By Branson Hardcastle | Reporter
Baylor men’s rugby took third place Saturday at the Red River Rugby Conference 7’s North Tournament at the University of Oklahoma.
This was the first 7’s tournament of the year for the club. The tournament consisted of five games against conference rivals including Oklahoma, Texas Christian University, Arkansas and the University of Texas.
The club started the tournament off strong with wins over TCU and Oklahoma second side (Oklahoma’s B level team). The win over TCU displayed the club’s strong defense as they won 17-0. The win over Oklahoma second side was a closer game as Baylor won 31-23.
Head coach of the 7’s team Ronald VanAmburgh said the next two games against Arkansas and Oklahoma one side were difficult because Baylor was missing some key players.
VanAmburgh said they lost both of those games pretty handily, but it allowed new players to gain experience playing in 7 vs. 7 games. The team featured four new players who had never played in a 7 vs. 7 game before.
VanAmburgh said the lack of experience really showed against Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Magnolia senior lock Andrew Honderich and vice-captain of the club, said he believes the reason they struggled against Oklahoma one side and Arkansas was because of their fitness and lack of practice.
“We didn’t run through everything as smoothly as we would have liked and I think with more practice we will be able to have a better attacking game plan,” Honderich said. “Another thing we need to improve is in fitness. We are doing a lot of running because we weren’t quite fit enough to hang with the top two teams.”
The last game of the tournament was the third place game against the University of Texas which Baylor won 17-5. According to VanAmburgh, this was the most complete game of the day.
“We put together a very strong defense. We had great support on all of our runs which led to great offloads,” VavAmburgh said. “It started with our defense and everything came out of how strong our defense was. It was our best game by far.”
VanAmburgh said he hopes the team will carry the momentum from this tournament to the Red River Rugby Conference 7’s Championship Oct. 14 at TCU. If the club wins that tournament, they are guaranteed a position in the 7’s National Championship in the Spring.
“I believe we can come in the top two [at the conference championship]. We want to be in the championship game which would help us advance to the National Championship tournament,” VanAmburgh said. “If we place second at the tournament, we still have a decent chance of making it to the National Championship but it isn’t guaranteed.”
Honderich also believes the team will place high at the conference championship.
“We got third place but I think we can definitely win the conference championship. We have to work on our attacking game plan and once we get that smoothed out we will be hard to stop,” Honderich said.
Baylor Rugby looks to capture the Red River Rugby Conference 7’s Championship in two weeks at TCU.