BY HUGH BROWN
MORAGA, Calif. — The No.1-ranked St. Mary’s rugby team knocked off fifth-ranked Utah 24-15 in the DI-A college quarterfinals on Saturday.
Despite starting All-American Thretton Palamo at outside center, the Utes found themselves down 5-0 lead seven minutes into the game. Utah’s Danny Christensen countered with a penalty kick for three points on the ensuing kickoff, but St. Mary’s won a 5-meter scrum at the Utah goal line and their forwards scored in the corner off a series of pick and jams to up their lead to 10-3.
Toward the end of the half the Gaels scored again, and with their first successful conversion led 17-3 at the half. St. Mary’s had been able to shut down the vaunted Ute attack for the entire first forty minutes.
Utah began to turn it around at the start of the second half, winning a lineout at the Gaels’ 10-meter line and, after some great forward mauling, Les Soloia bulled in for the try to cut the lead to 17-8.
With 26 minutes left, St. Mary’s scored another try and conversion for a 24-8 lead, but Utah kept attacking and when the Ute pack spoiled a St. Mary’s scrum at their own 15-meter line, the forwards pushed it in for a try.
Christensen’s conversion made it 24-15 with 15 minutes to play. The Utes continued to press for the remainder of the match, but the Gael’s defense clamped down when it counted and that was the final score.
It was a great improvement from their earlier 41-10 loss to the Gaels in January, but it was nevertheless a hugely disappointing ending to a very good 10-4 season that saw Utah outscore its college opponents 682-298.
BYU looked unbeatable as they ran all over UCLA 103-24 in the first round of the DI-A national college playoffs. The Cougars now travel to Marietta, Ga., to play Life University (the DI-A team generally given the best chance to stop undefeated BYU). Life won handily over Penn State 75-3 on Saturday. In the third playoff contest, Arkansas State (whose only loses have come to Life) traveled to West Point, N.Y., where the handed Army its first loss of the year 36-20.
BYU at Life
Arkansas State at St. Mary’s
Saturday, May 19, 7:30 p.m.
Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah
UTES AMONG DI-A LEADERS
Utah’s Don Pati tied Cameron Dolen of Life University for the most tries scored in regular season DI-A play with 14.
Pati scored his in seven matches while Dolen played eight. Life’s Joseph Cowley was third with 12 tries.
Shaun Davies of BYU kicked 57 followed by Cowley’s 49 for Life. The Utes’ Danny Christensen was third with 27 conversions.
Cowley led all DI-A regular season scorers with 185 total points, followed by 164 by Davies of BYU. Utah’s Pati was the fifth leading scorer with 72 points.
EAGLE 7’s IN SCOTLAND
The United States Sevens side, with former Utah Warrior Mike Palefau, flew to Glasgow, Scotland, last week for the next-to-last leg of the IRB Sevens Series.
On Saturday the Eagles opened play against Australia, leading 14-12 at the half before dropping a 29-14 decision. The U.S. then lost a close match to England 19-12 before rebounding to beat Kenya 29-14 in the final Saturday contest. Palefau scored the first Eagle try.
On Sunday the United States met Russia in the first round of Bowl play and lost a tough one-point decision 22-21. This put the Eagles in Shield play where they defeated Portugal 17-14 before falling to Kenya in the finals 22-14.
The U.S. concludes the IRB sevens season this week in London.
UTAH BROTHERS RANKED
Utah Brothers concluded their up and down spring season being ranked 24th in RugbyMag’s DI Club Rankings.
Belmont Shore (Calif.) is ranked first followed by Glendale (Colo.).
The Provo Steelers were not included in the rankings. The big question now is what is going to happen with Utah’s club level rugby?
Once a bastion of great teams, with Provo and the Haggis repeatedly going to national tournaments, the Utah Rugby Union’s club level has fallen on hard times.
UTAH HIGH SCHOOL RUGBY
In Division 1: Trybe beat Lowland 38-10 and Herriman got by Snow Canyon 17-11.
In Division 2: The Cougars downed Cache Valley 41-19, Hurricane blasted Dessert Hills 56-14, and the Flyers beat the Las Vegas Aces 39-12. Division 1 United played the Division 2 Warriors but no score has been reported.
Herriman leads Division 1 with a 6-1 record while Trybe is 5-1. In Division 2 the 4-1 Cougars lead the North, 4-1 South County top the Central, and 7-0 Hurricane is the best in the South. In RugbyMag’s May 3 rankings, Trybe was fourth nationally and United 12 of the high school clubs.
D-1A – A week ago Arizona beat Colorado State 47-24 in a late reported match.