Red Wolves Rugby Heading to Semi-Finals

COURTESY: Sporting Life Arkansas

PHOTO: Richard Carvell

JONESBORO, Ark. — Arkansas State University took one more step down the path to the Division I USA Rugby National Championship Saturday afternoon after soundly defeating Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, 43-5, in a quarterfinal game at the A-State Rugby Fields.

The victory ensured the Red Wolves rugby team’s next appearance in the semifinal matchup with Life University, Saturday, May 3, in Marietta, Ga.

Arkansas State got on the board early with three quick scores following the execution of tries by 6-1, 185-pound freshman Mike Baska from Overland, Kan.; 6-4, 230-pound sophomore from Pretoria, South Africa, Kirk Pretorious; and Connor Cook, a 6-3, 200-pound junior from Waihaloa, Hawaii. All conversions by Cook were good to give the Red Wolves a 21-0 lead only 20 minutes into the game.

The Mustangs of Cal Poly scored to cut the A-State edge to 21-5, but senior team captain Shaun Potgieter added more points to give Arkansas State a 26-5 lead at the half.

A strong defense kept Cal Poly in check throughout the second half, not allowing them to score once. However, A-State continued its offensive assault with another try by Baska to push the score to 31-5 in favor of the home team.

Despite the defensive battle, sophomore Tom Haussrer of Auckland, New Zealand sprinted down the sideline for another try to make the score, 36-5. The final points came thanks to 5-8 senior Dylan Carrion of Plano, Texas, whose attack closed out the game with a 43-5 score.

The Red Wolves will face Life University for the third time this season after losing both games earlier. Life captured the MidSouth Conference title with an unblemished conference record of 6-0, while A-State finished second with 4-2.

In other playoff battles Saturday, St. Mary’s defeated Santa Clara, 103-10, and will move on to play Lindenwood in the semifinals, while Lindenwood knocked Davenport out of the bracket with a 64-32 victory. Life University beat Colorado, 57-3 to earn the right to play Arkansas State.