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The forecasted rain finally came just in time for the men’s final at the 2018 Penn Mutual College Rugby Championship at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa. UCLA donned its white kit and Lindenwood was in black and gold. When the final horn sounded, the Lions held the men’s CRC trophy high and claimed the championship by a score of 24-7.
UCLA kicked off to Lindenwood and the Lions went wide where Lorenzo Thomas’ pop pass to Chris Schoeman sent him flying down the sideline for the opening try. JP Aguirre nailed the conversion from the boundary for the 7-0 lead. Off the restart, UCLA worked the ball into Lions territory and after a penalty, Aguirre sent to the bin with a yellow. Almost immediately, Ben Broselle took advantage with the equalizer.
Following the kickoff, Patrick Regan was yellow carded for kicking the ball following an infraction. The teams played six on six and Lindenwood stole UCLA’s lineout inside the 22 and Nick Feakes powered his way to score under the posts. Aguirre added the conversion to lead 14-7 at the half.
The second half started with both teams at full strength. The Bruins tested the Lions defense, but Lindenwood repelled the attack forcing UCLA into touch. The squads went back and forth between the 22s until Deion Mikesell cut the defense in half for the try. The subsequent conversion clanged off the upright but Lindenwood extended the lead to 19-7. With less than a minute left, UCLA’s Cian Barry recovered his own kick ahead but lost it seconds later. On the counterattack, Alex Augspurg broke the line and Nick Taylor put an exclamation point on the victory with a game-ending try to win 24-7.
Lindenwood head coach Josh Macy said the key to the weekend was “catching our breath after day one and getting a good feel for the tournament. We put the onus on the guys to relax and enjoy the experience, which allowed us to gain momentum this morning and it just picked up. We played better and better as the day went on.”
“JP Aguirre had a fantastic tournament,” Macy added. “We put some more duties on him so far as attack and restarts and had an awesome day. Our wing combination of Deion Mikesell and Wesley White were so dangerous. Chris Schoeman played really well bringing a physical presence into the Life game. He is known as an aerial attacking guy and he just stepped up big there.”
To sum up his 7s season, Macy concluded, “Having played in both tournaments and now won both tournaments, it’s really great to see how many good teams there are now and I’m really pleased with our guys that we played and beat them all.”