Rugby Wins Spring Season Opener
JONESBORO — Arkansas State University’s rugby team opened the spring season with a 36-13 victory over the Little Rock Stormers, Saturday afternoon at Curt Huckaby Field on campus.
“It was the first game after the break,” said Shaun Potgieter, head coach for the Red Wolves. “It wasn’t too outstanding. We’ve got to get back and work on basics and do things properly.”
“The players were sent home for the holiday break with an off-season program. They returned for preseason training on Jan. 10. Preseason training was strenuous with two trainings a day, but it was necessary.”
Team captain Kuda Makuvire, a senior from Harare, Zimbabwe, put A-State on the board first with a successful try. Junior Dylan Boast added the conversion to put the Red Wolves up early, 7-0.
Shortly after, another junior, Pedro Alvarez added a second successful try. With Boast’s conversion, the Red Wolves extended their lead to 14-0 before the halfway mark. A penalty kick by the Stormers put a small gap in the score, 14-3. The team from Little Rock then scored on a quick try to close it even more, 14-10, to end the first half.
The Stormers continued their momentum with a penalty kick in the opening moments of the second half and cut the A-State lead to 14-13. However, another try by Makuvire was good shortly after and made the score, 19-13.
With the momentum switch favoring the Red Wolves, Sione Fangaiuiha lunged across the line and added another try to put Arkansas State up, 24-13. Neil Maestri bulled his way in for the try to increase A-State’s lead, 29-13, and senior Preston Weigel of Houston, Texas, helped to seal the win with a late try and Ruan Knuppel’s conversion to take the win, 36-13.
Assistant coach Blake White noted, “The guys were pushing the tempo of the game. They were so excited to be out there. Weigel played well as did Jake Ray. Both had good impact on the game. Ray came off the bench and played hard, and that’s what you are looking for in a sub.”
Arkansas State will travel to Little Rock, Saturday, Jan. 28, to face the University of Arkansas. That game kicks off at noon at The Greater Little Rock Rugby Complex, 14301 Dineen Road.