The Tigers were tested late, but held on to beat Kansas State 36-24
It’s a bit unusual that one of the most important matches of the year comes in the first conference game for each team, but the game between Mizzou and Kansas State was a rematch of last year’s most highly contested Heart of America game, and the number 1 and 2 finishers in the conference. The scoring started as the Tigers ran a set piece from inside their own half, in which flyhalf Gareth Jones read the defense and dropped the ball inside to wing Nick Romano who beat the fullback for the score. Later, Jones swang the ball wide to inside center Adam Cooley, who freed Romano for a long run, then offloaded to the oncoming Cooley for a long score. The Tigers carried a 14-0 lead late into the half, until the Mizzou forwards pounded ahead repeatedly near the goaline, eventually freeing up flanker Daniel Simon to dart between two defenders for the score. The Tigers had momentum going into the half with a 21-0 lead.
Kansas State worked their way back into the game with some gritty forward play and good field position set up by Tiger mistakes. The K State forwards punched in a try from close to make the score 21-5, but the Tigers answered back scoring off a maul from lock Jacob Walls. Two consecutive tries by K State forwards shrank the lead to 26-17, putting them back in the game. After driving the field pushing them in close, Mizzou flyhalf Jones quickly slashed around to the weak side, received the pass from scrumhalf J.T. Schlegel and snuck between two defenders for the try. Kansas State won another kickoff and scored from the centers positions to make it a one score game, 31-24. With only a few minutes remaining, Mizzou got the ball back and controlled possession well. A break from the wing gave the Tigers what they thought to be another score, but being called held up caused a 5 meter scrum. A backline set piece freed fullback Danny Hahn who dished to Pat Hallaron for the try to put away Kansas State with the 36-24 win.
Next week Mizzou travels to Lindenwood-Belleville to take on one of the country’s hottest teams right now.
Spring 2017 Season Mizzou Rugby Awards:
Forward MVP – James Glavin (Jr. 8-man)
Back MVP – Adam Cooley (Jr. Inside Center)
Impact Player – Mickey Watson (Sr. Flanker)
Rookie of the Season Award – Jacob Walls (Fr. Lock)
Most Improved Player – Corey Bach (So. Lock)
J.T. Schlegel and James Glavin
Mizzou’s notches win against Brown, drops to FSU in semifinal
As the 2016-17 Heart of America Conference Champions, Mizzou Rugby traveled to Spartanburg, SC to compete in the East Regional of the USA Rugby National Tournament. Slated as the #2 seed in the bracket, the Tigers faced off against #3 Brown University out of the Ivy League.
Mizzou’s offense started hot with fullback Kellen Shockley taking a long try for the score to ignite the scoring. After getting another score from wing Nick Romano, the Tigers allowed a try to the Brown offense, but it did not stop the Tigers’ backline attack. Adam Cooley at the inside center scored three times while flyhalf Gareth Jones, Romano, and Shockley all each notched one more try. James Glavin at the 8-man position scored on a nice break, and the Tigers got help from a late score from freshman reserve Dylan Maher. The Tigers ran wild to take care of Brown 55-17, advancing into the National Semifinal.
The next day, the Mizzou team dealt with some injuries and sickness but their offense was slow to start and couldn’t seem to find open running lanes amongst a fast approaching FSU defense. After suffering from a yellow card, the Tigers barely had the ball the entire first half and were down 10-0 at the half. In the second half, the Tigers were plagued with penalties and yet another yellow card and looked exhausted trying to stop the FSU attack. After having a James Glavin try taken away, the final whistle sounded at 35-0.
Although disappointed with the result in the national semifinal match, the Tigers were proud of their work this season as the final four is the farthest any Mizzou team has even finished before.
Mizzou Rugby keep conference record undefeated against Wash U
In another solid offensive performance by the Tigers, many different players contributed to the scoring effort while the defense once again was solid. Wing Ricky Pena got his first career try to start the game on the left sideline followed by a beautiful bounce back kick by Gareth Jones reeled in by opposite wing Nick Romano for the try. Romano scored another try on a long run down the right sideline immediately after. Center Adam Cooley scored the next on a sweet set up pass by Kellen Shockley allowing him room to run. J.T. Schlegel followed with a nice try set up by himself. On a long kick by Jones, Cooley chased the bouncing kick, and offloaded over the shoulder to a perfectly positioned oncoming Blake Ollar who finished for the try. Cooley scored two more, one a interception of the Wash U backline, and Ollar one more himself on a sweet run with a devastating stiff arm. 57-3 at the half Tigers up. Mizzou was able to sub lots of solid players from the bench who showed their abilities on the first side. Prop Sam Upton took in a try from 5 meters out fed by Schlegel. Cooley with one more and then Gareth Jones made a nice cut, broke a tackle and scored and converted himself. Freshman David Boudart scored once more before the final whistle giving the Tigers the 86-3 win. The subs showed the Tigers’ depth coming off the bench in this game. Next up against Truman State on March 11th.