From September 2 – November 13th, we’ve been training three and sometimes four days a week, doing fitness, skill development and strength training, all in order to give ourselves the opportunity to win the one league match in the fall, EWU. This past Saturday the club was successful in it’s goal, winning both first and second side matches.
Having graduated 17 seniors last year, and only having 2 seniors this year, we knew it wasn’t going to be a perfect day. The game started off a bit shaky, both figuratively and literally, as it was a sheer 20 degrees at kickoff. EWU scored first on a systematic breakdown in our defense, compounded by multiple missed tackles. Things became organized and efficient the remainder of the half, dominating possession and territory through our kicks, counter attacks and defense. We put three tries on the board through Jack Stimson (Junior), Evan Prince (Sophomore), and Ryan Carlson (Senior), going into the break up 17-7.
The second stanza proved to be extremely challenging. After a battle for 10 minutes, our young men put another try on the board through our fullback, Derek Pleasants (Sophomore), who had a great day inserting himself into the backline and attacking at pace. Up 22-7, the gas was let off and EWU started marching their way back. The ability to play a complete 80 minutes can challenging, not physically as much as it is mentally. Our mental lapses over the next 20 minutes, coupled with an increase in intensity by EWU, allowed them to come back and take the lead 24-22.
Just as quickly as the mental breakdown got us into a hole, it brought us back out. The last 10 minutes were clinical and the UW rugby men put two tries in to seal the victory; thanks to our Stalwart fly half, Jack Stimson and up and coming center, Nick Gadbaw (Sophomore).
Having lost so much experience last year, it was a great win for the club. We’re a little unsure of our expectations for this group in regards to wins and losses. However, what we coaches realized this weekend is they’re developing quickly. They have a lot to learn, but we’re on the right track and as I told the players, watching our second side play good, decent rugby was as much, if not more, exciting for me on the day. When we started in September, most of these guys hadn’t even seen a rugby ball, let along catch and pass it. Two months later they were doing it under pressure, completing 2 v 1 situations and three first year, freshman, scored tries in the second side match.
We have a busy January – April coming up so we gave the players a rest from now until Janurary 5th, with a massive emphasis on weight training and conditioning.
We look forward to seeing you at our home matches in the winter/spring and thank you all for your continued support.