March 18, 2013
The Western Washington University Men’s Rugby Club finished the regular season schedule of the Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference (NCRC), Saturday, at the Wade King Rec Center turf field, undefeated.
The Vikings defeated the Eagles of Eastern Washington, 44 – 12, and end up with a 6 – 0 record to top the West Division of the NCRC.
The conditions the teams played in were nasty. Temps were in the high 40’s and every once-in-a-while a squall would roll through that dumped a bunch of water on everybody, made the couple hundred spectators cranky, but appeared to cause little trouble to either of the teams in terms of handling errors.
What was evident from the start was that Eastern came to play. The Eagles were hitting from the start and they were the most physical of the teams Western had played this year.
Eastern got the better of Western in the scrums in the first half of the game and the Vikings had Eastern’s number in the lineouts.
So, mix all of that together, along with some great refereeing, and what do you have? A pretty entertaining game of rugby to watch.
Quinton Willms was back in the line-up for Western and the NCRC leading scorer, Eastern’s Eric Populus, was moved from his flanker position in the scrum out to the back line. Both players were outstanding, Willms, with his great all around play, and keeping Eastern out of position with his kicks all day, and the versitle Populus playing a good game on offense and defense, and scoring both of Eastern’s trys.
Western’s Matt Tiscornia had an outstanding day at flanker, charging down one kick and blocking it high in the air, and then chasing it down and into goal to score a try for Western. Tiscornia would score three trys on the day. Tiscornia had to be the man of the match for Western.
In total, Western scored eight tries, the first by hooker Kevin Kinloch about four minutes into the match. In addition to Tiscornia’s three trys, Matt Jensen scored two in the second half, giving him five trys in the last two games. Also scoring for Western were Joe Cote and Willms.
Western wasn’t as efficient in kick conversions as they have been in the past, only making two of eight in kicking duties that were split by Willms and Nick Solimano. It was obvious the conditions affected the kicking game a lot.
Now Western awaits the outcome of match between WSU and Idaho this Saturday in Pullman. The winner of that game determining the fate of the three teams in the East Division and their positioning in the playoffs.
Depending on who wins, and by how much, there are at least 16 different playoff combinations for the East Division and rather than go into all of that here, we’ll just wait and see who finishes second and heads to Bellingham on April 6th for the first round match up with the University of Oregon (NCRC West – 3rd place).
The only thing that is certain about the East Division playoffs are that the University of Washington will be traveling to either Cheney, Pullman, or Moscow to play the East #3 on Saturday, April 6th.
The winner of the Saturday, April 6th match-up between Oregon and ‘a-team-to-be-named-later’, in Bellingham, will then play Western on Sunday, April 7th, at the Wade King Rec Center turf field. The winner of the Sunday game will then be the NCRC West Division Champion and then play the following weekend, April 13th, in the NCRC Championship Match at Magnuson Park in Seattle.