TWU Handed a Learning Experience in 96-0 Loss to #4 Ranked Saint Mary's College in California Trip
The new rugby program at TWU just got a harsh lesson handed to them on a trip to Saint Mary's College in Moraga, California just outside of Oakland. The new program took a leap in the deep end and found out where their program sits in the college rugby heirarchy.
It will be a while until TWU gets up to the level of other BC based university/college teams like UVic or UBC but it has to start somewhere.
Saint Mary's is ranked #4 in USA College rugby behind Life University, Cal Bears, and Lindenwood. UBC and UVic are at that level and UBC regularly competes against #2 California Golden Bears in a home and away series and has won that competition the last few years. They're scheduled to meet again this Feb/March. The Cal Bears will also face Saint Mary's in a home and away series later in March.
TWU shouldn't feel too bad though as Saint Mary's previous game on December 8th was a 93-0 win over unranked Santa Clara. TWU's next match is against University of Washington on January 18th. That match should be a closer contest as University of Washington aren't nationally ranked. The top team in the state of Washington is #18 ranked Central Washington University. They'll visit the Spartans in Langley on February 14th and that will be a match that will give a clearer picture of the Spartans progress and current playing level.
[ed. kudos to TWU for writing up the result, it's a testament to a rugby program when they can write up the big losses as well as the wins.] from TWU Media - Mark Janzen
MORAGA, Calif. – Playing in just their third 15s match in program history, Trinity Western’s men’s rugby team lost 96-0 against Saint Mary’s College, who is currently ranked No. 4 in the D1A rankings, Saturday.
A veteran Gaels side, who has played in five of the last seven D1A national championship matches, put up 53 points in the first half before adding 43 points in the second half.
The Spartans men’s 15s side is now 1-2 overall since re-launching the program this past fall, including a win over UBC Okanagan (43-20) and a loss to the Surrey Beavers (31-13).
TWU will now prepare to travel to play University of Washington Jan. 18 at 1 p.m. at IMA Sports Field.
Caleb Gerth – TWU Captain
“Today we saw the standard and the bar that we need to get to. They’re a great team and they’ve played a lot of rugby together as individuals and as a team. Obviously the boys are down a bit after that, but mostly we’re excited to just get back home this week and get back to work. This is the level that we want to be at in a few years and so that’s why we want to play teams like this.
“I thought that with ball in hand, we were making ground and line breaks, but you just can’t play defence for that long. Overall though, this was a great experience and it show us where we need to be.”
Andrew Evans – TWU Head Coach
“You can see why Saint Mary’s regularly contends for the national championship and is one of the best university programs in the United States. They are well-coached and the history of the program is amazing. There is a reason why the United States is getting better at international rugby and it’s programs like Saint Mary’s that are helping to lead that charge.
“From our perspective, we now have high-quality game tape that we can review. Our boys know the standard of college rugby that we need to rise to. We wanted to have this game now, rather than in a few years, because we need to know where we stand and put ourselves under pressure and make ourselves uncomfortable now, so we can be intentional about our training moving forward.
“Our boys had a bunch of points scored on us, but it’s really encouraging to see how positive they are. This team is a group of warriors. We knew we were going to be in tough, but our guys were ready to battle.
“I think we matched up in the physical battle, which is impressive because we’re a young team against a veteran group. I thought our scrum held up very well. We had a number of strong performances, with guys like Sam Wegert (Langley, B.C.) and Brian Carlson (Langley) really showing what they are capable of against a strong Gaels side.”
Trinity Western Announce Roster to Face Division One #4 Ranked Saint Mary's College in Moraga, California on Saturday
from TWU Media - Mark Janzen
LANGLEY, B.C. – Trinity Western head coach Andrew Evans officially announced the roster for the Spartans highly-anticipated game with Saint Mary’s College, who are currently ranked No. 4 in D1A rugby in the U.S., Saturday (1 p.m.) in Moraga, Calif.
