ASU Rugby is finally getting started for the spring season . This year the squad had very few games with long periods of times in between.Their season unfortunately has been peppered with canceled games do to few California teams opting not to travel to Arizona to play . They played only one game so far this season.
In their first and only game, ASU took on University of San Diego (USD) at home in Tempe
ASU came into the game missing back-rower Austin Krause, who was out with an ankle problem. This forced some shuffling in the pack, Sean Martin moved from 2nd row to No.8, while McCade Siegle moved from loose-head to 2nd row and Nick Booz took Siegle's vacant spot at Loose-Head.
In the back line, an Injury to Cooper Baines also forced some shuffling. Kai Lyles came in for Baines on the left wing, Robert Huerta played on the right and Devin Rivet started at full-back. The Midfield was Kaden Ellison at 10, Josh Lesley at 12, Will Quinn at 13, with Joey Bridgeman playing at 9.
ASU's forward pack was dominant. They managed to turnover USD's scrum and were consistently folding their opposite numbers in the tackle. However, line-speed was an issue throughout the ASU team. Players were waiting for USD carriers too often meaning that, unless the tackler made a big shot, they were losing meters on the carry.
Despite ASU defending strongly, USD played with brains and was able to win the possession and territory battle, USD had 59% possession and played 84.5% of their rucks in ASU's half. ASU conceding 40 points is concerning not just in the number but also in the variation in the tries. Some were pick-and-goes from close range others were sweeping back-line moves finished in the corner. So General defense is going to need some serious work if they want to have any hope of improving.
Attack, was also a worry for ASU they were unable to keep possession for long periods of time, they made a grand total of 20 handling in the game. The attacking structure failed to create anything no matter how much front-foot-ball the forwards got the backs couldn't do anything with it. Devin Rivets scored four tries in the game but most of those were from kick returns or broken play. Outside of Rivet’s four line-breaks, the only other player to have one was second-row McCade Siegle.
Despite a 22 Point difference between the sides it often felt like USD rode their luck benefiting from a number of refereeing decisions and capitalizing on turnover ball from ASU errors. This game felt more like ASU losing the game rather than USD winning it.
Final score ASU-26 USD-40
ASU’s next game is against Mira Costa on Saturday, March 4th in Tempe. after the 1st XV game, ASU, GCU and Mira Costa's B-sides will also play each other round-robin style after the A-side game.