Although not entirely reflected in the final score, the UCSD Men’s Rugby Team displayed one of their best early season performances in recent memory during Sunday’s match against Mira Costa. Fielding a revamped team with several new players who will play integral roles throughout the season, the young Tritons played with poise and confidence from the opening whistle, and throughout the remainder of the game – even as fatigue became visible early in the fourth quarter and onwards.
From the opening moments of the match, the Tritons successfully strung several phases of solid rugby together, keeping the Mira Costa defense on their heels with a combination of forward plunges and constant backline motion. While largely unable to get the ball out wide to the fullbacks and wingers for the majority of the game, the Tritons successfully avoided many self-inflicted errors that have erased promising offensive possessions in recent seasons. Building off of this improvement will be an increased effort to spread the ball out more – capitalizing on the excellent forward play in the middle areas of the field. Though managing to advance the ball deep into opposing territory several times, the Tritons were only able to find the try zone sparingly, as the score lingered around 17-10 near the halftime break. Defensively, the Tritons showed incredible improvement from last year with unified play and solid tackling. However, consistency throughout the course of the match will need to be heightened, as the opponents began to pull away in the second half. Ultimately, although the Tritons fell to the visiting Spartans 42-10, the loss highlighted many positives for the squad to adjust and tailor as they kick off what looks to be a promising 2023-2024 season. The Triton season continues on October 21st as they host the Norco College Mustangs on Warren Field.
By Vishnu Vijayakumar