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CLOVIS, N.M. March 28, 2011 – The New Mexico Tech Rugby Club's trip home Saturday was a long one after bowing to the Clovis Nomads 31-10 on the road Saturday. For the first time in several years the Socorro side failed to deliver a full complement of 15 players which not only forced reliance on the generous loan of three reserve players from the home team, but also ruled out any substitutions over the 80 minutes of play.
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Referee Fred Yarger indicates the point of a Clovis Nomad infraction as Tech lock forward Jordan Fastle prepares to tee the ball for his successful penalty kick in Tech’s 31-10 loss in Clovis Saturday. Looking on are teammates Jerod Aragon (left) and Stephen Albritton.

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Enrique Koerdell turns for support from his New Mexico Tech rugby teammates as two Clovis Nomads move in for the tackle.

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Tech rugby fullback Isaiah Sanchez splits the defense in Clovis Saturday.  Photos by Dave Wheelock/New Mexico Tech

Experienced prop forward James Chavez was named Tech's Man of the Match for his determined play while filling in at a flank forward position.

The Pygmies, whose spring record falls to 5-2, will next see action on April 16 when they host the Socorro Challenge Challenge, a 10-man invitational including sides from New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Brujos of Albuquerque.

A women's component of the Challenge will feature the fledgling New Mexico Tech Queens and the Lady Chiles of New Mexico State University.

Tech turned in a disjointed performance that reflected their mix of strength in the seven-man back line complement relative to their inexperience and evident lack of conditioning amongst the eight ball-contesting forward positions (where two of the borrowed Clovis players set up shop). The Pygmies managed only one five-point try scored by No.  8 forward Jerod Aragon and a three-point penalty kick by fellow forward Jordan Fastle. Fastle also kicked the two-point conversion of Aragon's try. Clovis scored three tries in the first half and added two more in the second while adding successful conversion kicks to three of their scores.

The Nomads struck after just two minutes of play under sunny and mostly calm conditions with temperatures in the low 70s. Following up on a long kick downfield, the hosts recovered possession after Tech failed to safely kick the ball out of bounds, allowing captain Justin Long to touch down between the Pygmies' goalposts. Clovis led 7-0 after the successful conversion kick.

One of Tech's few bright moments occurred minutes later when a Clovis player who had carried the ball across Tech's try line was prevented from forcing the ball to the ground as required by rugby law through the efforts of three Pygmy defenders. But the effort proved futile as the Nomads scored soon after being awarded a scrum five meters from the line.

Fastle connected with a three-point penalty kick from 30 meters after a Clovis infraction and Clovis added another try for a 19-3 halftime count.

In the second half Clovis took advantage of Tech's flagging forward scrummagers by running the ball close to the scrums and forcing the collegian backs out of position to make tackles. The Nomads scored their fourth try from a close range scrum when the third pass came to an unmarked man who skated across the line untouched.

Tech struck back after 14 minutes when 270-pound prop Stephen Albritton ran through several hopeful tacklers before passing to forwards captain Jerod Aragon, who motored away to score on the left side. Fastle's kick made the score 26-10, but Clovis soon shut the door with their fifth try, an unconverted effort that brought the final score to 31-10.

-- NMT --

Dave Wheelock/Tech Rugby Director