Speed and agility weren’t enough for the Dixie State University Men’s Rugby Club Saturday as the size and physicality of the Utah Rugby Brothers Semi-Pro team fought its way to a 34-29 victory.
The Storm were originally slated to play host to Weber State University, but the Wildcats cancelled the match. On short notice, a semi-pro team from Salt Lake City called Utah Rugby Brothers agreed to oppose DSU.
Freshman Justin Fulton gave DSU the early lead as he notched a score’s try in the first minutes of the match. A subsequent successful conversion gave the Storm the 7-0 advantage.
DSU, however, was scoreless for the rest of the half while the Brothers scored 17 unanswered points, including a try in the waning seconds to finish the period.
“I felt like they did a good job of maintaining possession of the ball,” head coach Scott Moffitt said. “If we could have controlled possession more, I think they would have gotten worn out toward the end.”
The Storm would make a comeback in the second half, scoring early in the period. Junior Desmon Paopao and freshman Robert Schwenke combined to score two tries which sandwiched a try by the Brothers, bringing the score to 22-19.
The size and strength of the Brothers was evident as the match became more physical. The Brothers were called for several high-tackle penalties and issued a warning. They retaliated by scoring two quick tries to extend their lead 34-19.
“We got hit in the mouth early from these guys,” said Corbin Moffitt a freshman general education major from Santa Clara. “We were able to recover from that using our speed. We did a good job of swinging the ball and creating gaps.”
Corbin Moffitt reenergized DSU as he intercepted an errant pass near midfield and was able to run untouched to the end line to score a try. That was quickly backed by a try from sophomore Ahmad Tools. Both conversions were failed, however, and the score sat at 34-29.
“It was a very physical game,” said Tools, a communication major from San Jose, California. “Being a semi-pro team, they work a lot on tackling and hitting hard. It was fun, though, and I enjoyed every second of it.”
Needing a try and conversion to win, DSU pressured the Brothers near the end line as the second half clock neared zeroes. The Storm’s attempts at victory were thwarted, and they fell in defeat 34-29.
“This was probably one of the most physical matches we’ve been in this season,” Scott Moffitt said. We typically can use our speed to our advantage, but they were able to match us in that today.”
The defeat was only DSU’s second loss of the season, the first came against Brigham Young University in the first game of the season. Both losses came from teams that are not in the same conference as the Storm.
Despite the loss, DSU stands at a perfect 4-0 conference record. It will have a bye this week before traveling north to take on Idaho State University April 11 at 1 p.m.