May 3, 2024

Match Recap: Alumni Night UW vs OSU

Thank you to all the alumni who travelled to Starfire to support the Dawgs! It meant a lot to have your support in the stands.

Thank you to all the alumni who travelled to Starfire to support the Dawgs! It meant a lot to have your support in the stands.

Early nerves in the stadium resulted in a dropped kickoff and a knock-on soon after, but the scrum set the tone for a UW forward-dominated game.

OSU broke through to score first with a converted try. Shortly after, we were penalized for being offside and a kick took them to 10-0. Now we were chasing the game, and taking too long to switch on. Another converted try gave OSU the lead 17-0, and we knew it would be a long day if we didn't sort a few things out. Our ruck arrival was too slow, allowing OSU to get hands on the ball and win penalties. Our handling improved steadily throughout the game, but our attack was flat and drifting. Defensively, though we contained them well, but weren't aggressive enough at the breakdown.

After a recovered kickoff, we drove down into the OSU 22 and went through 8 phases before in desperation, the Beavers conceded a penalty. The Dawgs quick-tapped and after the first ruck, Captain Jaeden (JJ) Johnson saw an opening in the A-gap and dotted down under the posts with a much needed try before the half.


In the second half, OSU scored first with another penalty kick. A dominant UW scrum near the OSU try line set the platform for Captain JJ #8 to pick and score again. A second conversion missed, the score was UW 10 - 20 OSU. With 27 minutes to play, another OSU penalty increased the margin, 10-23. Prop David Moody, with a penalty quick tap and try put us within reach at UW 15 - 23 OSU.

The game would ultimately be decided by kicks, with our starting fly half and fullback injured, our #10 was playing his second game of 15s rugby! This is the type of depth we deal with at UW. As one alumni put it, "they were clearly more talented and experienced, but we squeezed more juice out of the fruit we had." To say the Dawgs didn't back down would be an understatement. Forging ahead, our captain dotted down for his 3rd try.

UW 20-28 OSU, with 14 minutes remaining.

As the scoreboard ticked, our skills and confidence continued to improve. We strung phases together with good attack shape, were consistent with scrums and lineouts, and stifled their attacks. We again found ourselves with an attacking scrum in the red zone and replacement Roman Ewaliko picked from #8 and barged over. This time, replacement fly half Joseph Chambers made his kick, our first conversion of the entire game(!!!!!) and put us one point from the lead, with 4 minutes left.

After the kickoff, the ball changed hands a few times, but then we crossed halfway and into the OSU 22m. Time ticked and at the 80-minute mark we were gifted a second penalty right in front of the posts. Emotions were high and the coaches were all hoarse yelling "POINTS, TAKE THE POINTS!". JJ was captaining his first game, we didn't have faith in our kickers, and the players didn't stop to think about that option - they tapped, carried a couple of times and knocked on the ball just short of the line. Responsibility lies with the coaching, that game management was not more thoughtful, and that our red zone approach was not more coordinated. A penalty kick, a 5m scrum, a lineout maul, or a more coordinated tap penalty could have gotten them across the line.


The Dawgs should be proud of how they played, outscoring OSU 5 tries to 3. Some dedicated kick coaching should make the difference, with more focus on our backs and game management this coming season.

This was a far cry from our 24-57 loss at OSU on March 9th. Three seniors took the field this game, meaning a great foundation of underclassmen returning.

Open side flanker Jake Osborne-McKenna (formerly a lock) was a nuisance and fierce tackler all day. Inside center Vaea Tangitou was awarded 3 penalties for poached balls, and held our backs together against a more skilled OSU backline. Our Man of The Match goes to Captain Jaeden (JJ) Johnson (#8, then lock), with 3 tries.

Thank you to seniors Benjamin Carney (prop), David Moody (prop), and Owen Malone (lock) for everything you've put into this club, and welcome to the Alumni!

Other seniors who did not play this weekend, due to injury, early graduation, competition for selection:

Aval Sirithanawat, scrum half

Zach Lilja, scrum half/center

Christian Mirich, flyhalf

Dylan Pool, flanker/8

Tyler Fernandez, flanker

Lorenzo Higuera, prop

Over the coming months the coaches and players will debrief and set goals individually and as a team for the off-season, as we prepare to build on this year and elevate the club in the fall.

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