WILDCATS HIT EIGHTY IN OPENER

Kyle Fulton and the Wildcats opened the season well against San Diego State.  (Photo credits: Maureen Hulsey)

Jan 27- As the next decade of College Rugby kicks off around the country, Arizona has positioned itself as one of the fastest-rising teams in the nation, primed to take the next step towards a national power. While just one game, Saturday was a great start.

Arizona kicked off their 51st season with a statement at Sitton Field against San Diego State, jumping to an early lead en route to a 12-try performance live on Eleven Sports Network. The performance, and the first-of-its-kind television audience kicked off the season in strong fashion, with the 83-5 victory setting a program record for both margin of victory and total points scored in a season opener.

The 14th-ranked Wildcats got started with the foot of returning All American Flyhalf Robert Figley (24 points), putting the Aztecs in pressure situations and scoring the first points of the season with a third minute penalty. A well-worked piece of attacking play from Prop Theo Smith and Lock Billy Esposito put Wing Joe Sargeant in the left corner just three minutes later, followed by a score from Freshman Max Cathala to make it 17-0 in just the first fifteen minutes. Lockdown defense and disciplined, patient attack set a platform for scoring opportunities, as Lucas Bartzis, Figley, Bronson Teles, and Theo Smith each touched down in the 45 point first half. 

With a large margin but the season still young, Arizona worked through their patterns in the second half, with Smith scoring his second and Fullback Jon Rogers touching down twice in a seven minute span to seal the emphatic opening victory for the Wildcats. Like many strong teams, the Wildcats' depth was on full display, as Reserve Flyhalf Lucas Agasse's 90 meter kick chase try one of the highlights in the second half. While content with the victory, the game is just one step of many to come for the team. "The scoreline flatters us, as we have much to work on and a credit to SDSU for staying in the fight for 80 minutes, making us work for everything. Impressed with our effort as a whole, especially some young guys who made their first starts" said Director of Rugby Sean Duffy.

Arizona Second XV also got underway, running to a 59-0 victory over San Diego State Second XV to move to 1-0 on the season and Arizona Third XV falling 32-22 to Mira Costa College. Both teams are back in action on Saturday, as Arizona welcomes #18 Central Washington and Arizona Second XV takes on New Mexico-Highlands University.

Scoring vs SDSU

Tries: 12- Smith (2), Rogers (2), Sargeant, Cathala, Bartzis, Figley, Teles, Fulton, Coray-Dozier, Agasse

Conversions: Figley- 8/9, Agasse- 2/3

Penalties: Figley- 1/1

Lineup vs San Diego State

1- Raymond Weiner

2- Chris McBride

3- Theo Smith

4- Billy Esposito

5- James Rivers

6- Bronson Teles (C)

7- Ben Scoular

8- Riley Kerr

9- Maxime Cathala

10- Robert Figley

11- Joe Sargeant

12- Matthew Start

13- Lucas Bartzis

14- Kyle Fulton

15- Jon Rogers

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16- Gabe Coray-Dozier

17- King Matu

18- Max Richins

19- Daniel Hagan

20- Jack McCrossin

21- Lucas Agasse

22- Louie MacLaughlin

23- George Niethammer

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