Pygmies Open Rugby Season In Scrimmage With Brujos

SOCORRO, N.M. February 5, 2014 – The New Mexico Tech Pygmy Rugby Club kicked off the spring 2014 season at home Saturday with a scrimmage against men’s club side New Mexico Brujos.

Isaac Juarez delivers a stiff-arm to the face of Brujos center Colin McEntee during a season-opening scrimmage.

Under cloudy but relatively windless conditions the visitors led 20-0 at halftime on the strength of four five-point tries. Tech rallied to score two tries in the third period to pull within six points before the Brujos slammed the door with two more tries in the final stanza to outscore the students 27 to 14.

By mutual agreement the teams played four 20-minute periods instead of the regulation format of two 40-minute halves. This allowed Tech to try different player combinations ahead of the competitive schedule which starts on the road against the University of Texas at El Paso on February 15.

Former U.S. Marine Moises Veleta played in his first-ever rugby match, as did Carl Peart, a freshman out of Rio Rancho High School. Returning for a guest appearance after a year with the Coastal Rugby Club in New Plymouth, New Zealand, was Socorro native James Chavez.

Overall the Pygmies looked poised for improvement over last fall, beginning with the contest for ball possession. Lineouts (in-bound plays) were better, resulting primarily from better throws to Aaron Pudlicki and Ben Turner by Darien Williams. After a creaky start in the scrums Tech’s forward pack also showed promise for a better platform from which to launch attacks. Brian Arko continued his improvement at scrumhalf with athletic passes to freshman Rourke Nakai, who received Man of the Match honors for his capable debut at the pivotal flyhalf position.

The Pygmies will try to improve their Rio Grande Union collegiate record to 2 wins and 2 losses against UTEP in two weeks. After one semester of round robin play the union’s collegians are led by the University of New Mexico, followed by New Mexico State and UTEP, who narrowly lead New Mexico Tech on a points system that rewards number of tries scored and margin of victory. Following a second round of play the university teams will meet in Socorro on April 5 for the Rio Grande Collegiate Championships. 

– NMT –

By Dave Wheelock/New Mexico Tech Rugby Director