The Western men’s rugby team defeated University of Oregon 43-17 on Saturday, April 4, at Robert S. Harrington Field. The victory moves the Vikings onto the Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference finals.
Western came out firing and captured a moderately-large lead in the beginning of the match with four tries and one conversion against Oregon. Both teams fought for field position as the ball went from one half of the field to the other.
Paul Horne, director of rugby and head coach, pointed to a strong effort by the forwards to open up running lanes for the backs.
“The backs and the forwards gelled today,” Horne said.
The Vikings ramped up the defensive pressure against the Ducks and intercepted a number of the Ducks’ passes. Sophomore back Nick Bonovich intercepted the ball on two consecutive possessions, leading to two tries.
Bonovich said the team’s defense played hard and fast, and he happened to be in the right spot on the field at the right time. It was the first time in his career that he had intercepted two passes in one game.
Bonovich believed the preparation and mental state of the team helped provide the win.
“I believe our heads were all into it,” he said. “We had a good week of practice and everybody was on the same page.”
The match started out with an immediate penalty against the Vikings. It wouldn’t be their first as they were called for several more penalties throughout the contest.
Horne said that the team needs to address penalties as well as mark guys and develop more personal discipline.
The match picked up aggression as it progressed, resulting in two yellow cards, one for each team. Now, with a 6-2 record, the Vikings are looking ahead for the conference finals against University of Washington at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 11, at the IMA Turf Field in Seattle.
The Vikings and the Huskies fought tooth and nail in a tough defensive contest earlier this season. The Huskies ended up winning the match 10-0.
“We try [to play it] as just another game with simple, structured Western rugby,” senior forward Giovanni Trujillo said. “If we can play the way we’ve been playing the last couple of games, then we’ll definitely go out there and take that championship, then go to the Sweet 16 and hopefully take nationals.”