Brown defeated URI 30-20 but had to come back in the second half to beat their intra-state rival. Brown controlled possession in the game but was just not as sharp as they had been in Ireland. Brown gave up two long runs from URI backs in the first half to allow the match to be closer than expected.
URI’s backline was quick and dangerous but too many dropped passes caused URI to lose possession in key situations. At the end of the match, Brown’s fitness seemed to be the difference as Brown scored twice in the last 13 minutes and held URI scoreless in the final 25 minutes of the second half.
In fairness to the Bears, the players were tired from the Ireland tour and several players were ill during the week. Senior center Taylor Peak and senior flanker/center Brent Zajaczkowski missed the match as did captain Zahid Jethani who is still nursing a shoulder injury sustained in Ireland. Sophomores Manny Koelliker and Colin Schofield filled in on the first XV against URI and played solid games.
Brown has been lucky with the weather. The match was played on a clear breezy day. The URI Rugby program has Warren Boothman’72, former Brown Rugby captain, as its coach, assisted by former Brown forwards coach Skip Barry.
In the first half, Brown dominated the forwards, however, Brown found little space in the backs. Two of Brown’s first half tries by number 8 Zach Long’13 and hooker Danny Levine-Spound’12were the result of lineout drives but the third employed both forwards and backs with lock Landon Turley’12 making a nice break from a series of forward possessions and passing to center Dow Travers’12 for the score for a 15-12 Brown halftime lead.
For the first 25 minutes of the second half, URI took the match to Brown, outscoring the Bears 8-3 for a 20-18 advantage. Brown’s slow or lost ruck possessions by the forwards and missed and dropped passes in the backs combined with poor tackling to put Brown behind.
At this point, the memories of their ‘come from behind’ victories in Ireland and the team leadership kicked in and Brown scored twice with both backs ( center Dan Tondery’s’14 and Travers) and forwards (Turley, Levine-Spound and flanker Eddie Friedman’14) contributing to the scores.
Referee: Peter Lloyd-Evans