The ASU men’s rugby team took on rival UA on Oct. 26 at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex field, and Sun Devils defeated the 2012 Collegiate Championship runners-up 55-24.
ASU jumped out to a comfortable lead with its starters shutting out the Wildcats 15-0 at the half.
Entering the second half, coach Gary Lane decided to mix in the second-tier players due to the game being an exhibition match.
That didn’t change Lane’s opinion of how the match went, or how his team continued to perform.
“(They) played very well,” Lane said. “UA is a good team, and the scrimmage says a lot about the hard work the (ASU) players have put in.”
Most of UA’s first-team players played throughout the first half and briefly in the second.
Junior Jonas Serra had a phenomenal game, scoring twice to extend the Sun Devils’ lead.
ASU thrived in all phases of the game, whether it was big tackles resulting in turnovers or moving the ball down the field efficiently.
“I liked the fact we were very aggressive in the contact,” Lane said. “The tackling was excellent.”
Multiple Sun Devils busted big runs with well-organized passes and breakaway speed.
Junior captain Adam Sandstrom was proud of the way his team played and he looks forward to this season specifically.
“We’ve been improving immensely since August,” Sandstrom said. “We were sharp and accomplished what we wanted to. Guys have another year under their belt and they’re getting the flow of things.”
The team put together is considered a “seven’s team,” which is a squad of seven players on the field in contrast to the typical 15.
These matches also are much shorter than normal, thus allowing for more games to be played in a day, especially during tournaments.
The Sun Devils have their first tournament of the year this weekend at UCLA for the PAC Sevens Rugby tournament.
Lane says the team is prepared and doesn’t have much to work on as the tournament approaches.
“They just need to stay healthy, eat right and get lots of sleep,” Lane said. “We need to play our game, and we’re going to shock a lot of people.”
The winner of the tournament receives an automatic bid to the USA Rugby Sevens Championships on Nov. 30 through Dec. 1.
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