Southwest Conference Championship within Texas Rugby’s Grasp

Texas Rugby has earned a spot in the Southwest Conference XVs Championship this weekend, March 21st, with their recent performance and victories over Univ. of North Texas, Stephen F. Austin, Rice University, and Texas Christian University. Their final opponent in the conference and long-time rival, Texas State, is their opponent this weekend in the championship match.

Both teams are expected to perform at their peak as bragging rights are on the line. Texas won the conference in the 2011-2012 season, the conference’s first season. Last year Rice University defeated the Texas B-side to win the conference. If Texas wins tomorrow night they will be the first in the SWC to win the conference twice, as well as be the first team to win both the SWC 7s championship and the SWC XVs championship.

While TxSt has been matchless the last two weekends, Texas has been training diligently and played two hard-fought matches against Army. Army is consistently a top 5 team every year, so it gave Texas a chance to see what level we were at. Our forwards dominated the breakdown and scrums, but the back line was no match for Army’s tactical attacks, pushing them to a 44-5 victory. Sophomore Hooker Adrian Ruiz named MOTM. More impressively, Ruiz underwent an appendectomy TWO WEEKS ago and put in an 80 minute shift against one of the most physical, technical and fit teams in the Nation. The defeat stung, but we learned a lot from that match and it was the perfect preparation for the upcoming championship.

The Southwest Conference XVs Championship is being held at the Texas State rugby pitch. Address will be posted below. Be there with your burnt orange on at 7:30 and watch as the Longhorns take on the Renegades! \m/ Hook’em!

Pitch Address: 601 University Dr, San Marcos, TX 78666

 

Oklahoma Earns Bragging Rights Over Texas for the Year

A wet haze blanketed the field in Norman, Oklahoma. It was cold, in the mid 40’s; something the Longhorns have played through before, but not a condition they are accustomed to.

After a thorough warmup to loosen muscles tightened by the weather, the Longhorns seemed hopeful. The team linked arms around their head coach Chris (Buss) Hopps in the try zone with just about five minutes to go until their heated rivalry with the Oklahoma Sooners began. Buss directed motivating words around the circle to his players. Although Oklahoma is a non-conference game, it is one that both teams look forward to every year. The victor of the Red River Rivalry earns distinguished bragging rights for the year.

The Longhorns hit the field with fire in their hearts and adrenaline coursing through their veins. Texas lost the coin toss resulting in a Sooners kicked off to start the match. The ball came down into the hands of the Longhorns and the Texas offense hit the ground running.

Unfortunately for Texas, the offense didn’t run long. When the match was over, senior captain John Boudreaux estimated that, out of the 80 minute game, the Longhorns only played offense for 10 to 20 minutes.

For the short time frame in which Texas carried the ball, it struggled with intensity. Ball carriers didn’t pose a threat to the tough Sooner defense. The Longhorns couldn’t beat their Oklahoma defenders, being forced to run straight into contact, resulting in no runs earning more than a few meters.

The Longhorns managed to get close, occasionally within ten meters, to the try-zone but couldn’t convert. Despite a noteworthy aggressive performance by the forwards, Texas finished the game with zero points on the board.

“I think their strength was their physicality and their size,” OU head coach Jason Horowitz said. “It was good to take on that pack with that size and weight and come out on top.”

Oklahoma, on the other hand, had numerous long runs a few of which ended in tries. The Sooners found their way into the try-zone early and created a sizable lead going into the half that the Longhorns couldn’t make up for in the final 40 minutes, leading to final score of 39-0 in favor of the Sooners.

But the cushion on the scoreboard didn’t seem to be enough to calm Horowitz. Horowitz’s frustrated shouts could be heard from try-zone to try-zone. Some were directed towards the referee for his choice in penalty calling, but the majority were directed to his players.

His booming voice traveled far across the pitch but appeared to find a home in the ears and minds of the Sooners. Some players called off the field and back to the sidelines by their irritated coach spit their annoyances back but were swiftly silenced by Horowitz, who made clear that if they didn’t like it they were free to leave the field immediately.

Although it may have been perceived as negative criticism, Horowitz assures it was nothing of the sort.

“That wasn’t yelling, that was motivationally trying to improve the match,” Horowitz said.

