Youthful Rugby Team Faces ChallengesSANTA FE, N.M. September 9, 2010 – The challenge is unmistakable for the New Mexico Tech Rugby Club.
The Pygmies won just one of three collegiate matches at the 38th annual Santa Fe Tens Tournament over the Labor Day weekend. The Tech team will return to the capital city Saturday, Sept. 11, to take on the Santos, perennial powers in the Rio Grande Union men's division.
New Mexico Tech sports a relatively unproven lineup this season following the graduation of several influential players in the past year. Gone are lineout specialist Matt Kretz, defensive standout Bart Hegarty, last year's scrumhalf and Player of the Year Jay Herrera, and powerhouse runner Nick Aldape, currently playing rugby in the Taranaki region of New Zealand.
While a generous number of fresh candidates have arrived on the Tech campus, just three weeks into their practice schedule the Pygmies have plenty of development ahead.
Last Sunday in Santa Fe, the Pygmies started their campaign with an easy win over a combination 10-man team composed of their own rookies plus the host Santos' "B" side players. The first team Techies overwhelmed the "Pygtos" 48-0. Competition stiffened considerably in the second match against downstate rivals New Mexico State. Tech led 12-0 at the half, but was outscored 17-0 from that point to disappoint themselves, 17-12. In their third and final match of the day the Pygmies played their best rugby of the day but were eliminated by the University of New Mexico 26-7.
UNM went on to defeat NMSU for the Santa Fe Tens collegiate title, the Atomic Sisters beat NMSU in the women's championship, and the Albuquerque Aardvarks beat crosstown rivals Brujos Rugby Club in the club division final.
The weekend in Santa Fe was highlighted by dedication of the city's Municipal Rugby Complex, featuring two dedicated rugby pitches, and observance of the first 40 years of rugby in the state. Members of the original New Mexico Rugby Club of 1970 joined with succeeding generations of ruggers for a Saturday night banquet served on the MRC patio.
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By Dave Wheelock/Tech Rugby Director