Rugby takes a few lumps

By Larry Mullenix

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The UA club rugby team found success hard to come by this past weekend at the Michelob Rugby Classic.

The Wildcats were physically overmatched in their first true game Friday afternoon, in which they were were beaten 10-3 by the University of San Diego.

The Wildcats were fighting throughout the game because San Diego controlled possesion of the ball from start to finish.

San Diego coach Loc Vetter said the win gave a measure of respect to his program.

"We needed to play the best game of rugby ever played by this school if we wanted any chance of winning," Vetter said. "We had that and we beat one of the big names in collegiate rugby."

UA coach Dave Sitton said his team wasn't as focused as it needed to be going into it.

"They (San Diego) played with a lot of poise and they put more pressure on us than we did on them," Sitton said. "I think that we were just not in this game mentally."

Arizona found itself in that game because its previous opponent, UC-Santa Cruz, had forfeited.

The UA suffered what could be termed a demoralizing 5-0 loss to Arizona State Saturday demoralizing because they had two tries taken away from them by officials while missing two penalty kicks.

The lone score of that game came on a broken play in which a UA player slipped in the mud at Rodeo Park while attempting to kick the ball out of Arizona's end zone. The ball was recovered by ASU for the only try of the game.

Arizona rebounded in its last game of the tournament against New Mexico Highlands with a 10-3 victory. The team was highly energetic and jumped on the Highlands team early in the first half.

Overall, the coaching staff said the tournament was the first step toward getting the team ready to win.

"It usually takes awhile for a team to mature and this is a learning experience," assistant coach Dave King said. "We are young and this weekend we were overmatched in terms of experience."

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