WEEKS AND ROGERS HELP CATS TO OPENING WIN
#13 Arizona 53
Grand Canyon 22
Dante Weeks' four tries helped spur the Cats to their third straight season-opening victory.
January 16- Arizona kicked off their season in strong form on Friday night, defeating Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.
The 13th-ranked Wildcats, fresh off a strong preseason that culminated in their first PAC Rugby Sevens Championship, continued their success against the Lopes thanks to two of those Sevens players, with Dante Weeks' four tries and a Matt Rogers double spurring them to the victory.
In the opening half, it was the Wildcats defense that put on a strong display, forcing the Lopes in to pressure situations and turning over possession, a key point of emphasis in their preseason camp. A Matt Rogers box kick led to Weeks' first try which was quickly responded to by the Lopes to make it 10-7 fifteen minutes in. Another Weeks try, this time from midfield was followed up by a well-worked forwards score with Sean Coleman offloading to a crashing Zach Biggs to put him through just before half to make it 22-7 Arizona. The half flew by for the Wildcats, with Head Coach Sean Duffy thrilled at his team's start. "Look that half flew by before you knew it. It was almost like it was a shortened period that's how much fun the boys were having and it's good to finally get out there."
In the second half, a key five minute stretch by Matt Rogers put things out of reach for the Lopes, with a nice up and under play for his first try before a grubber kick five minutes later resulted in his second score to make it 36-10 and allowing the coaching staff to rotate in players they want to see before league play commences February 3rd. Two more Weeks tries and a long range score by Ryan Hudson sealed the 55-23 victory for the Wildcats and moved them to 1-0 on the young season. "Thrilled with our attack overall, happy with our defense in the first 60 but I felt we mentally need to be better in the final 20 on defense and that'll be a point of emphasis the next few weeks" said Duffy "really excited for our attack, and having Kyle Rogers back there at Fullback allows him to influence the game wide and you saw that tonight with three try assists. Dante and Matty were excpetional and so was Fabian Lumsden who put in some major production in his debut."
The Wildcats have the next two weeks off while their Second XV takes on Stanford at home this Saturday where they hope to build on Friday's 41-7 victory over Grand Canyon University Second XV.
Scoring vs GCU
Tries: 8- Weeks (4), M. Rogers (2), Biggs, Hudson
Conv: Grigoriou- 5/8
Pen: Grigoriou- 1/1