BY HUGH BROWN
OGDEN — The University of Utah men’s rugby club had to put in a goalline stand to hang on to a hard fought 16-14 win over the Weber State Wildcats in a sloppily played game.
The Wildcats were expected to be strong, based on their close 27-24 loss to a BYU split squad in the Red Rock Rugby Invitational last week, but the Utes still fielded their second side for this in state game.
The match was played on a water-soaked pitch. Just four minutes into the contest Dane Madsen kicked a penalty goal for a 3-0 Utah lead. Madsen added a second penalty kick at the 16-minute mark, following a high tackle, to up the Utes’ lead to 6-0.
Weber was awarded a penalty at Utah’s 5-meter line late in the half and scored a try and conversion following a quick tap for a 7-6 lead. Fifteen minutes into the second half the Wildcats scored another converted try when the ball squirted out of a scrum on the Utah 5-meter line and was pounced on by Weber State to up its lead to eight points.
Thirty-two minutes into the half the Utes won a lineout at the WSU 10-meter line and Nate Kingsford shock off one tackler and spun away from two others to score a try and cut the lead to 14-11.
With just a few minutes left in regulation time, the Utes worked their way to the Weber State 10-meter line. The Wildcats were penalized in the lineout and Kaleb Hogan took a quick tap and bulled his way into the corner for the winning try. Weber mounted a strong attack in injury time and drove over Utah goal line, but a resilient Ute defense kept the ball from being touched down.
Sam Croft played an outstanding defensive match for the Utes who now travel to Corvallis, Ore., for a game against Oregon State this Saturday.