Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The fall of Stanford

I poached the following quote from the BYU Rugby Website:

“I was less impressed with this game than the Davis game,” said BYU head coach David Smyth, “Stanford were well organized and frustrated us. We weren’t able to string too many phases together. Our mistake count was high, with too much ball being spilled on the deck, along with the mental errors.”

And yet, my friends, the final score was BYU 64, Stanford 7... hmmm...

Two observations struck me upon reading the article posted on the team website.

First, scrumhalf Shaun Davies scored four tries in the match, two per half. Although others obviously scored, I get the impression that individual efforts were strong but not very well unified into a solid team effort. Scoring by building solid phase upon solid phase is one thing; individuals spying weak spots and alone capitalizing on them is good rugby but not the best rugby... granted, however, stringing stable phases together against a competitive team is an extra tall order to fill no matter who you are.

But if history is any indicator, I can guarantee the BYU Men's Rugby team will only grow stronger, smarter, and more unified with time.

Second, I thought it would be interesting to compare the time intervals between scores to see what the numbers had to say... Here they are: match start, 15 min., 7 min., 6 min., 7 min., 2 min., 5 min., 6 min., 5 min., 6 min., 6 min., 8 min., 7 min. to end of match. Well, the numbers look pretty consistent across the board with an average time interval of just under 7 minutes between scores. Of course, the interesting number, then, is the first interval of 15 minutes, twice that of almost every other interval in the list.

While I realize that my statistical analysis is rudimentary at best, nevertheless I can explain the 15 minute scoring drought by simply drawing on my own rugby experience. When you face a team that doesn't break at first strike, the nerves and jitters (or whatever you want to call pregame anxiety), do not dissipate in any way. Instead, they continue to turn your stomach and play with your mind until you finally do score, and then score again, and then again. These feelings breed mistakes, confusion, and frustration every time, and only a solid effort allows one to get past them...

So, as much as I hate to say this, the 'BYU stumbling block' persists as in seasons past, with pregame stresses resulting in slow and uncoordinated starts. I suppose this phenomenon is normal and to be expected... but all of us fans get such a rush when witnessing complete domination from kickoff that I secretly hope for it every time! (the complete domination part, that is...)

Maybe this season will prove different... just maybe!

Now, to finalize my superficial meanderings, I must simply say that this test still represents a solid win... A 64-7 victory over the 23rd-ranked team ain't exactly chicken feed! It's more like a complete hammering, say, in comparison to anything the BYU football team has put up! (ok, that was low, but who's comparing?)

Suffice it to say that we BYU Rugby fans have become jaded with the team's great success in the past... and thus expect great success forever in the future. Great expectations, my friends, of BYU Rugby Forever!

1 comment:

  1. Very true on the jitters part. Did BYU receive to start the game? That always seems to cause more confusion than when you kick off to start.


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