Scrummin’ Utes advance to Sweet 16

By By Cody Brunner

By Cody Brunner

If someone wanted a clinic on how rugby should be played, he or she wouldn’t have to travel to national powerhouse schools like the University of California-Berkeley or Penn State. Nope. You can find some of the best rugby in the country right here at the U.

The No. 5 Scrummin’ Utes proved their valor once again last weekend in the Pacific Coast territorial playoffs, dominating national powers Washington State and Oregon State on their way to a Sweet 16 berth.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the job we did up there,” said U head coach Mark Numbers. “We’ve got our own little version of March Madness in rugby and it’s tough, but we took care of business. I just hope we’re not content with what we’ve done so far.”

Utah started the weekend off in convincing fashion against Washington State on Friday, scrumming and scrapping its way to a 50-8 victory. The Utes struggled to score in the first 25 minutes of the contest, but once the wheels started turning, nothing could stop them.

“It took us a while to get going against (Washington State),” Numbers said. “They really took it to us early on, but once we started scoring, it came in bunches.”

The Utes kept the wheels churning on Saturday against host Oregon State, using a slew of offensive weapons to pull out a 22-0 halftime lead.

The second half saw Oregon State halfback Chase Mcquillen escape down the sideline to cut it to 22-5, but the Utes were just too fast for the much larger Beavers and snuck away with a convincing 29-5 victory.

As it they have all year, the Scrummin’ Utes found offense from every nook and cranny of their roster. Tom Bunnell, Seth Metcalf, Jacob Anderson and Jimmy McDermott all scored tries in the winning effort.

The victory clinched a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Rugby Championship Sweet 16, which will be played at Penn State University on April 21.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity ahead of us,” Numbers said. “When we sat down at the start of the year, one of the goals we had was to be in the Sweet 16 and we’ve accomplished that. But we know we’ve still got plenty of rugby left to play.”

Kim Peterson

Over the weekend, the No. 5 Scrummin’ Utes beat Washington State 50-8 on Friday and Oregon State 29-5 on Saturday at the Pacific Coast territorial playoffs.