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Young South Carolina Handles Alabama

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Young South Carolina Handles Alabama

Columbia, SC - The University of South Carolina Rugby hosted the University of Alabama this past weekend and came out victorious over the Tide, 26-15 in SCRC action.

Alabama kicked off the first half, but the kick failed to go the necessary 10 meters, giving Carolina possession with a scrum at midfield. The Gamecocks quickly got the ball out to the weak side to junior fullback Tim Hamill who ran it in for the try. Alabama’s misfortune would continue as multiple penalties around the ruck would keep them deep inside their territory for the majority of the half. The Gamecocks would capitalize early with a forward maul pushed into goal with junior flanker Jared Magill touching it down for the try, and junior scrumhalf Brian Keown kicking the conversion, giving Carolina the 12-0 advantage. Carolina would answer again with a run by Hamill, though confusion would have him run out the back past the dead-ball line, giving Alabama a lucky break and possession at the 22-meter-line. Solid tackling kept most of the action between the 22s for ten minutes of play, though Alabama would get the advantage with a defensive kick deep into Carolina territory that was picked up by their wing for the try. The Tide would catch another break inside Carolina territory and convert a penalty kick to tighten the match 12-10, Carolina.

The Gamecocks kicked off the second half, though like Alabama, failed to go the necessary 10 meters, giving the Tide possession with a scrum at midfield. The Gamecocks would turn the scrum to regain possession, though Alabama’s defense pushed the Gamecocks back, forcing the turnover, and allowing an eightman pick and offload to the center for the score, giving Alabama the lead at 15-12. Carolina would respond by winning the kickoff and benefiting from a penalty 10 meters from the try line. Junior lock Zach Mullineaux, took advantage of Alabama’s slowness to reset and punched one in from a quick tap, giving Carolina the lead at 19-15. Alabama got stuck deep in their own territory again and attempted another kick for their wings to chase, but Carolina’s Brett DeBoy intercepted and countered before offloading to Hamill, who dissected the Alabama backline and touched it down for the try. Solid defense by the Gamecocks would kill the clock and give them the 26-15 victory. Man of the Match honors were awarded to junior flanker Jared Magill from the Downingtown, Pa. and sophomore wing Thomas Coar from Pennsaucken, NJ.

“We saw a much improved Alabama side today,” said Head Coach Mark Morris at the end of the match. “Their pack was much improved over last year and tested our players well. Although we played well enough to win, we gave away several opportunities to score due to poor decisions. I’d like to think the heat played a roll, though our heads weren’t in the game the full 80 minutes. Fortunately, we made steady improvements throughout the match and turned the momentum in our favor. ”

Morris tested some younger players and they came through well, he added.

“It was good to play several freshmen, allowing them their first A-side start," said Morris. "Injuries have plagued us this year, though it was nice to see the younger players hold their ground and make things happen against their higher level counterparts. Overall, I’m proud of their performance and their willingness to step up.”

Coach Morris also had nice things to say about his captains. “It was good to see the team make the necessary adjustments at halftime to slow Alabama down and take back control of the game. Captains Zac Gorman and Tim Hamill did a wonderful job of refocusing their forwards and backs respectively and both played their usual outstanding games.” 

Carolina's Reserve Side also took to the field against Alabama in a shortened match that saw freshman fullback Brett DeBoy and junior flanker Nick Winikoff score in the first half and junior No. 8 Mitch MacCartney score in the second half. Junior scrumhalf Alex Smolen would convert one of three for the final score of 17-12, Carolina. Man of the Match honors were awarded to MacCartney from Virginia Beach, Va. and freshman flyhalf Nick Pagel from Downingtown, Pa.