Directions were shouted from the Texas sideline, but for the most part Buss remained relatively hushed and left it up to his men on the field, like junior Taylor Hayes, to assume the leadership position.

But coaching methods during the game only go so far. It was in the preparations for the match that really made the difference.

“I think we didn’t prepare them well enough to handle that adversity,” Buss said. “Any game like this, its not won on Saturday, its won in the weeks leading up, and we lost it in the weeks leading up.”

Despite the loss the Longhorns still have things to take pride in.

“I’m proud of my guys every day,” Buss said. “They hit hard, they were hustling around. I’m happy with the effort. I think the guys came out and they played.”

The Longhorns had some offensive slip ups but were satisfied with their defensive efforts.

“We played defense and we played it hard and I’m proud of that,” Boudreaux said.

Further compounding on the Longhorns’ incomplete preparation was their fragmented team. Starters Matt Young, Thomas Mauriac, Peter Hyams and Charlie Schwan were all absent from Saturday’s game due to injuries or personal reasons.

OU had injuries that affected their game day roster as well, but only the Longhorns suffered a severe on-field injury. Making a tackle after a line break, Stuart McNulty stayed down on the field. As the Oklahoma trainer assisted him off the field, he clutched his limp arm with a look of agony across his face. McNulty was taken to the hospital where it was discovered he had suffered a dislocated elbow and a hairline fracture down his ulna.

The Longhorns have two weeks off to nurse their wounds and mentally and physically prepare for their match against Army on March 15.

Red River Shootout Is This Weekend!

Tomorrow at 2pm Texas goes toe-to-toe with long-time rival, University of Oklahoma. The rivalry between the schools is not just limited to rugby, as it is always a highlight in the schedule of all Texas and Sooner sports.

Last year the Sooners knocked on Austin’s door as they tried to make our pitch their backyard, but Texas did not let up. Oklahoma was leading for 76 minutes of the match, leading 38-24 in the  68th minute before Texas stepped up and “emptied the tank”, as Head Coach Chris Hopps likes to call it.

With 12 minutes left in the match the Longhorns gave everything they had to take back their pitch. Two tries were punched in by Texas at the 68th and 74th minute mark, one by the Man of the Match, Danny Cotton. Oklahoma quickly shifted from their heels to their toes to try and put out the fire that Texas ignited within themselves. They tried, but the heat was just too much for the Sooners and Prop Fernando Assing was able pound through their tough defensive line to touch it down in the 79th minute, giving Texas the lead and the victory over Oklahoma, 39-38.

As you can tell, this is a very competitive rivalry and both teams give it their all. We hope you will be able to come out to Norman, OK tomorrow at 2pm to witness what is bound to be a spectacular game of rugby. We will then be recording the second edition of The Sin Bin live at the OU pitch. If you cannot make the match we understand, but you can check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for the results!! Hook’em \m/

Texas Triumph Over TCU for their 4th Consecutive SWC Victory

The Horned Frogs may have acquired the nickname “the big bruisers,” but Texas proved it was more than capable of handling a few black and blue marks and cruised over TCU 34-22 to maintain its undefeated record.

The Horned Frogs have traditionally been a strong team with big physical athletes. They’re big; they’re strong; they’re aggressive. Texas’ goal was to best them physically.

“TCU was a lot bigger than every team we’ve played so far so that was a challenge,” junior Matthew Bomberger said.

But the Longhorns followed through with their goal and drove hard to earn extra meters in mauls and maintain possession and force turnovers in the scrums. Texas stretched TCU’s defense thin. The Longhorns won all of their mauls and nearly every scrum.

“This game I feel like we played with constant aggression throughout the whole game and that’s why we pulled off the win,” junior Taylor Hayes said.

Although head coach Chris Hopps (Buss) says he’s anxious for every match, freshman Reed Hogan was confident in his team’s ability to outplay TCU even before his cleats kicked up any dirt on the field. “I knew we had the win at the beginning of the game,” Hogan said.

Bomberger and some of the other players, on the other hand, needed a wake up call to kick start their momentum. “They scored first and I think thats when we all realized like, okay let’s go,” Bomberger said.

