On Saturday, the Thunderbirds men’s rugby team overcame the Seattle Saracens in a 48–19 win that saw the ’Birds extend their BC Premier League record to 11–1.
The ’Birds were strong directly after kickoff, doing a good job at keeping play in the Saracens end of the pitch. But the wind would be taken out of the Thunderbirds sails as UBC’s recovery of a Saracens kick was knocked on, allowing a chasing Seattle player to recover the ball and run it in for a try. The early converted try made the score 7–0 for Seattle.
The T-Birds would not stay down.
UBC marched up the pitch with possession greatly aided by a hard scrummaging forward pack to find themselves with the ball on the Saracens five-metre line. The Thunderbirds would successfully turn an overlap into a try and an impressive sideline conversion made the score 7–7.
The tie game would be short lived. Roughly 10 seconds after the ball was kicked to reset play, Seattle would retake the lead. Once the ball was in hand, a couple missed UBC tackles and a Saracens offload would make the score 12–7 for Seattle.
In response, the Thunderbirds made their way deep into Seattle’s end. A potent UBC attack was met with some impressive try-line defense that would hold up two consecutive attempts at a try. The T-Birds would leave with a penalty try resulting from the second five-metre scrum, making the score 14–12 for the Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds continued to draw penalties — and with the lead in hand, UBC would opt to kick for points. Jack Scher’s boot would first make the score 17–12 and then 20–12 on consecutive kicks, each over 40 metres out.
Before the end of the half, the Saracens would get many opportunities of their own to kick for an easy three points, each time opting instead to look for the try. A strong try-line defense fought back Seattle, ensuring the halftime score would sit at 20–12.
Second half scoring began with a Thunderbird try 2 minutes into the half and the Saracens scored roughly 7.5 minutes later. Both tries were converted by their respective teams the new score 27–19.
From this point, the scoring would all go in the Thunderbirds favour. The next try would look much like the Thunderbirds previous try. The T-Birds created an overlap and got the ball into the right hands. Consistent Kicking got the T-Birds another successful conversion stretching the score to 34–19.
The next try would be UBC’s second penalty try of the match. The Thunderbirds drew a penalty off of a Seattle scrum 5 and opted for their own scrum as a platform to attack from. Seattle shenanigans prevented a try and the ’Birds were awarded an automatic seven points to make it 41–19.
UBC would score two more tries over the remainder of the match, the first directly after a turnover and both exploiting the middle of the pitch.
At the end of the game, the scoreboard read 55–19 in favour of the Thunderbirds. Next time UBC will hit the pitch will be in their annual World Cup series against the University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears on February 22 in Berkeley and March 1 at Gerald McGavin Rugby Centre.