Baylor, TCU look improved in ’15 openers

D1A Rugby: Baylor, TCU look improved in ’15 openers

BOULDER, Colo. – Two of the teams that have struggled during the inaugural Red River Conference season began their 2015 campaigns with solid performances. Baylor put together a complete 80-minute showing en route to a 32-15 win over Rice, while TCU played its best rugby of the season in a losing effort to the Dallas Reds’ second side.

Baylor, whose only conference victory came against winless TCU, displayed the potential many thought would have shown up in October. Led by dynamic back-row forward Pete Hamm, the Bears put five players beyond the end line for tries – including Hamm, who dotted down twice.

Rice doesn’t have the talent of Red River’s Oklahoma or Texas, who Baylor lost to by a combined 80 points, but the win could spark a fire under the Bears’ young roster. The B-side completed the sweep for Baylor with a 37-5 defeat of the Owls.

No team wants to rely on moral victories, but there are a few to be pulled from TCU’s narrow, 17-15, loss at the hands of the Dallas Reds. While the Reds did use the match as a developmental 80 minutes for their second side, the Horned Frogs’ opponent still included members of a club that came up one match short of playing in the Division I National Championship game in 2014.

The Reds were not only the more experienced team of the two, but had a lofty advantage in size, as well.

“I wanted to use this opportunity to see how my young team would react,” explained TCU Head Coach TeShay Flowers. “We were completely dominated in the scrums, but the guys got better as the game wore on. We also had trouble with the counter ruck because we normally don’t give up that amount of size.”

TCU managed to stay in the game using quick ball and increasing the overall pace of play. If it weren’t for a number of sturdy defensive stands by the Reds, the Horned Frogs might have stolen a win from Dallas.

“I was happy the guys retained much of what we worked on last semester, and over the year-and-a-half since I took over the program,” Flowers said. “We are beginning to establish an identity, and players are beginning to fit nicely into their roles.”

Next up for TCU is a home match against Texas A&M Jan. 24, whose only blemish on its record is a loss against No. 11 Oklahoma.