By James Nelson | Class of 2014
On a cold and muddy day in Moraga, the Saint Mary’s Rugby team continued their great
start by defeating Cal Poly 36-5. With the win the Gaels improve to 2-0 in Division 1-A matches
and to 9-0 since the start of 2014.
Although the weather cooperated and the skies were clear by game time, the field
definitely showed the effects of the previous day’s rain. Both teams struggled to gain much of a
rhythm, as players couldn’t gain traction in the mud and struggled to hold on to the ball. Due to
these conditions and to the frustration caused by them, there were also an abnormal number of
penalties which resulted in a choppy, uneven pace to the game.
Despite this, Saint Mary’s was able to consistently find ways to assert their will and keep
the game out of reach. After a back-and-forth first few minutes, the Gael’s started the scoring
thanks to long runs by Jaime Borup and Ryan Pratt. Borup initially broke free into the open field
where he offloaded to Pratt who carried it deep into Cal Poly territory before being taken down.
The ball was then shipped wide to Kingsley McGowan who shook off a tackle to get the try.
After the conversion the score stood at 7-0 with about 35 minutes left to go in the half.
The game then turned into a defensive struggle as neither team could sustain any kind of lengthy
drive. Cal Poly did have several chances inside 22 meters but three separate times attempted
grubber kicks by the Mustangs were scooped up by Saint Mary’s fullback Cooper Maloney and
touched down in the try zone. For the next twenty minutes neither team could punch it, although
the Gaels came extremely close only to be held up going in for the try.
Then with around 14 minutes left in the half Saint Mary’s broke through again thanks to
another great play by Borup. After driving deep into Cal Poly territory thanks to a long kick by
Garrett Brewer the Gaels offense stalled in side of 10 meters. After several unsuccessful phases,
Borup fought hard to take the ball in and put the Gaels up two scores, 14-0.
Cal Poly would add a very hard fought try with no time left in the half to make the score
14-5. This would be as close as it would get however, as the Gael’s clearly wore down the
Mustangs in the second half. They inserted an almost entirely new forward pack and the fresh
legs clearly helped as Cal Poly could not get anything going in the second half. They outscored
the Mustangs 22-0 and it could have been even worse as McGowan was held up going in for the
try and then tries by Joey Reavey and Chase Herring were called back due to penalties. Borup
added two more tries to give him the hat trick and Henry Hall and Reavey each added one more
to complete the scoring.
Next week the Gael’s will face one of their toughest tests of the season, taking on a
pissed off BYU team in Provo, Utah. The Cougars are currently ranked #3 in the nation behind
Saint Mary’s and Cal and will have extra motivation coming off the Gael’s 30-24 victory in
Moraga two weeks ago.