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Tech Ruggers Routed in Tucson

Tech Ruggers Routed in Tucson

Fall 66-0 to nationally-ranked Arizona

TUCSON, Ariz. – The New Mexico Tech Rugby Club fell hard to the University of Arizona Saturday in Tucson, 66-0. Traveling eight players short of the allowable 23-man roster, the chronically undermanned NMT squad found their skills and teamwork also wanting against the Wildcats.

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The NMT Rugby team members who traveled to Tucson on Saturday. 

 

The match represented a rare opportunity for the small college ruggers to experience firsthand the skills, pace, and intensity of USA Rugby’s collegiate division 1-A, where the Wildcats are ranked No. 14. If there was solace to be had, it lay in the fact the New Mexicans largely stanched the rout in the second half, allowing two five-point tries versus the eight-try feast the Wildcats enjoyed in the first 40 minutes while very nearly ending their drought as time ran out.

Arizona used a textbook approach to get on the board early and often in the first half, using their eight forwards to gain and keep control of the ball before launching seven well-coordinated backline players to touch down eight tries, six of them converted for a 52-0 bulge. Twenty minutes into the contest NMT looked gassed, but they answered the bell after the five-minute halftime break to put in a better show in the second half.

Nigel Ruckhaus, Stephen Albritton, Jeremy Hart, and Christian Rode repeatedly secured ball possession through Tech’s unique lineout (inbounds throws) system and the team managed to exert a threat through stabbing runs close to the preceding tackle. But each sequence was eventually snuffed out for lack of the accuracy demanded by Arizona’s unrelenting pressure. For their part Arizona converted their two tries to complete an eight-of-ten kicking day. The final whistle blew as NMT Man of the Match sophomore captain Tanner Graham plunged over the try line in the arms of several Wildcats, who successfully prevented him from grounding the ball for what would have been Tech’s consolation try.

Following their up-close view of big college rugby, NMT will no doubt be glad to be home April 15 for a round-robin championship tournament against the Rio Grande Union’s top collegiate teams, top-ranked University of New Mexico and No. 3 seeded University of Texas at El Paso. Play will continue throughout the day with the championship match in the afternoon.

– NMT –

By Dave Wheelock/NMT Rugby director