UCSD Men’s Rugby travelled to Los Angeles on the 18th of January to participate in the UC Tournament. Joining them were the teams from UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC Santa Cruz. Each team would engage in 40 minute matches split into two halves.
UCSD took on the host school, UCLA, in their first match. The game began with UCSD holding out against UCLA’s explosive offense. It was not long after that UCLA scored the first try. This, however, did not discourage UCSD. UCSD answered UCLA’s try with one of their own after stealing the ball and sending it out to the wing and burning out the defense. The score was tied 7 - 7 in the first 10 minutes. Keeping momentum, UCSD retained possession and pounded against the UCLA defense and eventually scoring another try and not long after scored a penalty kick. The first half ended with UCSD leading UCLA 17 - 7. This score continued several minutes into the second half until UCLA was able to score against UCSD. Closing the gap to 17 - 12. UCSD continued to hold against UCLA but were unable to prevent another try leaving the score 17 - 17. With fatigue setting in on both sides, it was a hard fought battle with both sides unwilling to give in to another. The game’s final seconds were spent 5 meters from the UCLA try line where UCSD defended as best they could but in the end the line judge’s controversial call yielded a UCLA victory, 22 to UCSD, 17.
UCSD took on UC Berkeley in their second match. It did not take long for UC Berkeley to demonstrate why they were one of the nation’s best rugby programs, by scoring within the first 3 minutes of the game. UCSD still held their ground against this team and were eventually able to capitalize on their mistakes and score, tying the score 7 - 7. UC Berkeley, surprised at UCSD’s retaliation, began to work harder. Using their experience, they were able to identify weaknesses in the UCSD defense and were able to score 3 more times bringing the score to 28 - 7 at the end of the first half. UCSD did their best to hold out against UC Berkeley in the next half but their offense and experience proved to be superior and eventually ended the game UC Berkeley, 56 - UCSD, 7.
UCSD faced UC Santa Cruz in their final match. Although both teams were fatigued from previous matches, they both showed up eager to win. The game began evenly matched with score becoming 7 - 7 within the first 10 minutes of the match. However, UCSD soon began to adjust to the UC Santa Cruz’s style of play and was able to score another try, bringing the score to 14 - 7 before the end of the first half. After regrouping during half time, both teams came out with new game plans to win the game. UC Santa Cruz started it off by using their speed on the outside to score one more try and later a penalty kick. This pushed UC Santa Cruz to the lead with 17 points. Unable to accept this, UCSD pushed against the UC Santa Cruz offense and scored once more changing the score to 21 - 17. UCSD then continued to hold out the UC Santa Cruz until the end of the game, giving UCSD the final victory.
UCSD Men’s rugby thanks UCLA for hosting and all other participant teams for the experience. We hope to see them once more in next year’s UC Tournament.