Utah pummels Arizona in wet Top 20 clash

D1A Rugby: Utah pummels Arizona in wet Top 20 clash
Photo Credit: Henry O'Keefe

The waiting game begins for No. 12 Utah after topping No. 14 Arizona 53-3 on Saturday. The regular season comes to an end for the Utes, but the win is expected to produce a bid in to the D1A playoffs in May.

“Well, we always hoped for a bid to the D1A playoffs, but before this match we didn’t know if that would happen,” says Utah head coach Jon Law. “Without being presumptuous, we believe this win puts us in a position to receive a bid and if so we look forward to D1A postseason play.”

With rain throughout the contest Utah took advantage by putting the Wildcats on the defensive early on. That started with making the initial tackles, as well as containing the wide Arizona offense according to Law. It remained that way most of the game while the Utes’ offense managed ball possession well and slowly ground down the energy of the Wildcats.

Law also credited the low amount of handling errors, combined with “good vision and decision-making.”

“I would say we accomplished our objectives fairly comprehensively in this match,” Law added. “It was a game played in difficult circumstances. Being an outside game there are times when teams must not only contend with the opposition but also the elements. We’ve worked hard to develop systems that can handle days like this.”

Hooker Chad Gough continued to turn head with two tries in addition to being a one of the biggest leaders up front. The same goes for fellow leader and 8-Man Gabe Rufflin, who also touched down twice.

In open play, Law credited Tevita Malafu in being a formidable force, and fly half Josh Webber who directed Utah’s patterns and system like a music maestro.

Utah now sits comfortably in second place with 15 points in the Pac Rugby Conference. Arizona’s season is also concluded, but remain in the hunt as well. Despite a 50+ point loss this past weekend, notable wins versus UCLA and No. 19 Air Force help highlight the Wildcats’ resume. The team has also averaged a 28-point margin of victory in their wins this season.