ARIZONA DEFENDS HOME FIELD VS BUFFS
#11 ARIZONA 56
#12 colorado 12
Ted Champion and Jacob Broselle helped the Wildcats to a big win in front of a large crowd. (Photo credits: Linda Brothers)
March 20- With the College Rugby season heading in to its final chapter, two of the West's best faced off in Tucson on Saturday. In a matchup of two top twelve sides, a win would put the victor in the driver's seat for a postseason berth.
Colorado was out to spoil the party and the Wildcats would need a team effort to take down the Buffaloes. In one of their best performances of the season, the hosts would do just that. Standout Center EJ Freeman was the first to break through, with the Center touching down on a 30 meter score in the first minute to make it 7-0. Freeman would make another impact soon after, breaking through on a well-worked scrum play before dishing to Matteo Berenger to make it 14-0 just ten minutes in. The backs would continue to find their ryhthym and strike for long gains, with Mattox King setting up Antonio Gonzalez for his first try of the year before the forwards got in on the action with a maul try from Dalton Slaughter to make it 28-0 heading in to halftime.
"I felt we left some points on the board in their 22, but we backed our defense and we really started to use the ball and trust each other. That's going to be vital us to not just in the 15 but also the impact subs we make" said Director of Rugby Sean Duffy. The second half would see several of those reserves doing just that, led by Fullback Ted Champion. The second-year Fullback made his presence felt instantly, using his strong leg and running ability to set up teammates for scores, with his effort putting Number Eight Jack Bresland in to the try zone and sealing the victory for the Wildcats. Center Charley Redknapp made an instant impact with an early try off the foot of Seb Hickey, while Isaac Morrill helped stabilize the Arizona scrum with a strong effort when coming on.
The match had a number of exciting developments off-field as well, with the team's three seniors celebrating their last regular season home match, a sold-out crowd at Sitton Field, and scores of alumni for the 54th Anniversary Weekend. "Grateful would be my word. Grateful for these three seniors, James, Harry, and Zach for all they've done for us. James scoring a couple times was a great bonus because I know how much he puts in. Grateful for our alumni, who do so much for us and directly benefit the current program that's done so much for them. And grateful to Colorado for bringing not one but two quality teams so we could show our alumni how hard our boys are working and get more minutes for our 2nd XV sides" said Duffy.
The 2nd XV was able to keep the momentum going, securing a 65-12 victory in their final match of the season. The Wildcats 1st XV continues on with their final regular season match next week against #2 Central Washington before a hopeful bid to the 2023 postseason starting April 8th.
Tries: Rivers (2), Freeman, Berenger, Gonzalez, Slaughter, Redknapp, Bresland
Conversions: Hickey- 8/8
8- Jack Bresland
9- Jacob Hall
11- Antonio Gonzalez
18- Isaac Morrill
20- CJ De Vault
22- Charley Redknapp
23- Ted Champion