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Tech Opens Year With Rugby Win Over Highlands

Tech Hits Ground Running in 2018 with Win over Highlands

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

SOCORRO, N.M. – New Mexico Tech Men’s Rugby Team returned from Winter Break looking to continue its unbeaten record from the Fall semester. NMT hosted New Mexico Highlands University on Saturday, which was each team’s first match of the year. At the end of two action packed halves, Tech earned a 45-27 win.

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J.R. Hart passes to Dillon Mann in Saturday's win over New Mexico Highlands University.

 

Highlands, like Tech, has a long and successful tradition in Rugby, and Tech was prepared for a tough opening match. Tech did not have to wait long to get on the scoreboard. After 10 minutes, winger Nigel Ruckhaus touched down the first of seven Tech tries. Tech turned over Highland’s ball in Tech’s defensive third of the field and quickly moved the ball to the wings. Several Tech players skillfully executed passes and offloads, ending with fullback Dillon Mann’s offload to Ruckhaus.

Throughout the rest of the match, Tech controlled the majority of possession and territory, playing very high level and skilled rugby.

“The forwards were performing very well in both the scrum and rucks, and our backs were simply too much for Highlands to deal with,” coach Brent Nourse said.

Professor Clinton “Doc” Richardson, a long time NMT rugby supporter and referee, said, “I was really impressed with the way Tech [players were] always running in support of each other. That made things difficult for NMHU to shut down.”

Tech works very hard at training to ensure every ball carrier has at least two other players in support. Their hard work at training paid dividends Saturday. With the exception of one solo try from captain Tanner Graham, Tech tries resulted from disciplined work at the rucks and breakdowns and good support and passing.

Other Techies to score tries included Mann, Essiel Carrasco, J.R. Hart, and Dane Robergs. Graham not only scored a strong solo try late in the second half, but was on the receiving end of a beautiful offload from Mann in the first half, leading to his first try of the match. Ruckhaus also went 5 of 7 on try conversions for the day.

Tech next hosts University of New Mexico at 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 3, at the Athletic Fields.