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Davis, Stanford, Chico in Pac West

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Davis, Stanford, Chico in Pac West

Stanford moving the ball. Hector Garcia Molina photo.

The Pacific West Rugby Conference may well be coming down to a three-horse race after this weekend’s results.

Chico State remains atop the standings after soundly beating San Francisco State in a result that wasn’t completely unexpected. Chico is very strong this year, but will be looking back at their opening-week loss to UC Davis, a close one at 18-15, with some regret.

That’s because Davis keeps on winning. This weekend the Aggies visited Nevada- Reno, which had started very well, and emerged convincing 44-10 winners.

It wasn’t all easy, as the score was 12-10 at halftime. Davis club president Seve Woods said his team had chances, but kept dropping the ball at key moments.

“It was a big game for us, and physically we were ready,” said Woods. “We just needed to relax. We were very antsy. We had three different chances where all we needed to do was make the pass and no one was there, and we knocked it on.”

A halftime talk that was essentially  “play the game, let is happen, and the tries will come” produced 32 unanswered points and a 44-10 victory.

“Our forwards dominated,” said Woods. “We won every single one of our scrums and most of theirs. I think the strength of our team is in the forward pack. We have big guys who know how to run hard and are quite fit, too.”

Ilaitia Namatasere did well in breaking the gain line, and with Santa Barbara City College transfer Yutaro Kobayashi scoring three tries, Davis rolled and are now 4-0 and in second place.

Sitting in third at 3-1 is Stanford, which pulled off an impressive win of their own, 64-21 over Sacramento State.

“It was our best performance thus far,” said Head Coach Matt Sherman, who added that his team’s 78-3 loss to Cal on February 11 showed a lot of positives for a young team.

“We hung in there with the speed and physical aspect of the game,” said Sherman. “And against Sac State our forwards were really strong, especially in the scrums.”

Sac State had lots of penalty trouble at the breakdowns, and tat was something the Hornets didn’t adjust to until it was too late.

Stanford did, and with Nicholas Snachez at flyhalf and his brother Alejandro at scrumhalf, they have a smart halfback hung that works well together. Center Wesley Greiner is having a breakout year while up front it was, said Sherman, a collective effort.

“This year we have a few players with experience, but most don’t have rugby experience when they get here,” said Sherman. “We’re developing and we’ve got some young players moving up. We’re learning.”

Stanford could have used the services of Ben Sando, a young player who broke his hand in the fall. Unfortunately, news has come that Sando’s hand didn’t set right and the additional surgery had put him out for the season. 

Still the Cardinal are in good position in the Pac West, as are Chico. But Davis has already beaten both, and looks set to put for 1st place.

Also this past weekend, UC Santa Criz won their first game of the season, 44-17 over Fresno State.

 

Pacific West (DIAA) W L T Pf Pa Pd BT BL Pts
Chico State 4 1 0 288 37 251 4 1 21
UC Davis 4 0 0 178 54 124 3 0 19
Stanford 3 1 0 187 100 87 3 0 15
Nevada 2 2 0 155 88 67 3 1 12
Sacramento State 2 2 0 129 170 -41 3 1 12
SJSU 2 2 0 76 155 -79 0 0 8
UCSC 1 4 0 136 223 -87 2 1 7
Fresno State 1 3 0 43 219 -176 0 0 4
SFSU 0 4 0 36 182 -146 0 0 0