BYU Bests Dartmouth in Tight Contest
The Men in Green walked onto the national stage in Albuquerque this afternoon, and to many in the American rugby community they were seen not to have a fighting chance against #2 seed BYU. But with the score tied 15-15 at the half, the Men in Green looked to have a lot more in them than many had anticipated.
reprinted from the Dartmouth Rugby Football Club Web site written by Doug Raicek Dartmouth '08 Tied 15-15 at Half, BYU pulls away in 4th quarter to win 22-49... Though a final score of 48-22 was less than the Big Green had hoped to walk away with, Dartmouth left everything on the pitch, and walked off holding their heads high. BYU took an early lead, putting up back to back tries in the corners, but the Big Green was quick to respond. Shifting the pressure back on BYU with strong tactical kicking, Dartmouth began playing the game in BYU territory and this paid off, first with a penalty kick and then with a try to put the score at 8-10. It became clear to the Dartmouth side that they could produce on attack, and they did well to carry this momentum forward, smothering BYU on defense, pinning them down with smart kicking, and seizing on line-breaks when they presented themselves. One such opportunity came with five minutes left in the half, as, after a series of forwards crashes, Dartmouth spun the ball wide, and sliced the BYU line for a try under the posts and the lead. In the final minute of the half, BYU was able to force one more try in the corner to tie the game at 15-15, but while the score was even, BYU and all onlookers were forced to admit that Dartmouth Rugby was a force to be reckoned with. The second half opened much as the first, with two tries from BYU, this time for a 12 point lead. But again, Dartmouth rallied and answered with a try of their own, leaving the Big Green trailing by a narrow five points, 22-27.
With only 19 minutes left to play, a Dartmouth victory seemed entirely within reach. Yet the final minutes did not favor the Big Green, as BYU was able to capitalize on penalties with smart mauling, and did well to convert their opportunities into points. BYU was able to score four unanswered tries before the final whistle, running up the score (22-49) on what was otherwise a very even match.
After the match Dartmouth Head Coach Alex Magleby commented, "We came into this match with confidence and the belief that we should come out on top. Our preparation, continued development, and match-day tactics, we felt, would put us in a position to come away with the victory. We have a lot of respect for BYU -- they have a strong history, a good coaching staff, and a strong culture. We just felt we had been developing well and were getting closer to our potential. At the end the scoreline's a bit scary, 22-49. We wavered a bit from our game plan in the second half and it cost us. Hats off to BYU for using their opportunities well, particularly when they were able to get into our 22m. We are looking forward to moving on tomorrow with an exciting contest against a very powerful and dynamic Arkansas State team."