Rugby: Solid team effort leads to victories

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Nick Carabello
Contributing Writer

--------------------Photo by Luke Hollomon--------------------Junior Peter O’Brien struggles to break through the UTD defense as the Hoggies try to gain possession of the ball. The Hoggies won the game against UTD with a stellar 64-12.

The University of Dallas Rugby Club has started the season right by defeating both Southern Methodist University and University of Texas at Dallas (not UD) over the past two weeks. The game against SMU was well played and the score ended up 27-19 in favor of the Hoggies.

On Saturday, the Groundhogs won again, this time 64-12 against UT-D. Despite having fewer numbers, the Hoggies’ experience made up for their lack of numbers, and a try was scored in the first few minutes of the game by Thomas “Schwinn” Nelson. For the rest of the first half, UT-D was unable to maintain possession of the ball.  The Groundhogs dominated the field, winning most line outs and scrums. However, what gave the Groundhogs the most time with the ball was how they played.

In any sport it is difficult to play as one unit, and rugby is no exception (if not even more difficult). Saturday’s game quieted any such doubts about this year’s team as they displayed time and again their ability to play together with effect. Often when a man would go down, a fellow player would be present to ruck over him or take the ball himself and drive forward. On open ground the ball was passed accurately and regularly allowed for smooth play. This teamwork allowed the Hoggies to outplace and outplay their opponents and drive down the pitch at a swift and inexorable pace.

Once on the try line, the Groundhogs quarterbacked incessantly, a simple system in which a player runs forward and brings the ball down to the ground and is then rucked over, or secured, by the man behind him. It is the rugby equivalent of a battering ram and slowly wears down or drives back the opposing team until a try is scored. The Groundhogs used this strategy to great effect on Saturday, scoring six tries against UT-D in the first half alone.

UT-D quickly sent in reinforcements to replace their beaten and wearied teammates, and with the new bodies, scored early in the second half. The Groundhogs retaliated quickly and scored, but they were too wearied to prevent UT-D from scoring a second time. Finding a second wind, the Hoggies drove hard against their opponents to end the game with two more tries and a final score of 64-12.

Those who scored tries in Saturday’s game were Zach “No Tan-lines” Kraus, Todd “Longshanks” Jacobson, Patrick “Patar” Rowles, Alex “Freshman” Cerza, Graham “Freshman” Rieman, Steve “Spider Monkey” Gaetano, Thomas “Schwinn” Nelson, and Tyler “Host Meister” Burr. All of their tries were complemented by the points of John “Dead Eye” Bascom, who only missed one of nine goal-kicks in the whole game. Also it should be noted that the “Man of the Match” went to Mike “I’m out of nicknames” McEwen.

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