Falcons Speed Away From Davis For DIAA Title

Falcons Speed Away From Davis For DIAA Title

Notre Dame College beats UC Davis in the USA Rugby Men's College DIAA final on Saturday.

May 7, 2017 by Alex Goff
Falcons Speed Away From Davis For DIAA Title
Notre Dame College halted the championship streak of UC Davis, defeating the Aggies 40-20 on Saturday for the USA Men's DIAA Championship.

NDC was the fall champion, beating Bowling Green 39-17 in South Carolina. The Falcons then had to wait until May to face UC Davis, which had beaten NDC in last year's spring final and had won the previous year, as well.

Things looked like they might go the Aggies' way this time, too, as Notre Dame College was stung by errors and penalties. Davis flyhalf Josh Farnsworth punished two of those penalties to stake his team to a 6-0 lead. But NDC replied just before halftime. With lock Matthew Smith in the sin bin, Zach Forro punched in a crucial try and Logan Weinstock's conversion gave the Falcons an improbable 7-6 halftime lead.

In the second half, NDC did well to pressure on defense and prevent Farnsworth from having the time to boot the ball downfield for field position. The Falcons started to control possession, using their powerful forwards to wear down the Davis defense and its backs to open up space.

Hard-running flanker Cian Grendon did what he had done in that fall final against Bowling Green, scoring a try at a critical juncture. Weinstock converted to make it 14-6, and then Charles Winn sped in to make it 19-6 midway through the second half. David finally got a try of its own, through prop Inoke Raikadroka and were on the attack looking for more when wing Roneil Reynolds did what he had done against BGSU and intercepted a pass to go the distance for a back-breaker. 

From there, NDC's backs were able to sing a little. Fullback Marcus Tupuola was in his element and scored a try, and his partner, Cory Graham -- the two share halfback/fullback duties -- added another. Davis did score late, but it was wasn't enough.

"Marcus was excellent for us, but it was a true team win," Notre Dame College head coach Jason Fox said. "I think we wore them down a bit. Our fitness was really good. We wanted to come back against Davis and beat them -- the guys really wanted that.