It seemed that both teams in the regional finals could not have taken more different routes to get to the match. Missouri did not have much of a conference season in the spring, and then breezed over Brown 55-13 in the round of 8. On the other hand, Florida State maintained a competitive schedule in the spring, including conference playoffs, and held on to win 30-28 over North Texas. Although the game started as a big question mark. it ended as a decisive statement.
A sound defense with punishing hits has been a staple of FSU rugby this year and it was on full display. For every Tiger that touched the ball, there was at least one Seminole knocking them to the ground. Constant pressure led to frustration causing Missouri to concede 14 first half penalties. Another cornerstone of the team’s success has been crisp play in the back line, and the hands were on. Following a Missouri penalty, the ball flowed through the backs and found Cameron Chadsey on the wing for a try. Excellent possession throughout the first half led to an Alex Ruiz try in the 38th minute which produced a half time score of 10-0.
It seems as if “second half team” is an appropriate title as the Seminoles seem to keep finding another gear. Nearly the entire second half was played on the Mizzou side of the pitch. The entire forward pack was pounding away relentlessly and the back line snuffed out any attempt to get out wide. Florida State’s backline defense was highlighted by Arturo San Segundo, filling in the full back position, and sophomore wing Mick McGuire who got his first two starts on the weekend. Alex Ruiz found the try zone again in the 56th minute, and Kody Boswell rumbled in for his second try of the weekend five minutes later. After consistent time camped out in the red zone, Aaron Mazyck bowled over defenders on his way to a try with eight minutes left in the game. The Seminoles were not done however, and Evan Barada found Anthony Soto in some space. Soto proceeded to torch the Missouri defensive line and found Peter Kim with an incredible offload in contact for the last try of the match. With a final score of 38-0, the ‘Noles punched their ticket to California for the USA Rugby National Championship.
Tries: Cameron Chadsey, Alex Ruiz (2), Kody Boswell, Aaron Mazyck, Peter Kim
Conversions: Alex Ruiz (2/4) Arturo San Segundo (2/2)