Minnesota Plays Warm Up Match

This article is from Minnesota Rugby website

Continuing to tune up for regular season play, the "U" played their second exhibition match of the season this past weekend in Columbia Heights. Unfortunately, the weather and scheduling conflicts made things more difficult than usual. The "U" was supposed to take on the B-Side of Wisconsin RFC, newly promoted to Men's D1, following their A-Side match vs. Metropolis.

This appeared to be news to the Wisconsinites who only traveled with about twenty players. Also troublesome was the fact that Metropolis' second side was not in attendance, instead having a DIII League Match in Faribault.

After some coaxing, a handful of the Wisconsin players honorably stood up and joined with a bunch of the "U's" second side players to field a team for the Gopher A-Side to play against.

With teams figured out, all the weather had to do was hold off for another hour or so in order for Minnesota to get a quality run in before taking on higher caliber teams next weekend in Indiana.

The Maroon and Gold would not be so lucky and the cold, driving rain caused problems all afternoon. Play was sloppy in phase from the onset. The "U" lost very winnable rucks, had very poor handling, and ran very flat. 8 man Ed Long had a fine first half, scoring the first and third tries of the game, while scrumhalf Nate Augspurger added a third. The half ended 17-0 in favor of the Gophers as once again senior goal kicker and fullback Mike Seidl could not convert a majority of his kicks, going 1-3.

In addition to the aforementioned shortcomings, the match was shortened to two 30-minute halves, both as a courtesy to the Wisconsin players playing their second match of the day and also due to the inclement weather. Unfortunately, some may say that the second frame was still ten minutes too long as the injury bug struck Nate Augspurger late in the second half when he severely dislocated a finger, which will force him to lose some time this fall.

The second half also saw massive substitutions for the college side, going instead with a B-Side backline and a few B-Side forwards to ensure everyone received ample playing time. The lone scoring occurred on a long run by Wisconsin and a thirty plus meter penalty goal by the "U", rounding out the score at 20-5. More important than the quality of play this past Saturday was the fact that the U of M was able to get out and play another tune-up match prior to departing this Friday for Elkhart, Indiana and the Big Ten Tournament.

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