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Utah improved to 2-0 in PAC Rugby play with a 36-11 defeat of Arizona State in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Utes led 14-3 at halftime and allowed just one try on the day.
The field was saturated after the dissipation of snow, and the conditions lent themselves to Utah’s strength.
“We tried to use the forwards a lot. The field was a bit wet, and I think it definitely showed in the ball handling,” said Utah captain Mike Juszczak. “Arizona wanted to get the ball out wide, and I think the defense of Utah did a good job of launching up, shutting them down and causing a little bit of a ruckus at the breakdown.”
Four of Utah’s tries came through the forward pack, as No. 8 John Cullen dotted down twice, and hooker Mike Shepherd, lock Spencer Vickery and Juszczak (a flanker) scored once each.
Utah has now recorded wins over both Arizona and Arizona State. UCLA, Oregon State and Cal now stand between the Utes and the inaugural PAC Rugby Championship.
“It’s a great feeling. Everyone’s pretty excited about it. I think what we’re all focused on is making sure we’re getting better every time we take that field, and ultimately, just getting ready for the likes of Cal and BYU,” said Juszczak.
“We just want to get better each game and come out with a win each game. Get better every day and form a little bit more continuity.”
Before the Utes get to the Golden Bears and Cougars, the meet up with UCLA next week in Los Angeles.