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CSU Upsets Arizona

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CSU Upsets Arizona

CSU team gets ready to play Arizona at Sitton Field.

Colorado State, ranked #43 by Goff Rugby Report and #14 in USA Rugby’s poll, took on Arizona (#43, #9) Saturday in Tucson, Ariz., and it was the slight underdogs CSU that won out, 29-21.

Paced by two tries from their outstanding scrumhalf, Carmine Hernandez, and a new focus on team play, the Rams got a big confidence boost from the weekend.

“We are super stoked with the result,” said club president and CSU tight head prop Jackson Brockway. “We know we had a good season last year and just lost that game against Air Force. We wanted to pick up our level of play this year.”

Too often, said Brockway, the CSU team has relied on one or two players to make big plays. But they have learned to play better support rugby. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that they realized this last spring, when CSU All American Ben Pinkelman spent much of the season playing for the Denver Barbarians and part of the fall playing for the USA Selects. Without one of their top players, the Rams, perhaps, learned to rely on each other.

“We have more of a hive mentality,” said Brockway. “Especially int he forwards. We’re better in support now. We worked together. Even when we got down against Arizona we kept our heads up and kept working together.”

Pinkelman is captaining the CSU team this year, and with players such as Brockway, Hernandez, center Luke Engelhaupt, and Oliver Jenkins, plus many more, they have plenty of confidence going into the second half of the West DIA season. 

In that conference, CSU stands 3-1, just behind 4-0 Air Force. That season starts quickly. After another preseason game this coming weekend - against the Boulder men’s club - the Rams face New Mexico, Wyoming, Air Force, and Colorado in quick succession. 

That four-week run will decide if they are going on to any 15s post season. This past Saturday shows they might have what it takes.