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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Rugby team suffers loss against Stanford University

Chico State rugby captain Charlie Brennan competes in a match earlier this season. Photo credit: Salahadin Albutti

Although they were decimated with injuries and had to rely on rookie talent, the Chico State rugby team found its way into the playoffs and all the way to the finals for the Pacific West Rugby Conference championship game.

Unfortunately for the ‘Cats, the game would end up being the second loss of the season, crushing any hopes for the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats fought hard in the championship, but were outnumbered and outdone by the Stanford University Cardinals in the final minutes of the game, losing 18-24.

Things didn’t go well for Chico from the start, as many Wildcats were playing with injuries and didn’t have enough numbers. This led some of the players to play through the entire game without rest. On top of that, the ‘Cats luck didn’t show up, as it had a kick blocked for a Cardinal try in the final half off the game.

The taste may be bitter in wake of the championship game, but there is a lot to be proud about in a season where the team only lost twice to Stanford University in very close, competitive matches. Team captains Charlie Brennan and JP McKinley have high hopes for the future seasons.

“For one, we were playing injured throughout most of the season,” Brennan said. “But seeing as though we won a lot, we know what we’re capable of and we know we’re a good team.”

With all the injuries and shortage of veteran players, the Wildcats had to turn to a few of the younger guys to contribute to the team’s successful season.

“For having such a young team this year, it was great seeing the results,” McKinley said. “We know we could have won the game against Stanford, but it was a fun season seeing all the great results and having all the new guys help out.”

The Wildcat rugby team knows what it must accomplish in the offseason. The team must focus on keeping in shape, getting stronger and most importantly, healing and teaching the new veteran players.

Lee Masten can be reached at [email protected] and @lee23masten on Twitter.

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