WILDCATS LEAP TO TWO WINS IN LOS ANGELES
#12 Arizona 33
Matt Rogers' two tries helped the Wildcats to 2-0 on the season. (Photo credit: Travis Prior)
February 5- Arizona made a successful trip to Los Angeles this past weekend, with both their First and Second XV sides scoring big victories in conference play for the 12th-ranked Wildcats.
On Friday, Arizona Second XV made the trip to USC to take on the Trojans. While this was the Wildcats Second XV, the match was a full conference battle, putting the pressure on the young side led by Flanker Ben Scoular. The loose forward from the United Kingdom and his teammates were up to the task early, with fellow back row Tyler Hansen touching down in the first minute and Robert Figley (16 points) converting to give the visitors an early lead. Garrett Walker's try, the first of two on the night for the Winger from Granite Bay helped spark the team, as Luke Bartzis, Jack San Pietro, Riley Kerr, and Scoular all touched down to make it 47-7 halftime. The second half allowed the staff to see a number of other faces, with three reserves scoring including George Niethammer's first try as a Wildcat. "Making our job difficult" said Head Coach Sean Duffy "this is a really talented group and they all want to be first side. A performance like that will push people this coming week and that's what we want." The 66-14 victory moves Arizona Second XV to 3-0, including two victories over first side opponents.
The following day, the Wildcats served as the curtain raiser for AEG's International Rugby Saturday, giving fans an appetizer before the main course that was USA-Argentina. The Wildcats were made to work for it by the UCLA defense early, with Anton Grigoriou slotting a penalty in the third minute and a well-worked multi-phase passage of play culminated by Fullback Kyle Rogers setting up Hooker Zach Biggs for the try to make it 8-0. With the attack beginning to establish momentum, the defense continued to be a major weapon for Arizona, as consistent pressure led to turnover ball and a key Dante Weeks try in the corner to make it 13-0. The teams exchanged penalties just before half, and Grigoriou slotted another before Matt Rogers took over, scoring twice in a span of five minutes to open things up for the Wildcats and make it 33-3. A late UCLA try was all that was left, putting the Wildcats in to first place in the PAC Conference in the early stages of the season. "I'm happy with the win, even happier for the guys having a great opportunity to play in an event like this, but the happiest for our defense. Two really important tries off of turnover ball and that's a credit to Pat Coco for organizing our defense so well all week. Especially impressed by guys like Matt Rogers having a standout game and Luke Bartzis, who came on as a reserve and made a huge impact on the tempo of the game" said Duffy.
Arizona now moves to three crucial games at home, with #11 Utah, #4 Cal, and Arizona State all making trips to Tucson.
-Second XV vs USC: W 66-14
-Tries: Garrett Walker (2), Tyler Hansen, Luke Bartzis, Jack San Pietro, Ben Scoular, Riley Kerr, Kyle Fulton, George Niethammer, Steven Rohde
-Conv: Robert Figley- 8/10
-First XV vs UCLA: 33-10
-Tries: Matt Rogers (2), Zach Biggs, Dante Weeks
-Pen: Anton Grigoriou- 2/4
-Conv: Anton Grigoriou- 3/3