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The University of Arizona traveled to Santa Clara this weekend and came away with an impressive 55-5 victory. Thanks to excellence in the set piece and a strong defensive performance, Arizona came away with a convincing win.
“Santa Clara is really physical and aggressive and were able to do some good things,” Arizona head Coach Sean Duffy told Rugby Today. “Where the game really changed was up front. For us we were able to some good things in the scrum.”
Arizona dominated the set piece all afternoon, led by hooker Cam Hudson. Hudson was the lynchpin of the forwards, running with the ball, scoring a try, and leading in the lineout and scrums. “He was really huge for us to set the tone,” added Duffy. “When you have front-foot ball it really helps you do some good things in the attack.”
The combination of Anthony Spencer and Dante Weeks on the wings proved deadly yesterday. Spencer was an All-American Honorable Mention last season, and the freshman Weeks scored two tries in his first competitive collegiate rugby match. “To come in and score two tries in your first real college rugby game is pretty exciting for him,” said Duffy.
Setting up quality ball for the wings was scrumhalf Kyle Rogers. “He was very consistent, was very good in controlling the attack and controlling the flow yesterday,” Duffy mentioned.
Although Arizona had tremendous success offensively this weekend, Duffy emphasized his squad’s commitment to defense. “The defense is the key for us. All through camp and all through this week we have been stressing defense and that was able to translate for us yesterday.”
Arizona will certainly have its defense tested as it moves into PAC play next weekend, starting with a date with Cal. Since PAC Rugby Conference does not have an automatic qualification to the D1A playoffs, as several of its teams compete in the Varsity Cup, every game is key to an at large bid for DI-A Arizona. A quality win over a ranked opponent bolsters the Wildcats' resume for the playoffs.