Barnburner Recap: St. Mary’s 69 – 3 Cal Poly

D1A Rugby: Barnburner Recap: St. Mary’s 69 – 3 Cal Poly

In the Week 4 Barnburner St. Mary’s brushed aside Cal Poly in what was anticipated to be a close match between two strong Pacific Conference teams.

Coming off of their respective pre-season campaigns both teams were poised for a Californian struggle this past weekend that unexpectedly saw St. Mary’s crush Cal-Poly 69-3.

The St. Mary’s Gaels scored 13 tries through nine different players as they conquered the Cal-Poly Mustangs in an offensive blitzkrieg that lasted eighty minutes.

The game began as was expected with some back and forth phase play that created opportunities for both teams. The first ten minutes saw each team testing the other as they tried various attacking moves but were left in the dust with a loss of possession. As the first quarter of the match began to close the St. Mary’s forwards, led by Andrew Cook, began to click and retained possession for some disciplined and well worked tight play that saw flanker Robert Carlson cross for the games first try.

From this try the Gaels seemed to realize that through their hard work int he trenches they could could chip away at the Mustangs and tire them out. Once this had been achieved the forwards understood well that the Gaels backs could finish the job. The clinical retention of the ball and their precise attack with their backline saw the Gaels gain a comfortable buffer over the mustangs, leading 25-3 at half time.

The Gaels rarely found themselves on the defensive side of the ball, controlling possession and territory seemingly at will as they consistently struck the Mustang defense with blistering speed and surgical running lines. Cal-Poly missed their chances at clearing their territory and made some mistakes with the ball in hand that allowed the Gaels to counter attack against a scrambling Mustang defense. Transition play proved to be a weakness of the Mustangs as the defensive line was broken and unsteady while the Gaels countered every Mustang mistake with a clinical attacking blow.

Throughout the match the Gaels forwards continued to win, retain, and utilize possession while the backline unleashed multiple attacks and showed their gratitude to their forwards by notching eight tries in the second half. St. Mary’s backline was bolstered by the try-scoring efforts of Kinglsey McGowan as he recorded a hat trick against a slow Mustang defense.

St. Mary’s now dominates the Pacific Conference and has heaps of confidence as the continue to pursue a National Championship campaign for the 2012 D1A season. Although they have been seemingly untested this season, the Gaels are a strong team showing peak athleticism and superb understanding of their roles and standards within the team and this sport. This coming weekend they face BYU in a non-league match up between two of the strongest teams west of the Mississippi. This game could prove to be one of the best matches of the season and will be a true test for these two playoff bound teams.