First my thoughts on LU, saw some video of them, the game they played against us last fall as well as another match they played. My thoughts were confirmed from the first time we played them, they would be a much improved squad.
The day didn’t really start out all that great, having gotten text messages that some players were running late, due to the fact that they were assisting stranded motorist or forgot to pick up their team-mates before leaving for Longview.
No worries though, this is exactly why we practice, so that everyone knows what they are supposed to do on the field and hopefully put them into match like situations and see how they perform. Bear and I waited until 1:30 and then adjusted the roster. The starting XV against LU:
1. Jonathan Holmes, 2. Anthony (AJ) Paradowski, 3. Nate Pyle, 4. John Bradshaw, 5. Weston Hearne, 6. Ben
Bales, 7. Jimmy Chi, 8. Steven (Sunshine) Hale, 9. Dominic Prestia, 10. Brian Martinez, 11. Graham Horrell, 12. Brandon Miller, 13. Chad McDonald, 14. Justin Thompson, 15. Steven Shaffer
The match began on schedule and both clubs looked to take territory by power movements, precision running or tactical kicking. Both clubs were able to move between each other’s 22 meter lines, but once either side got into the red zone, both defenses tightened up. For the lads of UT Dallas this was not the first time their backs were to the goal line and again they bent but didn’t break. LeTourneau did put together some good movements and powered over the goal line but was unable to ground it due to the fact that every forward and some backs had hands between the ball and the ground, thus keeping LU from scoring the Try.
When UT Dallas put together a series of attacks and looked real good, the forwards played outstanding, their scrums, lineout’s and ruck/mauling were the mainstay of what kept us in the game. They took everything LU threw at them and threw a lot back at LeTourneau. # 8 Sunshine found some space along the touch line and used his speed to cover 60+ yards deep into LU territory. He was just a bit upset that he got caught from behind, but that happens. The front row of Jonathan, AJ and Nate continued to make the LU front row uncomfortable in each scrum. Locks John and Weston as always were the silent assassins, doing all the things necessary for UT Dallas to gain or maintain possession. Loose forwards Ben, Jimmy and Sunshine played great, taking on the LU # 8 on his pickups from the back of scrums and put pressure on the LU back line all day long.
Scrumhalf Dominic performed very well considering that he only found out that he was being moved from Inside Center to Scrumhalf 30 minutes before the start of the game. Brian, Brandon, Chad, Justin and Steven played a great game. The ball was sloppy at times, but they looked for gaps to exploit or support. The surprise of the day (which wasn’t really that big of a thing he's been improving at every practice) was the play of Wing Graham Horrell, he made tackles, caught kicks, ran and communicated very well with his fullback and wing counterpart. Great game Graham, the first half ended UT Dallas 0, LeTourneau 0
The second half began with a few changes, the forward pack had only one change. Erbold Uran came in for Jimmy Chi at Flanker. In the back line, Dominic went back to his Inside Center position, Cameron Broussard took over at Scrumhalf, Vince Dutton came in for Brian, Luck Lewis for Chad and Alejandro Chinchilla for Graham. The half began with UT Dallas kicking off to LU, but it didn’t take long for UTD to gain possession and 6 minutes into the second half Cameron bobbed and weaved his way into goal for the first Try of the game, Vince was unable to convert and the score UTD 5, LU 0.
Like the first half both sides played between the 22m lines, but at the 70th minute, Cameron found some daylight and ran away from the Letourneau defenders to score his second Try of the game. Vince was able to convert this one, the score now UTD 12, LU 0. It was during this movement that Dominic sprained his ankle and would have to be carried off the pitch, this is when Emiola Banwo (Ola as we call him) made his debute for UTD. While he started practicing with us late last fall and this spring. This was his first opportunity to play in a league match and he did a fine job. He tackled very well and his running skills are solid, I just need to get him to get football out of his head.
LeTourneau was able to put 3 points on the board late in the game, but UTD wasn’t done. Cameron found another opening in the defense and ran in his third (Hat trick) of the day. Vince wasn’t again able to convert, the final score UT Dallas 17, LeTourneau 3.
Next Saturday, your UT Dallas will take on Midwestern State (MSU) in their only Home league match of this spring season. The kickoff is scheduled for 2:00pm on the usual field 6. MSU will be coming into Richardson hoping to avenge their loss to us last fall and keep their hopes alive at having a shot at making the Lonestar Conference playoffs. This should be a cracker of a match, if you remember last fall MSU pushed UTD all 80 minutes and we came away with the win in the closing minutes of the game.
Just an update, the Women’s Rugby Club is practicing at the same time as the guys, their numbers are getting better and we should be approved by the University and Rec Sports very soon. Once this is done, the ladies will be playing rugby in Huntsville, Richardson, Ft. Worth and maybe Denton. I’ll keep you all posted as things progress.