FEBRUARY 7, 2021

Men’s Rugby Begins Spring Season with Oklahoma Win - Lindenwood University Athletics 

The Lions began the spring 2020 season with a 71-0 shutout over Oklahoma Saturday afternoon at the Al Velie Rugby Complex in Norman, Oklahoma. Lindenwood entered the contest after just two weeks of training and faced a Sooners team expected to contend in the Big River Conference. Oklahoma kicked off the match showing superior skills in restarts and the Lions found it difficult to retain the ball throughout the game but did manage to move it into the Sooners end of the pitch. 

Hooker Kayleb O'Donoghue finished a strong maul from the Lindenwood forwards only seven minutes into the match. Wing Cael Hodgson showed some power and speed on the edge of the field and scored two tries within three minutes of each other. The forwards, led by captain Marnus Spangenberg, dominated the set pieces. They were also punishing when Oklahoma had a chance to attack with the ball. Andreas Livadaras and the rest of the back line took advantage of the positive possession they were provided. 

Livadaras was able to put center Tyren Al-Jiboori and flanker Ayden Hurst into the try zone before Hodgson finished off his first half hat trick. The Lions played more defense in the second half, but that did not stop reserve hooker Stephen McLeish from scoring two quick tries. Reserve second row William Whiteside and Ross Brocket were very active on defense and ensured that the Lions continued to receive positive possession. Lindenwood turned it into tries from Connor Burns, Nick Taylor, and a third from McLeish. Burns was voted the Player's Player for the game by his teammates as the Lions improved to 14-1 on the season. 

They return to the road February 8 for a Mid-South Conference battle against rival Arkansas State. The opening kickoff is set for 10 a.m. Saturday morning at Huckabee Field in Jonesboro, Arkansas. After the first XV match, the second XV squads for Lindenwood and Oklahoma took to the pitch with the Lions earning a 60-0 victory.

The younger Lindenwood side posted a strong defensive performance, starting the attack early and never looking back. Flyhalf Dylan Thompson spotted space out wide and trusted his outside backs to use that space and he was rewarded with a score. Center Lucas Black dotted down while wings Jake Jacobson and Zack Eglin each scored two. Forwards Jonah Dietenberger, Juan Mota Sanchez, and Tyler Acosta put in hard work in the tight spaces. 

They gained a ton of ground on both sides of the ball and made life tough for the Sooners. In the second half, reserve forwards Cameron Meechan and Deven Mason continued to dominate the middle of the field. New Lion Blake Knight scored a tough forward's try in his first match. After that, it continued to be a day dominated by the outside backs. 

Reserves Preston Hammerschmidt and Nathan Epplett each scored before Black got his second. Thompson, who had continued his intelligent play, finished off the match with a try of his own. Jacobson, after scoring two tries and slotting three conversions, was named Player's Player by his teammates. 

The Lindenwood second XV also travels for a match against the Arkansas State second side February 8. The opening kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. Saturday in Jonesboro, Arkansas. 

Copyright ©2021 Lindenwood University Athletic

MARCH 3, 2020

In the final week of the regular season for the Red River Conference, #25 Oklahoma defeated North Texas 35-17. A back and forth first half ended with Oklahoma up 15-14, before Oklahoma ran away with it in the second half. The Sooners would score three tries while limiting North Texas to a single penalty kick to take the win and finish 6-0 in Red River.

Baylor earned a hard-fought victory on the road against Texas in each side’s final match of the regular season. Baylor built up a 24-15 lead in the first half, that they then surrendered shortly in to the second half. With just 10 minutes left in the match Baylor were behind Texas 39-24 before they rallied back to score three tries in the final minutes of the match to win. 

Winger Logan Blum scored the game winning try in the 80th minute of the match to win it for Baylor in their final Red River game of the season.

FEBRUARY 23, 2020

Oklahoma, A&M Clinch Place in Red River Final - Alex Goff via Goffrugbyreport

Oklahoma and Texas A&M clinched spots in the Red River Conference championships game in March after both won games Saturday. A&M won big over Texas in the FTF / Eleven Sports Game of the Week but had trouble regardless as sometimes they ran the phases nicely, and sometimes gave Texas the momentum after a poor pass or a miscommunication.