Although TCU got on the scoreboard first with a try, Hogan never lost certainty in the Longhorns’ competence. “We were up to the challenge,” Hogan assured.

Early in the first, freshman Charlie Schwan raced down the field to earn Texas’ first five points to show the Longhorns were up for the fight.

Texas had a few slip ups and missed tackles in the first 40 minutes, allowing the Frogs to keep the score close, going punch for punch with the Longhorns. “The biggest challenge for us was to stay low and grab their legs,” Hogan said.

The Longhorns were also faced with the task of maintaining organization and power in the forwards without their captain, junior Peter Hyams.

“Peter is a big part of our forward pack,” Bomberger said. “Not having him in there was a bit of a struggle but we beared down and got to it and played pretty well and came out with the victory today.”

The Longhorns found their stride in the second half and forced TCU to spin the ball out wide in order to convert runs into points, limiting the Frogs on the scoreboard. While TCU hit a stalemate on the field, Texas racked up points as Matthew Young and Bomberger plunged into the try-zone to contribute one try each, while Hayes, who was named Man of the Match, followed suit with two tries of his own. Junior John Boudreaux also contributed with three conversions.

With the solid win over TCU on their backs, the Longhorns head to Norman to take on Oklahoma on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

OU poses an especially ominous threat for Texas. Not only do the Sooners match the powerful physicality of the TCU defense, but they also posses the skill the Horned Frogs lacked. The heated rivalry is expected to produce a tight game.

Texas Sweeps Aside Rice

Two years ago Texas played Rice for the SouthWest Conference Championship- a show down between two teams that are consistently rated at the top of the conference. Both teams had perfect records and both were hungry for the title.

Rice got the upper hand early by throwing down the first try of the match, but Texas quickly responded. The lead continuously swapped sides, but for every challenge Rice posed, Texas had an answer. The two power-house teams held a tight game that came down to the final minutes.

The unceasing physical play eventually began to debilitate the Owls. Rice couldn’t keep its energy up to hold off the Longhorns in the rucks and fell victim to the powerful Texas pack in the scrums. The Owls’ low intensity coupled with debilitating cramps, gave the Longhorns the opportunity to display their superior endurance. The Longhorns came out one try ahead and one conference title richer than the Owls.

Rice wasn’t satisfied with second best and the next year, when Texas A side played in the ARC, Rice took the SouthWest Conference Championship. Since Texas neglected to play in the SW Conference that year, Rice took the title without contesting against the Longhorns, meaning Rice never got the chance to seek redemption and prove its worth against Texas. But this past Saturday the Owls finally got their shot.

The Longhorns prepared for Saturday’s game based on Rice’s imposing history.

“You always have to expect it to be difficult,” Taylor Hayes said. “All the teams in Texas bring the intensity and they bring the aggression.”

Texas expected another tight game, like the match two years ago, that would come down to who could hang on to fleeting energy the longest. But the game was nothing like the Longhorns expected and everything like how they hoped it would be.

The Longhorns took note from their games last weekend, against SFA and UNT, and came out strong and hard.

“As we know from last weekend, SFA, they were considered the underdog, but they brought the aggression early and we were down 19-0,” Hayes said. “Luckily we pulled out with the win, and today same thing. We came out hard we brought the aggression to them first.”

They drove through Rice’s defensive line to take a three-try lead in the first five minutes.

“This game we definitely pushed them around in the scrums,” Danny Camara said. “We were pushing them around in the rucks and we were carrying the ball pretty hard.”

Rafael Lopez Segovia tacked on the first five points of the game off a maul from a line out. It was a team effort to overpower Rice’s defense to get within arms reach of the try-zone and Rafael who applied the downward motion.

Danny Camara, Taylor Hayes, Reed Hogan and John Boudreaux all followed suit breaking into the try-zone to create a lead Rice had little chance of coming back from. But that didn’t stop the Owls from trying.

Texas loosened up its play in the second half and Rice took advantage while it could, touching down two tries to put a dent in the Longhorns’ lead. But ten points weren’t enough to save Rice from being blown out. Felix Olazaran broke through the Owl’s defense one last time to secure the win for the Longhorns, 42-10.

