Saturday, March 6, turned out to be a gorgeous day for a fantastic rugby match between Heart of America DII college champs University of Arkansas and Great Plains champs Creighton University.
Played in Fayetteville, Ark., the match kicked off with both teams champing at the bit.
Creighton made a hard drive down the pitch and with a penalty against Arkansas, they were able to make the kick for a 3-0 lead. Arkansas responded with a strong push back and was able to capitalize on a penalty – flyhalf Charles Ajarrista doing the honors.
Both teams continued to battle for field position, and it seemed like the game would hinge on who could commit the fewest penalties in their end.
Then Arkansas broke through. Ajarrista gathered a kick to touch and took a quick lineout to himself. Creighton were caught napping and the flyhalf tok the ball all the way in. Ajarrista’s conversion gave Arkansas a 10-3 lead.
He added two more penalties to make it 16-3 at halftime.
At the beginning the second half, Creighton made a sterling opening drive that resulted in their first try of the game to close to gap to 16-10. But Ajarrista kept the scoreboard ticking over with another penalty. 19-10 Arkansas.
With Creighton making valiant push after push against the Arkansas try line, Arkansas’ stout defense and some lucky penalties on Creighton allowed them to hold off the hammering. With fifteen minutes left in the half, Ajarrista scored yet another try and conversion for Arkansas. Creighton made one final drive, but a turnover afforded Arkansas the ball and allowed wing Collin Jackson to chase down a chip kick and bring home one final try for Arkansas. That sealed it, 31-10 in a game that was far closer than the score indicates.