SOCORRO, N.M. October 3, 2012 – The autumn 2012 matchup between New Mexico Tech’s Pygmy Rugby Club and Albuquerque’s New Mexico Brujos indicated things have come full circle in the past few years. Where in seasons past success for the perennially smaller collegians has depended on their ability to direct play away from the Albuquerque club side’s heavier forward pack of eight, on Saturday in Socorro it was the visitors who capitalized on long runs around the defensive perimeters. At the end of 80 sweltering minutes of play, the Brujos had won 60-21.
Filling in as Tech’s head captain for the injured Enrique Koerdell, Brock Romero scored two five-point tries for the home team. Center Jason Lee touched down the first of Tech’s three tries while Jordan Fastle drilled two conversion kicks and Romero one more. No. 8 forward Blaine Trujillo created Lee’s score with a nifty pass near the line while Socorro native James Chavez contributed to both Romero tallies. Chavez was recognized as the Pygmies’ Man of the Match for his contributions at two different positions in a tough match.
Tech’s inbound line-outs were much improved from a disappointing loss to New Mexico State University a week ago as Chavez’s throws repeatedly connected with leaping sophomore flanker Sean Mussell. J.W. Thompson and Ryan Barnes both performed admirably for a half in their first scrum assignments in the hooker position. The Pygmies also performed better in post-tackle situations – when they made their tackles. Their wizened opponents, featuring three former Pygmies including 2009-2010 NMT Player of the Year Jay Herrera, utilized experience accumulated since college to move the ball to areas of the pitch left undefended by their young rivals. While the Albuquerque team cruised comfortably in the second half an exhausted Pygmies side increasingly missed telling tackles that left veteran fullback Isaiah Sanchez frustrated as the tackler of last resort. The final whistle appeared to be a relief for the tired Pygmies who nevertheless lined up for photographs with their rivals in the rugby tradition of conviviality.
Both of Tech’s rugby teams, the Queens and Pygmies, will travel to Flagstaff, Ariz., October 6 and 7, to compete in the Northern Arizona Tens Tournament, North America’s longest-running 10-member rugby tournament. For information contact Dave Wheelock at email@example.com.
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By Dave Wheelock/Tech Rugby Director