UC San Diego Men’s Rugby opened up regular season play on the road at California Lutheran University on Saturday. After a much disputed first half, the Tritons could not keep up with the Knights and were ultimately defeated 45-5.
The opening day of Gold Coast Division II play saw the Tritons face up against a determined CLU team. The match was even in the first half as teams traded scoring occasions until CLU’s winger broke through at the 20th minute to make the score 5-0 in favor of the home team. Shortly after, the Triton’s own eight-man, Carlos Munoz, got just a few meters away from scoring the equalizing try, but was penalized for dangerous play and lost possession of the ball. CLU then exploited a 4 on 2 opportunity on the wing to score their second try through their fly-half with just 5 minutes left to play in the first half. The Tritons finally broke through with a minute remaining, when captain Judah Word took the ball on a pick-and-go and scored the try to bring the score to 5-12 at halftime.
UC San Diego returned to the field in the second half full of good intentions but got caught cold when CLU scored two tries in the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half. The Tritons kept getting beat out wide, and despite a solid scrum, lost too many possessions on their lineouts to rival with CLU’s wingers speed. With two more tries, the score held at 33-5 with 20 minutes remaining in the game. The Knights were reduced to 14 players for 10 minutes after a dangerous play, but UC San Diego could not exploit it ultimately falling 45-5 after two more tries by CLU.
With the final score, UC San Diego fell 7 tries to 1, but the score overlooked the fact that for most of the game the Tritons matched up well with CLU. The Tritons now have to regroup before they play Fullerton in a friendly next weekend at home. Their next league game is scheduled for Saturday Feb. 6 at Azusa Pacific.