New Mexico Tech Ruggers Win Going Away

New Mexico Tech totally outclassed a combined Colorado team in their rugby match in Albuquerque Saturday, scoring 94 points to zero. The teams met on the manicured surface of the Balloon Fiesta Park as part of the inaugural Rugby Saturday program, featuring high school girls and boys, collegiate, and men's club division matches on a weekly basis throughout the spring.

Located on the high sagebrush plain of the San Luis Valley, Adams State University in Alamosa, Colo., is several hours' drive from the nearest rugby club. Home matches are hard to come by, which affects the ability to recruit and maintain a team strong in numbers or experience. The same is true at Ft. Lewis College in Durango, so the teams combined to challenge New Mexico Tech in the Duke City.

In the event the northerners were not prepared for a rugby team in its tenth week of training for a more conventional rugby campaign, even less a team on a three-game win streak. The visitors might have sensed they were in trouble when Tech stole the ball from the match's opening kickoff, recycled possession through a couple of tackles, and through accurate passing launched first-year forward Dave Parsons across the line for a five-point try. Javier Koerdell booted the extra two points for a 7-0 Tech lead after one minute of play.

Adams State/Ft. Lewis bravely played on, but by halftime the Pygmy score sheet read 52 points on a hat trick of tries by Parsons and additional tallies by center Tanner Graham (2), fullback Javier Koerdell, flyhalf John Mark Stiles, and forward Nigel Ruckhaus. Two-point conversion kicks were contributed by Koerdell (2), Ruckhaus (4), and Stiles.

As there is no known way to "let up" in rugby football, the onslaught continued after halftime. To their credit AS/FLC kept tackling, while the Pygmies showed class and discipline through pinpoint passing and effective choice of attacking options. By the time it was all over, six Tech players had touched down (Graham, Jake Maxey, Kris Ford, Ruckhaus, Koerdell, and Blaine Trujillo), with all tries converted by either Maxey (2), Koerdell (2), Ruckhaus, or Graham.

Adams State coach Derrick Tapusoa, a native of Auckland, New Zealand, viewed the day optimistically. "We'll chalk this one down to experience and go on" commented the former flank forward as the two teams sat down to a post-match dinner at a nearby restaurant. Like anyone who's grown up in such a rugby-mad nation, Tapusoa knows good things come to those who persevere.

Center Kris Ford was tapped as Man of the Match for New Mexico Tech for his outstanding ball distribution and sure tackling.

On April 16 the Pygmies will defend the Rio Grande Rugby Union collegiate division championship they won in April 2015. Tech will be seeded number two after the University of New Mexico in a four-team tournament kicking off at approximately 9:00 am on the NMT rugby pitch. The Lobos beat Tech 32-8 in their spring opener on February 6. Since then Tech has defeated number three University of Texas – El Paso (49-42) and New Mexico State University (46-17).

– NMT –

By Dave Wheelock/Tech Rugby Director