Chiles burn Pygmies in high heat at home

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The Chiles rugby club of New Mexico State University easily repelled a challenge at home from New Mexico Tech’s Pygmies, tallying four five-point tries in each half to come away with a resounding 63–8 victory. The Chiles more than avenged their narrow 34-31 setback in a season-opening scrimmage in Socorro on Feb. 2.

In their defense, the Tech team was reuniting from a week apart brought on by the school’s spring break. It wasn’t long before Tech’s hopes of a successful rally were dashed by a more prepared NMSU side playing at home.

In near-record high temperatures, New Mexico State kept Tech off the scoreboard in the opening 40 minutes while running in four touchdowns. Meanwhile the Pygmies sustained costly injuries to scrum half Rick Cosentino, who received a cut above the eye, and center Ben Rosandick, whose nose gave way to an opponent’s knee in a tackle. To add to Tech’s woes, team captain Enrique Koerdell turned an ankle during the fray, limiting his effectiveness for the bulk of the match.

Tech’s eight forwards provided reliable ball possession through numerous set scrums, but rarely could the team manage to sustain a running attack for more than two tackles. Cosentino, fullback Alex Malone and first-season wing Isaac Juarez managed to keep things interesting with some long runs but the team couldn’t capitalize once they were tackled. The Chiles meanwhile employed smoother passing and recycled the ball more efficiently after tackles to apply pressure until a defensive gap could be exploited. Veteran center Khan Muhammad had a field day with one first-half try and two more in the second chapter.

Veteran fullback Isaiah Sanchez, called upon to play center, scored NMT’s only five-pointer in the second half as he alertly ran the ball after a penalty was called against the home team. The two-point conversion kick was missed. As the half waned, lock forward Jordan Fastle came through from another penalty situation with a 35-meter kick through the uprights for three more consolation points.

Cosentino was named Man of the Match for Tech for his never-say-die efforts at the pivotal scrum half position. The Pygmies, still seeking their first formal win against two losses, will be on the road again March 30 in Colorado Springs when they take on Colorado College.