On November 8th, Oklahoma State Rugby traveled down to Austin, Texas to take on Red River Conference rival Texas.
Texas traveled to Stillwater, Oklahoma in November 2013 and fell to the Cowboys, 38-3. It was a hard loss on the road. Preparing for the game last Saturday the veterans who had traveled the previous fall did not want to feel the same sting of defeat on their own pitch, which the Longhorns felt after their recent loss from St. Edward’s.
“We’ve had a rough couple of games this season,” said Assistant Coach, Justin Oxford. “It wasn’t from a lack of fitness or talent. The cause was lack of mental commitment and discipline. We kept breaking away from our gameplan and played more as individuals, not a team. And we all recognized that. We changed up our training plan. Added in more team-building drills and the improvement over the last three weeks has been tremendous.”
The improvement was obvious the moment the whistle blew Saturday. We saw an entirely new team. One that found its rhythm the moment the match started, not twenty minutes in. Captain Taylor Hayes set the tone of the match by scoring the first try of the day.
“I think that my first try was a result of our team’s general intensity out of the gates. We really set the tone early by putting in the big hits on defense and being hungry for tackles,” Hayes stated. “The try then acted as a springboard and caused our team to raise our intensity even higher, eventually giving us the win and result we wanted.”
This new Texas team brought the intensity and finished the first half leading 34-0. The intensity carried through to the second half, leading the Longhorns to a 71-0 victory over Oklahoma State.
Tommy Gilmore, the team’s Vice-Captain, stepped up and drove his forward pack off the line on defense and demoralized the Cowboys’ attack. The forwards did not stop there. They dominated in the scrums and at the breakdowns, scoring multiple tries in the process. Gilmore’s leadership earned him Man of the Match.
“Coming into this game we just needed to relax and have some fun. We were a bit down on ourselves after some tough losses, so Buss gave us time to refocus on having fun and just playing rugby as a team. We have incredible athletes on this team, and it feels good to get back on track,” Gilmore said.
The intensity did not stop there. The Texas B-side took the field against Oklahoma State’s B-side fired up and ready to go.
The B-side came out focused and driven against an already demoralized Oklahoma State team. Hunter Wrobleske, veteran 7s player and Man of the Match, led the team to a 22-10 victory.
We talked with Wrobleske after the match. “It was easy to perform confidently and dominantly knowing we had an upper hand in terms of morale. I would have been disappointed if we played any less than how we did. We played good rugby.”
After a weekend of good rugby Texas has their sights set on our biggest rival, Texas A&M, as Head Coach Chris Hopps told us.
“We took care of business Saturday. It felt good. Now it’s A&M week.”
Texas takes on Texas A&M this Saturday, November 15, at 2pm at Burr Field here in Austin. The address is posted below. For friends and fans, parking will be $5 at the gate. We will see you there in your burnt orange!! Hook’em \m/
Burr Field Address:
6013 Loyola Lane
Austin, Texas 78724