Although Camara said he “had an alright game,” and Hayes rated his performance as only “a seven or six out of ten,” captain Peter Hyams couldn’t have asked for more from his team in terms of effort.

“I’m really proud of the guys. I think we worked really hard out there,” Hyams said. “We really put in a good shift. First whistle to last whistle we put in 110 percent.”

Texas didn’t let up there. The Longhorns continued the assault with their B-side, scoring four tries by Fernando Chada, Josh Hoffman, Felix Olazaran, and Anthony Moore and three successful conversions by Steven Taylor. Texas B-side demanded a sweep over Rice, and earned it, with a 26-10 victory.

Hyams and the rest of the Longhorns take every game as a learning experience and will work this week to combine their lessons from SFA, UNT and Rice to improve on their mistakes, before facing off against TCU and Texas State at home next weekend.

Texas Fights SWC Rival Rice University This Upcoming Weekend

Texas Rugby takes on Rice as their third SWC opponent in the last week. The match is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 15th, at 2pm at the Texas pitch. Rice made their way to our pitch last year where their A-side defeated our B-side to take home the Southwest Conference Championship. This year they are bringing their A-side and B-side to go head-to-head with the Texas A-side and B-side. We expect a hard fought match by both teams, but Texas intends to defend their home pitch and show Rice that the Southwest Conference is ours. We’re going to come out hard and fast, and show Rice that we are the most aggressive and dangerous rugby team in Texas.

Hope to see you tomorrow at 2pm! \m/ Hook ‘Em!!

Texas Rugby Downs Southwest Conference Rivals North Texas and Stephen F. Austin in Same Weekend

It was the first game of 15’s season and for the Texas rugby team, hopefully the first of 16 wins. 16 wins means a perfect season. Not an easy task, but a challenge the Longhorns proved they were up to in their first two match-ups against The University of North Texas and Stephen F. Austin University.

Over the years of match-ups UNT has evolved into a solid rivalry for Texas. Two years ago the undefeated Longhorns narrowly defeated the Mean Green on a field so muddy drowning in a ruck was a real concern. Although the Longhorns slid through the massive puddles and into a win, the Mean Green gave Texas a run for its money by making it the closest game of the Longhorns’ season. After all the mud had settled, Texas took the game by just one try.

UNT was given a chance at redemption, on a much less swampy field, one year later. Again, the game was extremely close. Texas was down going into the half but stepped up their play to take the game in the second 40 minutes.

Although the team walked away with the win, Senior Danny Camara only managed to limp away. Camara broke his foot during the contest but continued to play through the injury. It wasn’t until the next morning, when he noticed the massive swelling in his foot, that he discovered the severity of the injury. The break was inevitably season-ending.

Friday, when the Longhorns met the Mean Green for their most recent show-down, Camara got a chance to compete against the team with no major injuries. Although Camara and Junior Tanner Avery played well, it was Junior John Boudreaux who, to the coaches’ standards’, played the best and was determined to be “Man of the Match”.

“Compared to previous seasons I felt like I played a more focused game,” Boudreaux, who is also Vice- Captain of the team, said. “At a skill position like scrumhalf it’s always important to be mentally aware of opportunity on the field. I think my effort wasn’t anything above what I try to put out every match though, and I definitely got lucky in some bounces when I scored my try.”

Texas fought hard to open up the field to allow room for players to have a clear path to the try-zone. Felix Olazaran set the tone of the game by scoring the first try, before Matthew Young, Peter Hyams and Boudreaux followed suit each contributing tries of their own. Boudreaux also tacked on eight additional points by scoring two penalty kicks and one conversion off a try.

As the Longhorns started to pull away in route to their (28-12) win, UNT assistant coach grew increasingly disgruntled. He screamed his frustrations from the sidelines to players, coaches, referees and

anyone within ear shot. His outbursts proved futile as the Longhorns walked away with the win and the Mean Green boarded their vans with a loss and likely, for the coach, no voice.

On Saturday the Longhorns took a road trip out to Nacogdoches, Texas to take on the SFA Lumberjacks.

Minimal amount of time for recovery and four hours in cramped vans took a toll on the Longhorns. Texas came out slow in the first half with passive play. In preparation for the game the Longhorns passed SFA’s extremely young team off to be an easy win. But going into the half scoreless with a 19-point deficit was a good wake up call for Texas.