The contest will mark the start of the Spartans 2020 schedule, kicking things off against one of the top men’s collegiate rugby programs in the U.S.
Jan. 4 @ Saint Mary's College – Saint Mary's Stadium | 1 p.m. (PT) | WATCH
The Spartans forward contingent that will take on the Gaels is largely unchanged from the group that played the Surrey Beavers in an exhibition tilt last fall, with the only change being Mackenzie Nordli (Nanaimo, B.C.) entering the fray in the second row. The trio of Ben Graci (Edmonton), Josh Halladay (White Rock, B.C.) and Scott Bowers (New Westminster, B.C.) return in the front row, while Erik Niebuhr (Surrey, B.C.) is back in the second row with Nordli.
The back row features Daniel Clement (Edmonton) and Nate Schroeder (West Kelowna, B.C.) locking down the flanker roles, while Caleb Gerth (Langley) will captain the side at No. 8.
Similar to the forwards, the Spartans backs will have a similar feel to previous outings, with Jacob Sousa (Langley) running out a scrum half and Ethan Kelt (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) conducting things at flyhalf. Markus Rauch (Abbotsford, B.C.) and Ethan Bernardin (Langley) are once again on the wings, while Sam Wegert (Langley) comes into the 15s setup for the first time as a Spartan, joining mainstay Oliver Feagin (Harbor City, Calif.) in the centre. Khyree Poole (El Cajon, Calif.) rounds out the starting group at fullback.
TWU is 1-1 in 15s action this year, beating UBC Okanagan before losing to the Beavers.
Saint Mary’s has played in five of the last seven D1A National Championship matches, winning the national title in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
This is the Spartans second trip to California this year, as TWU men’s sevens team won the Shield Championship, after going 3-3, at the WestCoast 7s.
1. Ben Graci – Edmonton, Alta. | Nor’westers AA
2. Scott Bowers – New Westminster, B.C. | Riverside
3. Josh Halladay – White Rock, B.C.
4. Erik Niebuhr – Surrey, B.C. | Bayside Sharks
5. Mackenzie Nordli – Nanaimo, B.C. | Nanaimo
6. Daniel Clement – Edmonton, Alta. | Edmonton Clansmen
7. Nate Schroeder – West Kelowna, B.C. | Mount Boucherie Secondary
8. Caleb Gerth (C) – Langley, B.C. | Brookswood
9. Jacob Sousa – Langley, B.C. | R.E. Mountain Secondary
10. Ethan Kelt – Port Coquitlam, B.C. | United Rugby Club
11. Markus Rauch – Abbotsford, B.C. | Robert Bateman Secondary
12. Sam Wegert – Langley, B.C. | R.E. Mountain
13. Oliver Feagin – Harbor City, Calif. | Carson
14. Ethan Bernardin – Langley, B.C. | R.E. Mountain Secondary
15. Khyree Poole – El Cajon, Calif. | OMBAC Rugby
16. J.P. O’Gorman – St. Charles, Miss. | Francis Howell Central
17. Nick Halladay – White Rock, B.C.
18. Nate Lieuwen – Langley, B.C.
19. Brian Carlson – Langley, B.C. | D.W. Poppy
20. David Wegert – Langley, B.C. | R.E. Mountain
21. Ben Adkins – Nairobi Kenya | Rift Valley Academy
22. Tim Bamgbade – Surrey, B.C.
About Spartan Athletics
As official members of U SPORTS, the Spartans currently compete in 11 sports in the Canada West conference, including women’s and men’s soccer, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track & field, as well as women’s rugby sevens. TWU also competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) in men’s hockey and as an independent team in men’s rugby. The men’s and women’s hockey programs will begin playing in Canada West and U SPORTS in 2020-21. Since TWU entered U SPORTS in 1999, the Spartans have won 12 U SPORTS team championships and 27 Canada West team championships and two BCIHL championships.