After toppling UVSC, Scrummin’ Utes ready for territorial

By By Cody Brunner

By Cody Brunner

What better way to head into postseason play? With territorials just around the corner, the U rugby club looked like one of the best squads in the nation last Saturday, scrumming and scrapping its way to a 69-5 victory over UVSC at Ute Field.

The Utes came into the contest with simple improvement as their only goal, but came away feeling as though they were invincible.

“I was really happy with the way our guys played,” said Utah rugby coach Mark Numbers. “It was important for us to fix all of the little things before territorials, and I think we accomplished that.”

Trying to be more fluid in the backfield, the Scrummin’ Utes strove to pass the ball much more than in previous games. The result was a barrage of offensive firepower, keeping the Wolverines pinned down by their own goal most of the game.

Utah’s Peter Black led the offense from his fullback position, kicking a penalty goal and a number of conversions. But he wasn’t the only one doing damage to the Wolverines. The Utes’ unselfish play led to tries from a number of Utah athletes, including Danny Dupaix, Jake Anderson, Dan Kimball, Nate Herrscher, Andrew Swindle, Matt Byrd and Camden Burd.

Thanks to their unstoppable offense, the Utes carried a 29-0 lead into halftime. Utah continued to break through the Wolverines’ lines in the second half, widening the margin to 69-0 before UVSC scored in the closing minutes.

“We came into the game wanting to pass the ball quite a bit more and more effectively,” Numbers said. “It makes it hard for teams to defend us when we spread it around like we did against UVSC.”

The Scrummin’ Utes are firing on all cylinders at just the right time; they start postseason play in Corvallis, Ore., this Friday at 2 p.m.

The territorial match-up pits the No. 6 Utes against unranked Washington State in the opening round. The Cougars finished third in the Pacific Northwest Rugby Union.

If Utah is able to keep its momentum and knock off the Cougars, it will likely play Oregon State on Saturday. The Beavers were undefeated in PNRU play this year. The winner of Saturday’s game (Northwest Territorial) will go on to the National Collegiate Rugby Championship Sweet 16 in State Park, Penn., from April 20 to 22.

“We have a great team and we have a great chance to make some noise on the national level this year,” Numbers said. “It’s an opportunity for us to show the other teams how good we are.”

Kim Peterson

The Scrummin’ Utes are now 3-1-0 on the season after defeating 18th-ranked Wyoming at Fort Douglas on Saturday.