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ASU Open Season With 23-14 Win Over Claremont

ASU Rugby kicked off the season by beating Claremont 23-14 on Saturday, February 3rd. 

In the forwards, Nick Booz, Isaiah Fatigoni, and Ethan Walls made up the front row. Captain Nick Davies partnered with Carter Carlson in the 2nd row. The back row saw Landon Lahdony and Pearse McNamara on the flanks with McCade Siegle playing 8. 

In the backs, a new half pairing of Jacob Hurl and Beau Arend at 9 and 10 respectively. The centers saw another new pairing, with Cooper Baines playing at 12 and Bennet Ronay at 13. The back three saw Evyeni Gavrildis play on the left wing; Graham Ferguson slid from fullback to right wing, with Braeden Darling coming into play fullback. 

Bennett Ronay
Bennett Ronay makes a textbook tackle in open space. Photo by Sanjay Bhandari

ASU opened the scoring with Pearse McNamara taking a quick tap from a scrum penalty. ASU’s forward pack was outstanding during the game, the scrum especially was an area of strength for ASU. A frequent during the game was ASU’s forward pack going forward in the scrum before it devolved into an unseemly mess. 

Claremont hit back with a try about halfway through the half. Ferguson gave away a penalty for something or other and was put in the bin. A maul from the resulting lineout and a few pick-and-goes tied ASU’s defenders around the rucks leaving space wide, which they exploited. 

Both tires were unconverted so a penalty to each team saw the scores even at 8-8 into halftime. 

ASU Huddle
ASU huddle at halftime with the score at 8-8. Two second-half tries and two penalties saw them to a 23-14 win.

The next try would be scored by ASU, they had been exerting pressure inside Claremont’s 5 meters. Carlson knocked on in the in-goal, McNamara had charged down an attempted clearance and the resulting scrum had been turned over via penalty. ASU opted to scrum again from the penalty and Arend dove over the line, stepping his opposite number on the way, after a dummy line from Baines held the flanker and created space on the inside. 

The game's final try came from the resulting kickoff. Fatigoni managed to tap the kickoff to Ronay who made the break up the touchline before beating the last two defenders by cutting inside and touching down under the sticks. Darling added the conversion and another penalty, finishing the day 3 from 5 off the tee. 

Braeden Darling
Braeden Darling looks to convert the first try of the match. Darling finished 3/5 from the tee. Photo by Sanjay Bhandari

Claremont was only able to muster two penalties in response. The dagger was the two back-to-back tries, the game fizzled out after that. Claremont continued to attack but never created any clear-cut chances. 

ASU looked comfortable throughout the game, the only time they looked vulnerable was during the sin-bin period. The forward pack thoroughly outmuscled their opposites and the backline was able to capitalize on the work of the forwards. No major injuries and a two-week rest before the next game means that ASU will head into their next game at full strength.  

The win against Claremont puts ASU in a good position for the next game against USD. Beating the reigning champions USD will be a tough ask but if ASU wins they will be in with a chance of winning the division. ASU’s A and B sides will travel to San Diego to take on USD on February 18th.  


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