The Rugby Bowl Spikes & Spokes is part of a series of events in the Scottsdale area, including a custom motorcycle rally, and a rugby fan tug-o'war.

Capped USA loose forward Kyle Sumsion leads a BYU team that is 13-1, losing only a close game against St. Mary's in February. Arizona State has been much more competitive than their 2-5 record might indicate. They pushed St. Mary's, beat Cal Poly, and pushed Utah and Arizona, as well.

The Rugby Bowl kicks off at West World in Scottsdale at 1pm Mountain Time.

1. David Collins
2. Scott Gowdy
3. Steve Saia
4. Will Taylor
5. Rob Cook
6. Ryker Haddock
7. Ara Elkington
8. Kyle Sumsion (C)
9. Luke Mocke
10. Johnathan Linehan
11. Jordan Lowry
12. Lelann Latu
13. Jared Whippy
14. Chris Wernli
15. Ryan Blaser

Kody Thompson
Terrence Motley
Dan Hubert
Ben Keith
Kyle Lontine
Joseph Nicholls
Josh Webber
Josh Anderson
Jonah Lessard
Joshua Whippy

Arizona State
1. Jared Humpries
2. Tommy Boyle
3. Sebastian Sica
4. Eric Rygiel
5. Kevin Harris
6. Nick Howard
7. Jack Corry
8. Ryan Koeler
9. Eric Brown
10. Keenan Mayfield
11. Alex Sandstrom
12. John Varvera
13. Ryan Spiwak
14. Jonas Serra
15. Adam Sandstrom

16. Conner McRae
17. Scott Coleman
18. Alex Kucher
19. Domonic Panga
20. Chris Egen
21. Aaron Blank
22. Gavin O'Connell
23. David Rivera

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