In Men’s Rugby, Final Regular Season Win Against Utah Valley University Preps the Gaels for Playoffs

A strong start from the Gaels and expansive phase play gave them an early lead over the Wolverines. Final score: 74–24 Saint Mary’s. The No. 1 seed Gaels now host Grand Canyon in the playoffs on April 6.

by Aidan Payne-Kraus ’25 | March 31, 2024

Saint Mary’s Men’s Rugby finished regular season play for 2023–24 with a resounding victory over the Utah Valley University Wolverines on Saturday. A strong start from the Gaels and expansive phase play set the course for a resounding victory, 74–24.

The Gaels maintained possession throughout the first half and secured two tries within the first 15 minutes of play, courtesy of Ethan Younger ’27 and Ethan Taufa ’25. However, with 20 minutes remaining in the half, UVU fought back after they intercepted a pass. That led to a try and a conversion, bringing the score to 10–7 Saint Mary’s. 

John- Henry Rouse drives through the Utah Valley defensive line during the Men's Rugby Game
Brute Force: John-Henry Rouse ’27 drives past the Utah Valley defensive line. / Photo by Rebecca Harper

Shortly after the following kick-off, the Gaels won possession and orchestrated a clinical march down the field, resulting in a try in the left corner from Cade Lujan ’25. Tatum Pappas ‘27 made the successful conversion, bringing the score to 17–7 in favor of the Gaels. Kieran Tingin ’26 and Ethan Younger added to the total as well, brining the score at the half to 27–12 Saint Mary’s. 

Isaak Quqish dodges the defender, Men's Rugby
Dodging Defenders: Isaak Qaqish ’24 moves the ball upfield. / Photo by Rebecca Harper

The Gaels continued their onslaught, with Jake Negrete ‘23, MA ’24, Ethan Taufa ’25, and Will Larounge ’24 each adding another try during the second half, along with successful conversions by Larouge. SMC demonstrated their prowess in the maul, resulting in additional points on the board while Utah Valley University continued to narrow the gap with more points in the second half. 

Will Larouge runs into the try zone for Men's Rugby game
Crossing the line: No. 13 Will Larouge ’24 runs into the try zone to add points to the scoreboard for the Gaels. / Photo by Rebecca Harper

Brian McKeon ’25 secured a final try for the Gaels at the end of the match, sealing the victory. Will Lhommedieu ’26 cashed in the conversion, which brought the final to 74–24 Saint Mary’s. 


SMC Tries: Tingin, Younger (2), Taufa (2), Lujan (3), McKeon, Lerouge, Broughton, Negrete

SMC Conversions: Pappas (2), Lerouge (4), Lhommedieu (1)

Collegiate Rugby Playoffs Begin this Weekend, with Gaels No. 1 Seed

Men’s Rugby will host Grand Canyon University on Saturday, April 6, at Saint Mary’s Stadium in the first round of Division 1A College Rugby Association of America playoffs. The Gaels are the No. 1 seed on the West Coast, which allows Saint Mary’s to remain the hosts for the tournament series. If the Gaels prove the victors of this first round, on April 13 they will face the winner of the Cal Poly vs. Cal match taking place at UC Berkeley this weekend.


Men's rugby Playoff Schedule 2024


READ MORE: Men’s Rugby Defeats Cal and Is in Place to Take the No. 1 Seed Just in Time for Playoffs

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