Deadbirds overcome mistakes and penalties, win 22-10 over FAU

The UNF Rugby Football Club emerged victorious in their home opener against FAU. Photo by Al Huffman
The UNF Rugby Football Club emerged victorious in their home opener against FAU. Photo by Al Huffman

UNF Deadbirds rugby defeated Florida Atlantic (FAU) 22-10 on Oct. 17 despite a sloppy, penalty-riddled performance.

The game started slow for both clubs. FAU scored the first try of the match, but missed the conversion to take a 5-0 lead. UNF answered with a score of their own and took the lead after junior flanker Tyler McClain broke a long run for a try. A successful conversion by senior inside center William Muellar boosted the Deadbirds to a 7-5 lead.

The real story of the game was the excess of penalties on both sides, which resulted in three cards for the Deadbirds. Sophomore fullback Keith Messer and senior flanker Hank Grinold both received yellow cards in the match, and senior back David Aguilar received a red card for a high tackle.

Flanker Tyler McClain and inside center William Mueller accounted for all 22 of the Deadbird’s points. Photo by Al Huffman
Flanker Tyler McClain and inside center William Mueller accounted for all 22 of the Deadbird’s points. Photo by Al Huffman

UNF Head Coach Rich Alleger had a one-word answer to how he would improve the team’s discipline the following week.

“Running,” Alleger said.

In the second half, the Deadbirds managed to pull away with another try by McClain and one last try and a 3-point field goal by Muellar. Despite the win, Coach Alleger was disappointed with his team’s performance.

“Terrible, absolutely terrible,” Alleger said. “There was no passion, no fire, they were all nerves. When we needed to pick it up and we didn’t. Fortunately we were better athletes, [we had] better skills, but we did not play better than them so [we have] a lot to work on.”

The Deadbirds travel to St. Petersburg, Fla. to face Eckerd College for their next match on Oct. 24.

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