October 2016 Newsletter
Written by Jon Murphy
After a week of turbulence and months of preparation, the Longhorns began their march towards a conference championship. An initial kick-off date of October 7th against Oklahoma was cancelled due to rain in Dallas, forcing the Longhorns to wait another day to play their long time rival. Nonetheless, the Longhorns found themselves taking the field against the Austin Huns D2 squad in Austin on a hot October 15th day.
Hard off-season work paid off in this friendly for the Longhorns, as Texas won its first test match 26-12 against a bigger, more experienced pack. As expected, the Longhorns won due to sound tackling, great ruck positioning, and the quickest backline UT has seen in recent years. A highlight of the match was New Zealand native Brad Davis, who was a natural leader and playmaker at 12. In addition to Davis, Exchange Student Kendall Malcom, Sophomore Corin Wakefield, and Felix “El Gato” Olazaran had tries on a great start to the season. Despite the Big start, Coach Richie Barnes had this to say about the team’s progress going forward:
“ You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse, you’re never staying the same!”
The Longhorns spent the following week aiming to get better. There was no rest for the weary, however, and The Longhorns traveled to Houston to play Red River Rivals Texas A&M on October 22. Injuries plagued the Longhorns going into the match, most notably losing Brad Davis and Kendall Malcolm, and starting flanker Brett Wurdeman found himself on the way to the Emergency room 10 minutes into the match with a concussion. Despite these setbacks, the Longhorns played a tough game in which they found themselves down 12-5 at half. With the arrival of the second half, fatigue set in. With fatigue came the mental errors, particularly at the breakdown and on the defensive alignment. The Longhorns were unable to make up their deficit in the end. Coach Hopps had this to say following the match,
“The boys on the field worked hard. A&M were disciplined and clinical in pressuring us and scoring off of mistakes. We have alot of work to do. Some really good moments from our team and players like John Cullinan, Eddy Caballero and Reed hogan.
In other news, the Texas Rugby Program had a big month off the field as well. For starters, social media wizard David Blinn released a new hype video in anticipation for the coming season available on the University of Texas Rugby Facebook page as well as below the newsletter in the YouTube player.
The Longhorns also partnered with Texas Darlins to give back to the community (Pictured Right). Working with the Boys and Girls Club, the Darlins main philanthropy, the rugby boys assisted in a campus tourfor the kids complete with a classroom Q+A, and a picture in front of the legendary UT tower. Service projects like this indicate that 15 as one is not limited to the field, and that integrity and respect can always be directed for the good of the UT community.
Stay tuned as the Longhorns look now to Baton Rouge, where they look forward to a rematch with current conference leading LSU.