March 2, 2013
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Vikings take it to Idaho 61 – 5
The WWU Men’s Rugby Club left the parking lot south of the Wade King Rec Center around 4 pm Friday evening for their Saturday date with the University of Idaho Vandals. They were headed to Clarkston, WA to spend the evening and then play the Vandals early Saturday afternoon across the Snake River in Lewiston, Idaho. By the time the “Fresh Slice Pizza, White Rock Beach” bus (use of which was donated) pulled into Clarkston, ‘evening’ was long gone and had been replaced by ‘early morning’.
And with the Alumni sponsored travel budget virtually depleted, the boys found lodging for the night at the First Christian Church in Clarkston. Team Manager Jeff Lombard, well aware of the travel budget woes, had called ahead and made arrangements with Pastor Dave Carringer so that the 44 rugby players could sleep on the floor of the congregation’s meeting hall.
The match was important in many ways to the Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference (NCRC) standings and playoff scenarios. University of Idaho was in a three-way tie for first place amongst the East Division teams in the NCRC.
The Vandals were tied in points with Eastern Washington University and Washington State University, while Boise State, the fourth team in the division, was a bit farther back in the standings.
Western, on the other hand was tied in points in the West Division standings of the NCRC with the University of Washington. However, the Vikings own the tie-breaker with the Huskies by virtue of the fact that they’d beaten the Huskies in Bellingham earlier in the season. There was a lot on the line for both the Vikings and the Vandals as the match began.
Western got off to a flying start and scored twice within the first ten minutes of the game. Both scores came from freshman 2nd row, Louie Henson, who also added a third try in the second half giving him the hat trick on the day.
The Vikings probed and penetrated before totally vandalizing the defensive lines of Idaho, scoring nine trys on the day. Western led at the half, 40-0.
The Vandals had no answer and never threatened to score until they crossed in the last three minutes of the match.
The second half saw the Vikings, with a few timely substitutions, cross over the line and touch down for three more trys.
On the day, Cory Kleppe, Joe Cote, Matt Jensen, Gio Trujillo, and Max Wright added solo trys. WWU’s ninth try was a penalty try given by the referee after a dangerous tackle was made on Gio Trujillo in goal.
Nick Solimano was good on eight of nine conversions. More importantly, with the absence of Quinton Willms, who was away at the Canada U20 National Camp at Shawnigan Lake, BC, Solimano played well as Willm’s replacement at flyhalf.
Flanker Cory Kleppe had a very strong game and was selected “Man of the Match”. And with the final score of 61 – 5, the 8 hour bus ride back to Bellingham was a little easier to endure.