BY RYAN HELD
Franciscan University’s rugby team fought hard against the Robert Morris Colonials but to no avail, losing 26-12 on Saturday.
Conditions for the game were not ideal for the players. The field was wet and slippery due to rain over the previous few days. Weather conditions during the game were also poor as it was cold and windy for the duration of the match.
Kick-off was at 1 p.m. and the action started quickly. The Barons found themselves driven deep into their own territory early and just two minutes into the game Robert Morris took the lead with a successful try.
Franciscan responded immediately with a try of its own, scored by Jeffrey Baldwin at the 36-minute mark.
Play slowed during the next few minutes as the game became very physical. Neither team showed the ability to maintain lasting possession and there were a large number of turnovers.
“We turned the ball over 22 times,” said Head Coach Chris Courtnell. “You can’t be a good team and turn the ball over 22 times.”
At the 6:30 minute, the Barons secured their only lead of the game with a hard fought try from James Weiss. The lead did not last long as the Colonials responded with their own try two minutes later, bringing the score at the half to 14-12.
As the second half got underway, the momentum was with Robert Morris. The Barons never got back into the game. Ten minutes into the half, the Colonials made another try, extending their lead to 21-12.
The Barons suffered several injuries in the second half, but Courtnell said that it did not play into the flow of the game.
“I never like to say that injuries cost us a game,” said Courtnell. “We win as a team and we lose as a team.”
The Barons continued to turn the ball over throughout the second half, and it was only a matter of time before Robert Morris scored again. With five minutes left, the Colonials scored the last try of the game, bringing the final score to 26-12.
“We knew that Robert Morris was a solid team,” said Courtnell. “They played a strong game today. There were moments when we played well. We had good possession and some moments of momentum, but, in the end, we just made too many mistakes.”
Courtnell said that the number one adjustment that needs to be made is possession. In order for a team to win it must retain possession, he said. Despite the loss, Courtnell said there were several strong performances including that of Brendan Linehan, who was named man of the match.
The Barons’ next game will be at Point Park University on Saturday, Sept. 19.