Defense Wins as NMT Rugby Survives ASU Onslaught

Defense Wins as NMT Rugby Survives ASU Onslaught

November 8, 2017

SOCORRO, N.M. – “In all my 30 years in this sport, I’ve never seen anything like it,” said coach Brent Nourse following NMT Rugby’s narrow 10-5 victory over Arizona State University. 

Hosting ASU on Saturday, Nov. 4, Tech narrowly maintained their undefeated record, withstanding 60 minutes of relentless attack by the Sun Devils in the Tech defensive half, holding the visitors to only one unconverted try.

“That just doesn’t happen in rugby.  I have never seen it, and I have never heard of it.  The team started this season saying they wanted to be the best passing and best tackling team in the Union … and they were certainly the latter today,” Nourse said.

The match kicked off at 11 a.m., and NMT looked to be the better team in the opening minutes of the match. Tech inside center Josh Jaime opened the scoring for the match, touching down a try after receiving a superb off-load from man-of -the-match and Tech outside center J.R. Hart following his gashing run through the middle of the ASU backline in the eighth minute.

Tech winger Essiel “E.Z.” Carrasco scored NMT’s second try 4 minutes later.  Defending deep in its own half, Tech managed to regain possession of the ball from an ASU ruck. Tech quickly moved the ball to Carrasco waiting on the right wing, and Carrasco ran the ball 80 meters into the ASU try-zone.

Following Tech’s second try, however, ASU dominated possession and territory for the remainder of the match. Tech spent the last 25 minutes of the first half defending their try-zone against wave after wave from the Sun Devils. Finally, in the 35th minute, ASU managed to score an unconverted try in the corner, which resulted from a defensive miscue by NMT. At the half, NMT led 10-5.

The second half started as the first half ended. Plagued by numerous penalties and a few ball handling mistakes, Tech could not advance the ball into ASU territory. ASU, on the other hand, enjoyed 90 percent of the possession, and spent most of the second half within 15 meters of Tech’s goal line.  For almost the entire 40 minutes of the second half, Tech engaged in continuous goal line defense.

“It was like running into a wall,” ASU’s fullback said after the match.  “We would try one thing … it wouldn’t work, so we’d try a different approach, which also didn’t work.”

“I have never seen defense as stout as we showed today,” Nourse said. “It is just unheard of for a team to defend in their goal area for 60-plus minutes and only allow one unconverted try.”

With the victory, NMT Rugby remains undefeated for the year.