Oklahoma victorious in Red River opener

D1A Rugby: Oklahoma victorious in Red River opener

BOULDER, Colo. – The vast majority of the Red River season will be played in 2016, however, Oklahoma has two conference contests prior to winter break. In an effort to take advantage of the on-campus festivities that occur during Big XII football games, the Sooners beat Texas Tech in rugby the same day the two schools did battle on the gridiron, and Oklahoma will host TCU Nov. 21 – the same day the Sooners and Horned Frogs cross paths in football.

Fly half David Wallace got things started for the Sooners with a penalty kick for goal five minutes into the match against Texas Tech, and winger Jacob Belcher scored the game’s first try five minutes later to put the Sooners up, 10-0.

Front row forward Luke Prosense’s try, followed by a conversion and a second penalty from Wallace, gave Oklahoma a commanding, 18-0, lead that appeared to be safe heading into halftime. However, replacement hooker Conner Wyatt was able to get beyond the try line in the final play of the opening half for Texas Tech. After Gonzalo Eizmendi’s successful conversion, the Red Raiders went into intermission only down 11, and what appeared to be a fair amount of momentum.

“As our director of rugby, Jon Veile, is fond of saying, ‘you must reply to points with points,’” stated Oklahoma Head Coach Doug Neubauer.

The Sooners have, apparently, been listening to Veile, because it took less than a minute into the second frame for the home team to answer Tech’s try when Thomas Murphy dotted down.

“It was important to come right back and make sure we took any ideas of a comeback out of their heads,” Neubauer said of Murphy’s try.

Already ahead 25-7, Oklahoma continued to apply pressure on the Red Raiders, which resulted in a second try for Belcher, and five more points off the boot of Wallace – who was tremendous on defense, as well.

The 35-7 result in favor of the Sooners was a positive given the team has been balancing sevens and 15s. However, Oklahoma is far from a finished product.

“We played well enough to win this game, but by no means was it a clean performance,” admitted Neubauer. “We have lots of room to grow, and quite a bit of work to do to get where we want to be. With that said, it is nice to start with a win.”

The second and final Red River 15s match of the fall will see Oklahoma host TCU Nov. 21. Prior to the fixture between the Sooners and Horned Frogs, TCU will host the Red River Conference 7s Championship Nov. 7.