LAFAYETTE, Colo. – Two of D1A Rugby’s best teams ended the regular season with solid victories. No. 1 Saint Mary’s had its way with old rival Cal Poly, 50-11, while No. 3 Lindenwood outlasted No. 6 Davenport in the snow to close the Mid-South season.
The Gaels picked up where they left off after last week’s dominating win over Santa Clara. Props Dino Waldren and Peter Walden scored two of the Saint Mary’s four first half tries, while the Mustangs could only muster two penalty goals by full back Mark Grzanich to produce a 26-6 halftime lead for the Gaels.
In the second half, it was the second row that added to the scoring affair, as Henry Hall and Michael Tillson went over the line. Winger Tommy Wallace, who scored last week against Santa Clara, dotted down twice in the win.
Cal Poly deserves credit for fighting till the final minute. The Mustangs’ effort was rewarded when flanker Salvador Guevara scored a try in the final play of the match.
After falling to Lindenwood by just six points in March, the Panthers were hoping to exact revenge on its Mid-South foe when the Lions visited a snowy Davenport University. A week after losing to Life on a snow-covered pitch, the conditions weren’t much better this time around, and made for few scoring opportunities.
Davenport ticked the scoreboard first with a Brady Gent penalty kick three minutes into the match. Lindenwood would answer with a try from prop Corey Harmann, and close the opening half with a successful penalty kick by Lungile Tshuma.
Hard-charging lock Jack Huckstepp scored the first points of the second frame with his first conference try of the season to put Lindenwood up, 13-3. Taking advantage of playing a man-up following a red card handed out to Lindenwood, Davenport sent Thomas Cheslek beyond the endline for the team’s first try. The conversion that followed split the uprights, and the Panthers trailed by just three points with nine minutes left to play.
The reserves who stepped-on for Lindenwood did well to help prevent a late Davenport score, and maintain its lead at fulltime, 13-10.
Reigning National Champions Saint Mary’s has a bye for the April 16 opening round of the D1A Playoffs, while Cal Poly, Davenport and Lindenwood will all be in action this weekend. The 13th-ranked Mustangs travel to play No. 9 Air Force, Davenport heads west to face San Diego State, and Lindenwood will host Wheeling Jesuit.