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Central Washington Controls Possession to Beat Cal Poly

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Central Washington Controls Possession to Beat Cal Poly

CWU is now 4-1. Photo CWU Rugby.

Central Washington defeated Cal Poly 39-20 Saturday in a game that probably reflected well on both teams.

While CWU was in a situation where they were likely to win from the outset, they weren't able to fully shake Cal Poly and the Mustangs scored two good tries later in the game to stick around.

"Pour of our effort," said Cal Poly Head Coach Chris O'Brien.

For CWU, Campbell Robb powered through for an early try. Daniel McQuade followed that up a few minutes later and Jac Tregoning's conversion made it 12-0. Cal Poly answered with a Tucker Barth penalty goal but midway through the first half, Tiai Vavao's try made it 17-3.

And five minutes before halftime, Isaiah Simera-Saldana beat seven defenders from 35 meters out to make it 22-3 at the break.

Two more tries in the second half, from Simera-Saldana and Jaiden Beer, made it 34-6 (Barth adding a second penalty for the Mustangs).

As the game drew to a close  grabbed his second straight try with another conversion from Tregoning. The Mustangs converted another penalty kick, but a first career try from Jaiden Beer lifted the score to 34-6

Cal Poly built some momentum after that, and a little piece of magic from Nicho Domine got them over the line. Counter-attacking off a kick, the fullback sliced through a gap in the CWU pursuit. He had support and looked set to use it, but instead sold an outrageous dummy before sidestepping his way past the final defender to score from about 70 meters out. Cal Poly then pressured the CWU line and, after a series of forward pushes, prop Carter Sestak picked up and was over. Barth converted both of those tries and it was now 34-20. Cal Poly came right back down and looked ready to score again. CWU held them up in-goal, however, and cleared away. 

Finally, Central Washington's Christopher Grosse scored from close-in to finish it off 39-20.

CWU Head Coach Todd Thornley was of two minds about the performance, saying it was a "good 50 minutes and an average 30 minutes to finish. When you put the bench on sometimes it raises the tempo and sometimes you lose continuity and cohesion. Cal Poly is a very good side and when we slipped off in our intensity and our effort level they punished us."

CWU's set piece was strong and they controlled a lot of the possession. With Tregoning kicking well to pin Cal Poly in their half the Wildcats had the run of things in the first half.

"We gave them no ball; we played in the right ends of the field; and we managed to put on a lot of pressure," added Thornley. 

Andrew Miller had an outstanding game at blindside flanker, running the lineout and getting work done around the field.

This caps off a run of four out of five games on the road for Central Washington. They now finish off the season with seven home games in a row but against some very tough opposition, including Saint Mary's, BYU, Lindenwood, and Trinity Western.

"We're progressing in a positive direction," said Thornley. "But against the opposition we're going to be facing we’re going to have to be pretty good in a lot of areas."