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Rugby team upset in Sweet 16

By Maxx Wolfson
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
April 18, 2000
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Wildcats lose to Wyoming in D.C.

The Arizona rugby team was stunned by the Wyoming Cowboys 13-8 Saturday afternoon at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

The Wildcats, who went into the game as the top seed from the SoCal Conference, lost for the first time to Wyoming in college rugby's version of the Sweet 16.

"It really hurt watching our guys playing their hearts out," head coach Dave Sitton said. "The loss was a tremendous upset."

The game was played under horrendous conditions, which hurt the Wildcats due to their style of play.

"We are a team based on speed and with the conditions muddy, wet and rainy it hurt us," Sitton said.

Due to the weather, the first half was a low scoring affair and the two teams headed into halftime tied at 3-3. At that point, though, Sitton said he thought Arizona would turn the game around.

"At halftime, I definitely thought we were going to win the game," Sitton said.

Wyoming's only try came on a controversial "penalty try." This gave the Cowboys a 10-3 lead and helped to change the momentum.

Two minutes later, though, the Wildcats struck back when senior flanker Rob Colville was pushed across the goal line for the try.

Unfortunately for UA, junior flanker Rodd Penney could not convert on the conversion attempt, which sailed wide, leaving the score at 10-8 Wyoming.

"Rodd has been out for awhile and could not work on his kicking due to a bad hamstring," Sitton said.

The kicking game really hurt Arizona.

"Maybe it is a virus that has run through the whole school," Sitton said referring to the place kicking woes on the Tucson campus. "We all understand that these details are all parts of the game."

With four minutes left, Wyoming converted their second field goal to take a 13-8 lead.

A last minute comeback by Arizona was stopped because of a penalty. The Wildcats drive ended five yards short of the goal as time expired.

The 13-8 loss to the Cowboys ended the careers of four Wildcat starters - fullback Chris Kron, Colville, lock Rob Ternes and prop Matt Woods.

"It is unfortunate we had to lose," Ternes said, "I love these guys, unfortunately I had to go out with a loss for my last game."

On Sunday, the Wildcats lost to the Connecticut Huskies in a consolation game by the score of 32-30.

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