Sunday, March 15, 2015

Colorado State Beats Rivals Colorado

Former Colorado Springs Grizzlies secondary schools star and Rams #15, Liam Wynne, prepares to fend off the high tackle. Photo: Bob Lyon
By Bernie Decker

Any competition between CU and CSU, no matter the prize, is certain to be well-contested. When the subject of the disputation is an ovalesque sphere and the conflict takes place on the rugby pitch of a gorgeous emergent spring day, well then you’ve the makings for  a classic and yesterday’s match between numbers  20 and 8 in Canterbury’s D1A college rankings did not disappoint. Tallies tight through the first forty gave way to an explosion of scoring in the second stanza as the pair of Colorado universities battled in Boulder on Saturday under bright sunshine with little wind.

Rams got onboard early as CU was pinged for not rolling away after tackle and CSU flyhalf, Lance Eberhard, potted the penalty from 30 meters just outside the right post: CSU 3 and CU 0 with five minutes gone.

Take the jump to read more.

Each side assessed the other’s defense, keeping ball in hand and banging away from the breakdowns and maintaining possession for their ensuing scrum-puts, and each side gained possession against the head as the forward packs determined their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.

And it was Colorado State to realize initial joy when Eberhard’s double-clutch, miss-pass found filling fullback, Liam Wynne, near midfield; the Rams #15 broke into space and fended away a pair of would-be stoppers en route to a 50+ meter jaunt that ended in the first touch down of the match: Eberhard skewed the conversion attempt and it was 8-0 the visitors in the 16th minute.

CU’s faithful along touch and in the stands were rewarded by a crowd-pleasing effort by the Buffs #15, Kellen MacDonald: with homeboys on the march in Rams territory, MacDonald split the three-quarter line and captured an fiery transfer 30 meters from the Rams goaline; a jinky step followed by a fulsome fend, and MacDonald was across sure as you’d like to ground for scrumhalf, Cory Ketai’s conversion, and it was game most decidedly on at minute number 27 with a scoreline of 8-7 in the traveler’s favor.

CSU stretched their advantage in a dazzling display of ballhandling near CU’s 22 as half dozen touches in as many meters put backrow lock Evan Geist clear for his fast finish and 13-7 after 32 ticks of referee Ed Gardner’s clock.

Rams returned for more swiftly as openside Estevan Crispin found space for his quick close and 18-7 for CSU at 37.

Buff’s right return saw blindside flanker Zach Niro burst brightly into the open at CSU’s 22 meter line and  touch down for Ketai’s added deuce and it was 18-14 with time winding down in the half in the 38th minute.

CSU’s Big Engine, Kevin Castle, ended the scoring in the period with a hard charging try through the Buff’s business district: Eberhard tacked two on and 25-14 the tallies as referee Gardner sounded the halftime whistle and lads to lockers for hydration and instruction.

Rams success at the breakdown exacting turnover ball the difference in this one thus far.
The guests picked right up where they left off, spending the first three minutes of the last half  in Buffs territory on incessant attack until outside center AJ Elowinski, a PAC Rugby alumnus, sliced into freedom and raced to goal for his try completed by Eberhard and 32-14 to Rams at 43 minutes.
Big Engine Castle snared the lofty communication on the hard charge for his brace and after an Eberhard conversion, 39-14 at minute 47.

Former Cherry Creek standout and Rams captain Ben Pinkelman, who’d shifted from blindside to inside center for the derby, quick-tapped a penalty at his own ten meter line and flippered and dummied his way for a sweet 60 meters before touching down: 44-14 now with the rout on in the 51st minute.

The Rams would touch down thrice more with dots by: Elowinski (at ’56) for his brace in a 70 meter sprint along touch that highlighted CSU’s tight-transfer capabilities and it became 49-14;  a theft by Eberhard when CU was pressing in Rams business district, but the CSU pivot burst to space and outraced the chase to ground at ’66 for 54-14 tallies; and finally Pinkelman broke upfield before unloading to his #6, Oliver Jenkins, to close for 59-14 by the 73rd minute.

CU made a final five when replacement forward Devin Slubowski collected a jouncing pill off the turf; his touch down and Ketai’s deuce made for a final record of CSU 59 and CU 21 at Gardner’s last blast.


Buffs - Try: MacDonald, Niro, Slubowski; Con: Ketai (3);
Rams - Try: Wynne, Geist, Crispin, Castle (2), Elowinski (2), Pinkelman, Eberhard, Jenkins; Con: Eberhard (3); Pen: Eberhard

Match Officials: Ed Gardner (referee); David Fellows, Geoff Ingeson (RAs)

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