"I will give all the props to me props," said A&M Head Coach James Lowrey. "They guys who just work hard. We are in the final and we played well as times. What's important to me is they learn and adjust. If they learn to love the game, then they will enjoy training and continue to improve." Hooker Thomas Batterson was a marvel, putting in a solid day's work all day. Lock Kade Ball was difficult to bring down, but it was an overall team effort, both good and bad, as the scoring was throughout the team.

Texas battled, and didn't let in soft tries until the fatigue started to take over. Oklahoma, meanwhile, took care of Texas Tech 62-5. Lock Cullen Gordon scored four tries on the day, while fullback Shane Lindsay broke through for two tries that turned a 14-5 score line into a 26-5 lead for the Sooners.

North Texas went to 4-1 as UNT continues to improve. Texas dropped to 2-3, and Baylor is also 2-3. They play next week for 2nd in the Red River South.

JANUARY 26, 2020

Oklahoma Makes Statement With A Win - Alex Goff via Goffrugbyreport

​Oklahoma put their hand up in no uncertain terms in the Red River Conference with a 48-8 defeat of Baylor Saturday. A game that was labeled a pick ‘em clash by GRR, this turned out to be Oklahoma’s all the way. The Sooners got an early try from prop Christopher Oke and impressive No. 8 Robert Ogilvie added a try a few minutes later and with Richard Papenfus converting, OU led 14-0 after 16 minutes.

Ogilvie and center Jordan Everett got over to make the halftime score 26-3, and Papenfus scored right after the break to ensure there would be no Baylor comeback. Wings Jarek Szopinski and Zakary Raines made it 43-3. Reserve Trech Drake added one more before Baylor got over the line with a minute to go.

The result puts Oklahoma in a commanding position at 3-0. The Sooners lead the Red River North while Texas A&M leads the Red River South, also at 3-0. OU has Texas, Texas Tech, and North Texas left on the schedule, and is now in excellent position to go 6-0. The Sooners have already beaten Tech and UNT. 

For A&M (73-8 losers to BYU on Friday), LSU, Texas Tech, and Texas remain in addition to non-conference clashes with Life, Santa Clara, Cal Poly, and Wisconsin.

NOVEMBER 10, 2017

University of Oklahoma Men’s Rugby – Red River Sooners - Reed Ronan

University of Oklahoma Rugby travels to Lubbock, TX tomorrow (11/11) to face Texas Tech Men’s Rugby in a Red River Rugby Collegiate Conference league match. Junior flanker and captain Logan Ronan and flyhalf and native South African Richard Papenfus shared some insights on the season thus far and how the Sooners have been preparing for Texas Tech. 

Ronan began, “the season so far has gone well, we had two losses vs. Ohio State and Iowa State, but these games were just to get our season rolling and get some new players some experience. Since then, we have really ramped up our trainings with much physicality and have everyone on a workout program Monday through Thursday.”

Papenfus added, “since the start of August our team chemistry has improved quite a lot and it’s noticeable in the attitudes of the boys during practice. The timing is better, everyone knows their role and place, and it will certainly be noticeable when we start our league matches tomorrow.” 

On the preparations for this week, Ronan said, it “has been a challenge. We lost our starting inside and outside centers, one being Jon Lucas, last week while playing the Dallas Harlequins U23. It’s been a setback, but we did secure a heavy victory (34-7).”

Ronan went on to describe the OU forward pack. “We have heavy reliance on forwards right now, having to put two back rows and a hooker in the backs because of the shortage. We still have a huge front row alone with a combined weight of about 750 lbs. Our back line has some key playmakers and leaders as well with Richard Papenfus and fullback Robert Hiles.”

Papenfus went into more detail for the backline. 

“Some strengths we have is a lot of speed. With guys like Najee Bissoon and Jon Lucas, who are unfortunately injured for the Fall, but will be back in the Spring.” 

He commented on their speedy defensive line and how the flow between the backline has been improving. Ronan ended with a look into the future for OU Rugby. 

“Preparation for the Spring is just to win to get the ball rolling, we have about 15 players who will be back from injury and schooling breaks in the Spring so our team will look unbelievably different in the coming season.”

