D1A Latest: Badgers Claw Hoosiers, and More Around The US

Wisconsin Looking For A Big 10 Title

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The big surprise in Men's D1A college rugby this weekend was Wisconsin's 40-24 defeat of Indiana in the Big 10.

The result puts the Badgers at 3-0 and drops IU to 1-1, shaking up the hierarchy in a conference where Indiana has been the frontrunner for some time. 

"It was a good performance by us," said Wisconsin head coach Scott Adlington. "We had good play from all 23. We scored a try - our second try - that might have looked like a backs try but came from a tighthead win in the scrum a few phases before. It was that sort of day where everyone contributed, including the bench."

Ben McColgan continued his strong goalkicking and Adlington said it was crucial that the center was able to get points when putting IU under pressure and forcing penalties. He also praised captain Luke Henricks for making the right decisions as to when to go for goal, and when to kick to the corner.

With freshman Owen Sheehy playing a smart game at flyhalf, distributing nicely and kicking for territory, the Wisconsin forwards were on the front foot as often as not. And when IU broke through, which they did on several occasions, the Wisconsin cover defense did well.

"Even when they scored, we hit them and got back up and knocked them down again, so when they did score they had to work for it," said Adlington.

Also in the Big 10, Michigan State shut out Minnesota 33-0 to improve to 2-1 - the Spartans' only loss being to Wisconsin. Ohio State was leading Illinois 10-3 at halftime when the game was halted due to lightning. It is unclear whether that result stands.

Liberty Thrillers

In the Liberty Conference, Iona slammed a solid Fordham team 57-15. Fermin Moraiz and Chris Johnson continue to show good form for Fordham, but Iona had too many weapons. Cullen Buckley, Santi Mascolo, and Mike Scarcella all scored two tries, and Mascolo converted six for 22 points all on his own.

Delaware pushed aside a rather desultory first half to beat Rutgers 31-15. Rutgers hammered Delaware with its forward play, helped along by some Delaware penalties. But when the Blue Hens pushed the pace they were in better shape. Scrumhalf Luke Persanis set up a try off a quick tap and then sold a dummy near a ruck and two defenders to score from 30 meters.

In the second half, Persanis scored twice more on quick taps, and Delaware rolled.

Iona is now 4-0 while Fordham and Delaware are both 2-1 in the I-95 division.

Albany lost its first game of the season, 21-12 to SUNY Oswego, while Syracuse defeated Cortland 24-3 in an impressive defensive effort. Wings Ormando Watson and Peter Laporin, as well as lock Andrew Burdsall and prop Kyle Gref-Mott, scored tries for Syracuse.


As a result, Albany drops to 3-1 and Syracuse improves to 3-0 and takes over 1st place in the Empire division of the Liberty Conference. 

And in the New England Conference, it's a two-horse race. UMass was dominant in a 50-3 defeat of previously-unbeaten UConn, while Boston College overcame a tough Northeastern 36-17.

Shea Cup

Navy exploded for a 26-0 lead against Air Force with tries from Michael Galvan, Braedon Mead, William Bossert, and a penalty try for a collapsed scrum in front of the posts. Air Force mounted a comeback - no surprise there, but Navy held on 38-22 to retain the Shea Cup, named after Major Kevin Shea, who played rugby at Air Force, coached rugby at Navy, and was killed in action while serving in the US Marine Corp in 2004.

This is also the first game of the three-game Commander-in-Chief Trophy series. Navy is now in the driver's seat and can clinch the trophy with a win against Army in the spring.

Rugby East 

Penn State laid down a marker with a 50-15 defeat of a well-regarded St. Bonaventure team. The Nittany Lions ran out to a 38-3 halftime lead with two tries from Luke O'Malley and tries from Ryan McNulty, LJ Koi-Larbi, and Kyle Crawford.  

Flyhalf Connor Dellapina was superb with his goalkicking, converting all five first-half tries and adding a penalty. SBU battled back, but there was too much to do.

Penn State is now 2-0, behind 3-0 Army (idle this weekend). Notre Dame College has slipped to 2-2 after Kutztown defeated the Falcons 27-10. Kutztown got second-half tries from Joe O'Shields and Breyten Maritz to pull away. At 1-1, with the other result being a close loss to Army, KU is still in it.

With flyhalf Thorne O'Connell managing the game nicely and sophomore captain Gerald Lowe leading from the front, Kutztown is piecing it together. O'Connell's presence has allowed Jackson Clark to move back to his preferred position of scrumhalf, and that's been a boon to the Bears also.

Elsewhere Around The Country

Oklahoma smacked a struggling Texas in the Red River. BYU opened up its conference account in the Rocky Mountain with a 113-0 defeat of Wyoming. 

Colorado State beat Colorado in a massively physical contest 18-5. This was a big game for playoff considerations. The interior back pairing of Scott Neis (flyhalf) and Max Whelan (inside center) have blossomed under new head coach Mose Timoteo.

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Round 4: Super Rugby Aotearoa/AU Team of the Week

Codie Taylor, Crusaders

With the Australian Super Rugby teams entering the fold this week, the Super Rugby Team of the Week selection just got a whole lot tougher. There were plenty of great performances over the weekend, and a few names on the sheet that continue to show up week in and week out. 

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MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: New England Freejacks

New England Free Jacks

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

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10 Monday Notes: Hot Seats In NZ, Super Rugby Kicks Off In AUS

Reds, Harry Wilson

The gifts keep on coming, as Super Rugby AU's new season just got underway this past weekend with two scintillating matchups, while Super Rugby Aotearoa once again dazzled fans. 

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MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: Houston Sabercats

Houston Sabercats

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

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More Rugby! Super Rugby Australia Kicks Off With Reds vs Waratahs

Waratahs

Much to the delight of many rugby fans all around the world, Super Rugby began a New Zealand-only competition three weeks ago, giving spectators something great to feast their eyes on after a long rugby layoff since the start of the pandemic. Well, starting this weekend the rugby universe will be treated to another great competition, as Super Rugby now begins its Australian-only league. 

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TWO UNBEATENS REMAIN: Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 4 Preview

Richie Mo'unga, Crusaders

Through three rounds of Super Rugby Aotearoa, it's the Blues and the Crusaders who still remain unbeaten, while the Chiefs and the Hurricanes are still in search of a first victory on the season. The Highlanders, meanwhile, sit at 1-1 after two heart-stopping fixtures against the Chiefs and the Blues. 

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Date Set For New Zealand's North vs South Island Battle

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For the first time since the mid 1980's, New Zealand is set to reintroduce the famous North vs South Island match on August 29th, pitting players from each of the two parts of New Zealand against one another to settle where the best rugby players in the country truly come from. 

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MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: Colorado Raptors

Colorado Raptors

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

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Could New Zealand Be Hosting The Entire 2020 Rugby Championship?

New Zealand v South Africa - Rugby World Cup 2019_ Pool B Warren Little Getty Images For World Rugby.jpeg

With much of the world shut down still thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, rumors are swirling that New Zealand could be home to the entire 2020 Rugby Championship. The past three weeks have seen the beginning of the Super Rugby Aotearoa, a competition involving just the four New Zealand Super Rugby franchises. 

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