Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass rugby rolls on

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Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian

Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian

After steamrolling the University of Connecticut 54-10 in its season opener, the Massachusetts rugby club team continued to play in dominating and physical fashion, as the Minutemen beat visiting Northeastern 65-7 Saturday afternoon in Amherst.

The game was controlled by UMass (2-0) from the get-go, on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. The scoring got underway in the third minute, with a try scored by senior fullback Jay Emmott. The opportunity was created by forward captain Thomas Thekaekara off a turnover by the Huskies. Freshman star and East Coast Rugby Conference point leader Joe Jenkins subsequently converted the kick to give the Minutemen a 7-0 lead in the early-going.

Turnovers and sloppy play plagued Northeastern for the majority of the game, and UMass took advantage. Three minutes after the first try, Jenkins scored once again. He received a weak side pass, was tackled (but not held), then stood up and cashed in another try for the Minutemen. The score left a difficult conversion attempt for Jenkins in the corner, which he failed to convert, but the score was still 12-0 UMass in just the sixth minute.

A Minutemen penalty led to a penalty try for Northeastern in the 19th minute of the game, and the subsequent conversion cut the UMass lead to 12-7. It was the only points the Huskies would put on the board all day, and the Minutemen extended their lead just six minutes later after a penalty kick by Jenkins – bringing his point total to 10 early in the day.

As the first half marched on, so did UMass. Only three minutes later, Thekaekara scored the Minutemen’s third try of the contest, and UMass led 20-7 in the 28th minute. Six minutes later Thekaekara scored again, and by halftime what had been a five-point game was suddenly a 30-7 rout.

The second half was more of the same for both teams: sloppy play for the Huskies, impressive, efficient offense and stifling defense for the Minutemen. The maroon and white would score five more tries – two from Derek Wegener and one each from Tom Ross, Timothy O’Connor and Jonathan Rossini. After struggling in the first half, Jenkins managed to go 5-5 on conversions in the second half, giving him a point total of 20 for the afternoon.

UMass captain Matt Crush had high praise for his team after the victory.

“We came out really aggressive and I think that really helped us. Our entire defense was up together, we flew up in their face,” Crush said. “On offense, we maintained possession of (the ball), moved it out when we needed to, our forwards played really well, and everyone broke tackles when they needed to.”

As they try to maintain their hot start to the season, the Minutemen will embark on a three-game road trip, and it will be over a month until UMass hosts another match. The Minutemen will take on Fairfield and New England College on respective Saturdays, before a bye week gives them time to recover before a matchup against Boston College on Oct. 17. UMass finally returns home on Oct. 24, when it will host Albany.

Brett Hetnik can be reached at [email protected]

1 Comment

One Response to “UMass rugby rolls on”

  1. Judith Jenkins on September 26th, 2015 6:52 pm

    What a great report of a game of rugby.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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