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Gonzaga Starts Strong in NCRC

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Gonzaga Starts Strong in NCRC

After a short start to the 15s season, the Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference (NCRC) takes a break over the winter.

But already we have some indication who will be a contender. Washington defeated Eastern Washington 53-15, Oregon defeated Boise State 23-5, and Western Washington beat Washington State 59-12. But they are all trailing Gonzaga, which started the season 2-0 with two road wins, at Eastern Oregon and Oregon State, on consecutive days.

Gonzaga’s wins were relatively close - 39-17 and 21-13, but the Bulldogs prevailed in part because Darragh Ruane slotted five penalty goals in the two games, and was also 5-7 on conversions. Daniel Hodge, a dynamic runner who can create space and then exploit it, and has scored five tries in two games.

“Our defense needs to stay focused, too many times we had guys playing lazy defense and opening up holes for the opposing team to run at,” warned new Gonzaga Head Coach Zach Donahue. “We need to be smarter at the breakdown as well. But I’m happy with how the team looks right now. We played two road games back-to-back, something that is always tough. The boys really grouped together after getting behind in the Oregon State game and fought back for a solid win. We still have a long road to go to be the team we believe we are.”

Gonzaga has a strong group of seniors, especially in the backline, while Matt Hoffeditz is part of the forwsrds’ leadership group.

“We have ten seniors who step up every game and every day at practice.”

The NCRC is back January 21 with Western Oregon at Washington. And January 28 is the first weekend with a full slate of games, as eight of the nine teams are in action. Among those games, Washington visits Gonzaga.