On Saturday, the Mizzou Men’s Rugby team looked to bounce back from a recent loss to Iowa State. The team hosted the Kansas State Wildcats on a day with rain hovering over the field. The defense held up strong as the Wildcats were only able to score 5 points. The tigers also found their groove on offense, scoring the most points they have all year. Forwards Justin Reynolds and Sean Corey each posted a try, as well as the rookie Devin Petersen. Senior Alexander Cavanaugh led the Tigers with two long tries both of which were assisted by elusive fullback Thomas Whitmer. Ben Hellon added three conversions to pack on to the lead. Mizzou ultimately took down KSU 36-5 and moved to 2-1 in conference play. This Saturday the team will travel to Lawrence to take on in conference rival kU. MIZ!
For the first time in the era of coach Don Corwin, Mizzou Rugby has won both the 15’s and 7’s championship in the same year. Mizzou Rugby won the 15’s title back in March, finishing conference play with a 6-1 record. The Tigers qualified for the D1AA Spring National Playoff with the conference title. This past Saturday, Mizzou 7’s went 5-0, beating Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Iowa State, and in the final, Kansas State, on the way to the 7’s Championship. The Tigers’ stingy defense led the way into the championship, only allowing 12 points in their first 4 games.
In the final, against Kansas State, Mizzou jumped out to a 12-0 lead with two tries from wing Nick Romano. K St answered back before halftime with a try of their own to make it 12-5. In the second half, K St answered again to tie the game at 12. On the final play, freshman Danny Hahn put a grubber towards the corner into the arms of the oncoming Romano, who then dished to Pat Halloran. Halloran pinned the final defender and made a the final pass to the supporting Adam Cooley, who finished the team try as time expired. The Tigers won 17-12 and finished 2018 as conference champions in both 15’s and 7’s.
Mizzou will accept the bid to play in the College 7’s National Playoff in Denver May 18-19.
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