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Long Beach, Claremont, Equal In Gold Coast

College Men

Long Beach, Claremont, Equal In Gold Coast

CSULB Rugby

The Gold Coast Conference usually gets decided by the same top teams playing off, and this year is no different.

Claremont Colleges, which plays in the Gold Coast D1 and goes on to the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) playoffs, is one of those teams, as is Cal State Long Beach, and University of San Diego. Last week, Claremont and CSULB battled to a 26-26 tie.

Long Beach State saw flyhalf Steven Bodley score for the cycle, scoring via try, conversions, penalty, and drop goal. His clutch penalty goal in the final ten minutes secured the tie.

Claremont, however, scored four tries to CSULB's three, and hat bonus point could well have secured the conference title.

"It was a good, highly competitive match," said Claremont Director of Rugby Jeremy Ognall. "Long Beach brought a lot of physicality and really good game management."

Bodley did very well to run the offense and kept Claremont guessing with his kicking game. Center Jarod Markey was a tough load, fullback Sierra Arteaga was skillful, and hooker Parker Dixon ran a very effective lineout.

"The Long Beach lineout was more effective that ours," said Ognall. "We had a bad throwing day."

Claremont's back row, led by No. 8 Connor Lehner and flanker Abraham Asante, was strong with prop Frankie Rayis and wing Ehtan Takeyama also played well. But, said Ognall, Claremont had chances to score more.

"We left 14 points on the pitch with missed kicks," he said. "And defensively we were inconsistent. One defensive multiple phase stand before halftime really helped us and held them out but in other series we were exposed."

CSULB Head Coach Jason Reynolds said he was impressed with Claremont's pack and the forwards' ability to recycle possession. 

"Their athleticism and conditioning showed," with the goal line stand. "We had at least a dozen crashes into the line but were met solidly each time, ultimately forcing a turnover. It was a good showing for both teams with five lead changes in the game. Games like this one definitely help the teams get better as we head toward playoffs."

Next up? For Claremont, it's San Diego this weekend. The conference title should be theirs if they win. Long Beach also has to face San Diego (currently 2-0). They meet March 16.