“We’re The University of Texas and this is not good enough,” Camara told the team during halftime. “We have to make a comeback.”

The Longhorns were inspired by Camara’s words and dug deep to come into the second 40 minutes with far more energized and aggressive play. But it was not an easy climb; Texas had dug itself in pretty deep.

Tries by Olazaran, Hyams and Avery and two conversions by Boudreaux tied the game at 19 all with five minutes to go in the second, but SFA made a nearly impossible drop goal from just past midfield for an extraordinary total of 40 meters to put the Lumberjacks up 22-19 with one minute left in the game.

Since SFA earned the points, Texas was forced to kick the ball straight back into the hands of the Lumberjacks. But SFA didn’t hold onto it for long. Tommy Gilmore powered through to steal the ball back and begin the long journey to SFA’s try-zone. It took the Longhorns a painstaking 13 phases to make it down the field before the ball fell stagnant around the 1 meter line.

The game seemed all but lost for Texas. The play had run into about four minutes of expired time and the offense couldn’t move the ball, but suddenly Freshmen Charlie Schwan leaped over two diving defenders to score a try and bring the game to a close (22-24) with Texas on top.

“Those two games were a great opportunity to really test ourselves to start the year,” Captain Hyams said. “We played two talented, physical schools back to back and were able to compete really well. It is always good to start with a win, but more importantly there’s a lot we can take away from those games to improve on. Some young guys played great games and we’re only going to get better as a team from here.”

Texas will look to continue their perfect record as it takes on Rice on Feb.15 on their home field.

Texas Rugby Opens 15s Season with Three Big Matches!!

Texas Rugby opens up their 15s season with three big matches against the tough University of North Texas squads this Friday night and then on to Nacogdoches to take on the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks. Texas’s A-side will open up the festivities against UNT’s A-side at 7pm on the game pitch at the Intramural Fields. Shortly after the final whistle blows the Texas B-side will face off against UNT’s B-side at approximately 8:30pm. UNT, who gave Texas their only loss during the 7s qualifiers in the fall, squared off against Texas in the Southwest Conference 7s Championship, where Texas took a commanding lead in the second half to win 47-13. SFA, who joined the Southwest Conference in fall 2013, are looking to defend their home pitch when Texas A-side travels there on Saturday.

Texas, being in The Varsity Cup, has to get used to having back-to-back 80-minute matches on consecutive days because Varsity Cup matches run on Saturday and Sunday. Starting the 15s season out with one of these weekends will definitely push Texas in the right direction and prepare us for success during The Varsity Cup post-season championship.

Here are your lineups for this upcoming weekend:

Texas A-side vs UNT A-side

1. E.K. Yancy
2. Adrian Ruiz
3. Danny Camara
4. Peter Hyams (C)
5. Tommy Gilmore
6. Reed Hogan
7. Rafael Lopez Segovia
8. Tanner Avery
9. John Boudreaux
10. Carson Youman
11. Matthew Young
12. Stuart McNulty
13. Charlie Schwan
14. Thomas Mauriac
15. Felix Olazaran

Texas B-side

1. Adan Briones
2. JB Harvey
3. Charles Whittel
4. Thomas Young
5. Connor O’Leary
6. Yez Jarrar
7. Brett Wurdeman
8. Matthew Inman (C)
9. Akash Shah
10. Steven Taylor
11. Bryan Leighton
12. Fernando Chada
13. Faher Aboshady
14. Joe Lopez
15. Jorge Canavati

Texas vs SFA

1. Danny Camara
2. Matt Bomberger
3. Josh Hoffman
4. Peter Hyams (C)
5. Tommy Gilmore
6. Joseph Reistroffer
7. Rafael Lpz Seg
8. Matthew Inman
9. John Boudreaux
10. Felix Olazaran
11. Bryan Leighton
12. Fernando Yalil Chada
13. Stuart McNulty
14. Thomas Mauriac
15. Jorge Canavati
Subs:
Adan Briones
Adrian Ruiz
Reed Hogan
Tanner Avery
Charlie Schwan
Steven Taylor
Taylor Hayes