Rugby Advances in Varsity Cup After Defeating Clemson, 50-0
JONESBORO — Arkansas State’s rugby team advances to the second round of the 15s Varsity Cup Rugby Championship after shutting out Clemson University, 50-0, Saturday afternoon at the A-State Rugby Pitch. The Red Wolves will next face Navy in Annapolis, Md., April 16.
Arkansas State didn’t wait too long to make its presence known when Sione Fangaiuiha scored a try four minutes into the game to give the Red Wolves the early 5-0 lead. The conversion from the corner was good, making the score, 7-0.
Arkansas State University Rugby Team — Photo by Richard Carvell
“I was a little surprised,” said A-State head coach Shaun Potgieter about his team’s early assault on the Tigers. “We didn’t play to our full potential and it was not our best game. That could be good, though, because we can peak in a few weeks.”
Clemson misconnected on a penalty kick shortly after, leaving the score at 7-0 for A-State. Preston Weigel of Houston, Texas, took advantage and scored a try in the corner. The conversion was successful and Arkansas State upped the score to 14-0 with 26 minutes remaining in the first half. The Red Wolf defense kept Clemson out of the try zone, allowing Ruan Knuppel of Cape Town, South Africa, an opportunity to make good on another try and boost the point total to 19-0 with 15 minutes left in the half.
With only three minutes remaining on the clock, junior Austin Bush from Rowlett, Texas, was successful on another try. Despite the failed conversion attempt, the Red Wolves ended the half leading, 24-0.
The Red Wolves pretty much picked up in the second half from when they ended the first period. Sophomore Pedro Alvarez teamed up to help push Connor Cook into the try zone to score another try. A-State led, 29-0, with 30 minutes remaining in the game. Then, it was Alvarez’ turn scoring a try of his own to add five more points and the conversion added to the 36-0 score.
Alvarez once again showed his speed and strength by picking up points on his second try of the day. The conversion kick put the score to 43-0 with 14 minutes remaining in the match. Fangaiuiha added the final try of the day, followed by the conversion kick, to give the 50-0 victory to Arkansas State.
“We did some good things, generally speaking, but we still had too many errors like dropped balls,” continued Potgieter.
He had praise for the defense and overall play of Blace Walser of Tulsa, Okla., Bush and Cook. “Walser had a great game on defense and really competed well,” he stated.
Nine seniors, making their final home appearance, were recognized for their efforts during pre-game ceremonies. They are Danny Breda of Baltimore, Md.; Siaosi Finau of Euless, Texas; Alex Goff of Brentwood, Tenn.; Connor Cook of Waimea, Hawaii; Tyler Miller of Bayonne, N.J.; Robert (Zinzan) Elan-Puttick of Bloemfontein, South Africa; Ricardo Lategan of Bloemfontein, South Africa; Alex Aguirre of Kansas, City, Mo.; and Greg Wood of Indianapolis, Ind.