After a narrow defeat to Capilano RFC on February 3, the UBC men’s rugby team demonstrated their dominance against Seattle RFC and got back on track Saturday with a convincing 48-10 victory.
Despite their previous history with the Seattle rugby squad — in their last meeting, UBC defeated them 36-14 — the Thunderbirds did not underestimate their opponent as the crowd watched a pretty even game in the first half. UBC was also without co-captain and one of the team’s highest try-scorers Theo Sauder for the game, something the team had to adjust to.
“Theo’s a rough and tumble type of guy, so you know teams target him, teams take shots at him. So I think the effort there is to try and get him out of a little bit of work so that he’s healthier at the end of the season — but ya, it’s just how it goes,” UBC head coach Rameses Langston explained of his missing co-captain.
The Thunderbirds gradually found their flow after the first 20 minutes, swinging the ball wide and using their forwards as an intimidating driving force. The team’s back-up players also performed well, supporting the decision to give Sauder some rest for the weekend.
“I did think we were better on defence,” Langston said. “We took too many penalties as usual and we still have lots of stuff to work on, but all in all I think we played better as a team, as a group together."
Though the T-Birds did have several unforced errors, both teams were strong defensively. However, UBC’s tackling barely allowed any penetration through their back line and by committing less to the rucks, their offence was able to exploit the gaps on the outside wings of their opponent.
In the second, UBC’s defence only broke down once, allowing a Seattle try and moving their opponent up to their final tally of 10 points.
That said, the offensive onslaught from the T-Birds once again put them well ahead of their opponent, finishing with a final scoreline of 48-10 in favour of UBC. The forwards dominated the scrums, followed through with controlled line-outs and crashed the ball forcefully to commit several opponents into the rucks.
After the game, co-captain and outside flanker Jacob Ikeda said he was pleased with the team’s performance on the attack.
“Our front row played really well and I thought Cali [Martinez] had a great game,” Ikeda said.
UBC now gets a weekend to rest their legs before heading to Berkeley, California to play the University of California Berkeley (UCB) Golden Bears on February 24 at Witter Field in a World Cup match-up.