Franciscan rugby falls to IUP Tooters 61-32

September 24, 2009 at 2:19 am 1 comment

By David Cup

Staff Writer

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Barons took on a difficult opponent in Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon, losing 61-32.  With the loss, the Barons fell to 0-3 on the season.

The first half was embarrassing for Franciscan. Four tries in the opening fifteen minutes, followed by four more to close the half, saw the Barons back on their heels and reeling from the speed with which the Tooters tore through their backline. Powerful forwards controlled every single ruck, while a devastating overload from the rest of the pack smashed the Barons’ backline. The Barons dug deep and forced captain Bob Hogan through for a try in the final seconds of the first half, but they still went into half time down 42-5.

The second half, a renewed Baron squad came out to play. In the first minute, Franciscan was able to drive inside the 5 meter mark, and Matt Smeby split the uprights with a beautiful drop goal. Although IUP was able to accrue 19 points throughout the second half, the Barons garnered an impressive 27 points. Sideline sprinting by Thomas Kleinschnitz brought two tries, ankle-breaking ability by Will Heffernan brought one try, and speed and strength by Matt Strickland brought one more try.

Said Kleinschnitz, “We got smashed the first half because they were a very good team, and overloaded their backline, causing a lot of problems for us. They were well rounded, well coached and very disciplined. We played hard. No one gave up even till the end even though they got the early lead.  We grew as a team and learned a lot from them.”

The Barons will have to buckle down on their technique in the next week of practice, for this Saturday at 1 p.m. is their first home game against Slippery Rock University. A traditionally forwards-heavy team, they will be a real challenge for the Barons, who look to get their first win of the season before their home crowd.

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