NCRC Championship Article From rugby.mag

Written by Alex Goff Saturday, 13 April 2013 18:23

Western Washington Wins Northwest
Men’s DI College
The best offense in the Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference defeated the best defense Saturday as Western Washington outdueled Eastern Washington to the tune of 38-14 at Seattle’s Magnusson Park to win the NCRC championship.The game was much closer and more competitive than the score might indicate. EWU wanted to use their bigger forwards to pound the ball down WWU’s throats, and in the early going they did just that, using quick ball and aggressive running to set up a try that shocked the heavily-favored Vikings.But WWU came back quickly, with scrumhalf Matt Jensen scampering over for a score, that tied the game at 7-7.

EWU had some more scoring opportunities, and center and all-everything Eric Populus did everything he could, but the faster Western Washington defense was usually just there in time.

Over the course of the first half, the Eagles forwards began to tire, and the Viking forwards started getting to the breakdown a little faster.

Some smart work in the forwards produced a turnover for Western that was eventually converted into a try for Giovanni Trujillo, who had a solid game for Western at center. Quinton Willms hit the difficult conversion for the 14-7 lead.

That’s how the half would end. EWU’s forwards pinned WWU back most of the time, and they almost tied it twice – once when Populus was on a break but had to force a pass, and another time when Populus fly-hacked a dropped ball just a shade too far.

But the second half belonged more and more to the fitter Western Washington side. Willms was superb in controlling his team’s attack but it was mostly the Western defense absorbing pressure, turning the ball over in contact, and counter-attacking.

Too many EWU penalties made it more and more difficult for the Eagles to get out of their end.

Populus did get one back, on an interception, but Western was too clinical, especially late, and won going away 38-14.