(Photo on left): Alex Brussard charges ahead against the Buffalo defense.
With dozens of alumni supporters in the crowd, the St. Bonaventure men’s rugby team defeated University at Buffalo Friday night under the lights at UB’s Kunz Stadium. Scoring three tries to Buffalo’s single touch down, the Bonnies won 26-5.
Prop and captain Alex Brussard led the Bonnies from the front, earning Man of the Match honors. The big man scored the first try of the match, set up the second, and was nearly perfect with his lineout throws.
The entire Bonnies pack earned credit from forward coach Mike McNerney for their effort in the lineout. “Brussard made the right calls and the jumpers and lifters did their jobs.” The veteran coach added, “Now we need to translate that accuracy to scrums and rucking.”
The men in Brown and White were plagued by numerous handling errors that the coaching staff will look to address on the bye week.
“We aren’t necessarily a good team,” said head coach Clarence Picard, “ but we are a tough team.” The seventh year head man said, “We are still somewhat immature and prone to mistakes, but we made the plays we needed to make, and came away with the road win.”
The scoring started early when scrum half Kevin McCorry slotted his first of three penalty kicks. The score remained at 3-0 for most of the half until a Buffalo penalty gave the Bonnies an attacking lineout on the 10 meter line. Prop Tom Tyler bulled ahead for two meters before Brussard received the ball on the blind side, cut against the grain of the defense, and dotted down for the 8-0.
Another McCorry penalty late in the half made the score 11-0 at the intermission. Early in the second half, Brussard again received the ball on the blindside 10 meters from the try line. This time the ball moved quickly through his hands, finding Kevin Corley unmarked on the outside for the try. McCorry slotted the challenging conversion to make the score 18-0.
Buffalo scored their loan try off of a series of SBU errors. Penalties and missed tackles allowed the Bulls to apply pressure, and tight head prop Mike Flessa pushed his way in for the try, making the score 18-5.
Several Bonnies players suffered from cramps during the match. One of them was Justin Walker, who fought through the pain to score the Bonnies third try after a series of pick-and-drives, securing he win for the Bonnies. McCorry, also having cramping issues, added his third penalty kick to make the score 26-6.
In the Developmental match, freshman prop Zach Haller scored the first try on a series of tight phases. Haller’s brother AJ answered the scoring for UB, making the score 5-5 late in the match. Fellow freshman Jordan Farrant secured the win for the Bonnies, streaking 60 meters on a counter kick for the winning try.
A Side Scoring (26-5)
Tries: Alex Brussard, Kevin Corley, Justin Walker
Conversions: Kevin McCorry 1-3
Penalties: McCorry 3-3
Developmental Side Scoring (10-5)
Tries: Zach Haller, Jordan Farrant
Conversions: Brendan Allman 0-1, Farrant 0-1
Read More: Rugby Magazine recap, The Bona Venture recap