USF rugby defeats Embry Riddle

Embry Riddle 14, USF 59

The USF Rugby team continues to be on a roll, dominating the opposition. This time, the victim was Embry Riddle University, which had to endure a 59-14 Bulls’ victory that included a stampede of tries, nine for the match.

Flyhalf Jeff “Alaska” Heron had three tries, and Nick “Puddles” Weaver added another three tries in what turned out to be a stellar offensive day for a Bulls team that considers itself a serious national championship contender and the best team in Florida.

One of the main reasons for USF’s offensive success was the way it suffocated Embry Riddle. With USF winning the majority of the lines and the forwards dominating the scrum, the Bulls had the ball most of the time and Embry Riddle found itself working hard just to pass midfield.

“The forwards dominated the scrum and played together as a team,” said Bulls scrum half Sal Versaggi. “They set the tone for the match and that made things easy for me. They made me look good.”

The scrum half is rugby’s version of the quarterback. Versaggi was in charge of picking up the ball from the scrum and delivering it cleanly to one of his teammates to set up a scoring opportunity.

In his pregame speech, Bulls coach Gordon Campbell emphasized four things to his players: discipline, courage, domination and assertion.

The Bulls showed discipline. They played organized on offense and solidly on defense.

“We try to dominate possession and position on the field by kicking for position and then pressuring for the ball,” said Campbell.

They also showed courage by hitting hard, tackling very well and recovering the ball quickly.

“This is a very solid team, but we are still developing,” said Campbell.

USF dominated from the first minute, scoring two tries in the first five minutes of the match and getting good field position thanks to good kicks. By the end of the first half, the score was 26-7.

The assertive part seemed to come in the second half, as the Bulls scored 33 points. Campbell wanted to send a message to the rest of the state that USF would prove itself as the best team in Florida, and it certainly didn’t seem like a far-fetched notion Saturday.

“Hard work and motivation are key. We can beat any team in Florida if we (consistently) play like we did (Saturday). We want the national title, and we are off to a great start,” said flanker Travis “Cave Man” Jarae.