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The anticipated match between #3 Saint Mary’s College and Arizona ended in a lopsided victory for the Gaels as they won 73-7 on Friday night in Tucson, Ariz. Rebounding from the prior week’s loss to San Francisco Golden Gate, St. Mary’s’ experience and talent outmatched the Wildcats. Arizona was without five players who attended the Men’s Junior All-American Camp, but with how the Gaels were playing, it may not of mattered. St. Mary’s will complete its tour of the state when it plays Arizona State tomorrow afternoon.
In a fast tempo match, the Gaels busted out to a quick start scoring 30 points in the first half before Arizona’s Kyle Rogers could get the Wildcats on the board with a try. Arizona was able to stop bleeding for a short time as the tally remained 30-7 at the break. The Wildcats looked as if they found their defensive composure, but were yellow carded for repeated infringement. The card opened the floodgates as St. Mary’s scores 43 consecutive points to run away with the 73-7 victory.
The Golden Gate match weighed heavily on the mind of St. Mary’s head coach Tim O’Brien in preparation of the Arizona contest. “Being able to address serious issues that arose in that match, address them during the week, and apply the lessons on Friday night,” was the key to the match according to O’Brien. “A lot of Golden Gate’s tries came from turnovers and significant pressure. Our defense was good, but our ball retention was exponentially better than last Saturday.”
When asked what the deciding factor of the game was Arizona head coach Sean Duffy said, “Experience. We started a lineup of mostly freshmen and sophomores. Youth is zero excuse for some of the mistakes we made. If you look at some of the playmakers over there like Dylan Audsley and Dino Waldren, they were able to do some good things. Where they had success was knowing when to attack off flat ball and deep ball and when to ramp up the pace and when it slow it down. They really had us on string with the pace of the game.”
O’Brien complemented the play of his forwards and a particular birthday boy. “The back row did well. Alec Barton, Kevin O’Connor, and Vili Helu, they were all over the field. Our scrum did well, these two very young boys, our loosehead Peter Walden and hooker Ethan Waller, had nice games overall. Dylan Audsley, on his birthday, was stellar. The subs were seamless and did a nice job.”