Monumental weekend: Summit boys rugby team captures first pair of wins in over two years
The past weekend was a monumental time for the Summit boys rugby team. The team was able to win its first pair of matches in the past two years, and it was also the team’s first wins since head coach Lance French took over the program at the beginning of the 2021 season.
The Summit boys rugby team played two matches on Saturday, April 2, at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. The team faced Dakota and a combined Fort Collins-Brighton squad.
“It was a good day,” French said. “It is the first wins we have had since I started the program back up. Winning two matches on any given day is a great day. The players did exactly what our goals were.”
In the first match against Dakota, the Tigers couldn’t have played better. The team picked up where it left off last week against Castle Rock, dominating on offense and playing staunch defense.
The Tigers outscored Dakota 49-0, never letting the opponent have a sliver of a chance in the shutout win.
“When you shut someone out, that is a rarity in rugby,” French said. “I can probably count on one hand – over the last 30, 25 years I’ve coached – the number of times I have seen a shutout.”
The Tigers won the game with a whopping seven tries and seven conversions to make up a total of 49 points. The team’s first points came within the first two minutes of the match.
Summit dominated in possession time, preventing Dakota from getting any major chances by having a strong defensive line and wrapping up tackles.
In terms of key players throughout the game, GC Martinez had two tries of his own while Summit rugby rookies Jared Marcer and Silas Tharp scored their first points of the season.
One of the last major moments of the match occurred when Marcer broke free and ran down the field with captain Jack Hodge in tow. Marcer and Hodge ended up running down the field as a tandem, each touching the ball three times before Hodge selflessly passed the ball back to Marcer to let him score a try.
“That’s classic rugby 101,” French said. “You guys just earned a 90-meter try. Jack looked at him and said, ‘Dude this is yours.’ It was inspirational.”
Martinez, who is also a captain, was named Man of the Match in the team’s win over Dakota for his leadership and two successful tries.
In the second match against the Fort Collins-Brighton team, the Tigers faced a more challenging opponent. The combined squad was made up of several talented rugby players.
Summit kept its opponent at bay for the entirety of the first half but let the other team score 12 points in the second half. The Tigers hung on to a 29-12 win, marking the players’ second victory of the season.
The Tigers’ entire roster displayed that it can quickly adapt to evolving in-game scenarios during that second match of the day.
The Tigers started having trouble moving the ball down the field to score more points at one point when the Fort Collins-Brighton squad started to catch on to Summit’s offensive plays. But the Tigers took into upon themselves, with no guidance from French, to switch up the code word the team uses for certain plays in order to confuse its opponent.
The trick worked as the team was able to score several points after the code name switch.
“They are changing. They are adapting. They are working together,” French said. “This team is really doing everything it takes to be a great team. The team was jumping out ahead of (the coaches) and advancing themselves.”
The Summit boys rugby team moves to 2-1 on the season and will play another two matches this weekend on Saturday, April 9, at Preston Middle School in Fort Collins.
The team will face North High School and the Fort Collins-Brighton squad. The team’s first match is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m.
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