AUSTIN, Texas – A Red River doubleheader turned out easy victories for LSU and Texas A&M over the weekend. The D1A fixtures were just the beginning of a terrific day of rugby in Austin that featured the state’s best senior club match of the year, and the Eagles’ 30-22 victory over Canada.
Texas A&M 42-14 Baylor
The Aggies rolled into Austin with revenge on their minds after suffering a loss to Baylor in the fall. Coupled with Texas A&M’s previous outing, a 31-19 defeat to Oklahoma, the team was eager to put out its best performance of the season.
“The past two weeks of practice we’ve been fired up since that loss to Oklahoma,” said A&M No. 8 Phil Hanson.
The Aggies’ intent to put Baylor away was on display early, as Texas A&M raced out to a 12-0 lead after tries from Jacob Browning and Justin Brown. A converted try by Will Hawkins would put the Bears right back in the game, but not for long. The Aggies would get two tries from outside center Ross Navarro, and score the game’s next 27 points to extend their lead to 39-7.
Baylor’s Andrew Honderich added a late try, and A&M answered with three points off the boot off John Schell to close the match, 42-14.
The well-rounded performance was much improved after inconsistency hurt the Aggies in their Jan. 30 loss to the Sooners.
“Our support play was a lot better,” Hanson mentioned after the game. “Our defensive line and aggression was also much better.
“We’re learning from every game. We know what we did wrong today, and we’ll work on it this week.”
Baylor hopes to earn its first conference win of the season next week when it travels to Texas Tech. Texas A&M will be back on the pitch March 5 against LSU.
LSU 34-0 Texas
A match that had the early makings of an 80-minute defensive struggle ended in a blowout for LSU. Although they dominated possession and territory for the vast majority of the first half, the Tigers failed time and time again to get over the line against Texas.
“They were playing really hard,” commended LSU hooker Joe Ruocco of the Longhorns goal line defense. “I think it was a combination of their hard work and our inability to recognize when to commit to the ruck that cost us scoring opportunities. “
Eventually, winger Aiden Elias was able to dot down in the corner, but the score would remain 5-0 when the teams got together at half time.
“At half we talked about slowing down, being patient and winning those rucks,” Ruocco said. “We kept working at it, and we were able to string some phases together.”
In fact, the Tigers strung several long phases together on their way to five second-half tries – including one from Jeff Mauras, giving the outside center five on the season.
Now 0-2, Texas’ chance for its first win is next weekend at TCU. At 2-0 and ranked No. 17 prior to its shutout of the Longhorns, LSU’s biggest game of the season is five days away when Oklahoma hosts the Tigers. Undefeated, the Sooners are coming off a dominant nonconference victory against Oklahoma State, 85-5.