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In the opening weekend of PAC Rugby play, UCLA defeated Arizona State 32-12. The Bruins used stout defense and after creating a 32-0 advantage gave up a pair of consolation tries to the Sun Devils.
UCLA jumped out to 20-0 first half lead thanks to strong defense and some questionable decision making by the Sun Devils. Several times the Arizona State had makeable penalties but opted to go for the corners. The chances went begging and Arizona State was unable to crack the score sheet in the first stanza.
“I think the effort was tremendous, the guys worked hard but for various reasons did not cross the try line. UCLA played very well in defense, so credit to them,” Arizona State coach Gary Lane told Rugby Today.
The Bruins added another 12 points to extend their lead to 32-0. With the lead, UCLA was able to get a look at a number of new players and find combinations that work for the squad.
Zach Bonte, Pierre Courpron, Andrew Alex and Yoh Nakayama all scored tries for the Bruins. Nakayama, a freshman from Greenwich, Connecticut, also tallied two penalties and three conversions for a total of 17 points on the afternoon.
Arizona State finally got on the board in the second half with a pair of tries. The Sun Devils looked to have made things interesting with a third score, but the referee ruled against the Devils on a call that could have gone either way.
Lane praised his teams work effort against a solid UCLA side. His team has been working very hard in practice and will continue to improve upon this performance. With a young team, Lane emphasized improving upon their decision-making.
“We played a lot better in the second half and I think we have good players and that’s all well and good but we need to get across the try line,” Lane added. “We need to keep fine tuning and recognize certain situations and respond to them.”
For UCLA, it was a nice bounce back victory after falling 38-0 to Cal in the Dennis Storer classic last weekend.