MARCH 27, 2017

River Collegiate Championship Preview: UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA - Reed Ronan

The D1-A Red River Collegiate Rugby Conference is coming April 1st and should host some great college rugby matchups. The inaugural Canterbury North America Red River Collegiate Rugby Championships will be held at Huns Field in Austin, TX. Gift-Time Rugby Network will be broadcasting the championship live.

University of Oklahoma will have a matchup against Texas A&M this Saturday, April 1st at 1 PM. The full Red River Collegiate Schedule is on D1-A College Rugby site under Red River. Oklahoma has not faced off against Texas A&M this season but are ready for the challenge to take the 3rd place match. 

The Sooners retained their #2 North division seed after their loss to Baylor. It was a hard-fought battle, but Baylor came out with the win in the end. Two other tough losses in the Sooner schedule came from a very close match with University of Arkansas and an unfortunate loss to Texas Tech. Come this weekend, though, the boys are ready to play. 

Logan Ronan, a sophomore flanker, said the one word to describe the team would be Hardworking. In preparation for the match with Texas A&M the team has indeed been working hard in training. A big help to the program has been the addition of coach Mere Baker, a former New Zealand Women’s 7’s player and professional rugby consultant. 

Coach Neubauer brought Baker to the program and she has helped the team develop their skills even further. Logan commented on Baker’s help saying, “the basics of the game for our team as a whole are getting better.” He followed up with “we just need to focus and have the right mindset going into every game”.

However, coaching hasn’t been the only reason Oklahoma is hungry for the win. “We really care about each other as a team, and we’ve improved because of the competitiveness we have with each other that translates on the pitch come match time.” In preparation for Saturday, Logan said the team needs to focus on retaining the ball and setting a strong defensive effort to face the Aggies.

The Second XV Championship, which will face-off two second side squads, will also be between Oklahoma and Texas A&M. That match will happen earlier in the day at 11 AM.

Both of these coming matches with Texas A&M will be great competition, with both teams ready to finish the season strong.

MARCH 6, 2016

​Oklahoma Thunders Past UNT - GRR Staff via Goffrugbyreport

The University of Oklahoma defeated North Texas 62-7 Saturday in a nib-conference game on Senior Appreciation Day. The Sooners, a little stung by their overtime loss in the Big XII 7’s last week, bounced back nicely against the Southwest Conference Champions, showcasing some excellent defense and good work in the pack.

Senior Tom Murphy moved from center to fly-half in the place of the injured David Wallace, and did well, starting the game with a try within two minutes. Anthony Barthas converted to give the Sooners a 7-0 lead. 

From a five-meter scrum, scrumhalf Manny Soto linked with crashing inside center Jon Lucas, who exploded through the UNT line to go in for the second Sooner try. Fullback Will Neff dotted down at 12 minutes to make it 17-0.UNT was dominant in the scrums and forced a turnover at the base on one put-in, and quickly mounted an attack that ended with a nicely taken try for 80 meters out.

But Oklahoma rebounded. The forwards, including first-time starter flanker Vincent "Zatera" Fairbain, a freshman in his first semester playing, scored after a number of rucks at the North Texas line. Fairbain then scored again just before the break to make it 29-7.

The second half was all Oklahoma as lock Logan Baker sliced in at 47 minutes. Fairbain secured his hat trick at 51 minutes. In what may have been the play of the game, halfback Manny Soto hit a forward off the ruck, who turned and popped to back to Soto, who burned the edge of the UNT line to go in from 60 meters. Fairbain notched the conversion, making it 46-7.

No. 8 Robin Persegol pounded the ball over the line at 60 minutes and then newcomer Sam Keith broke a 50-meter try to make it 57-7. Fairbain finished off the rampage with his fourth try of the day.

Coach Doug Neubauer said he was pleased with the performance but tempered the celebration with the knowledge that they will have to get better in order to beat Jamaica in Negril in a couple of weeks, conference foe Texas in Austin, and Army at West Point.

FEBRUARY 20, 2016

​LSU Downs Oklahoma - Alex Goff via Goffrugbyreport

LSU is in an excellent position to win the Red River Conference after beating previously undefeated Oklahoma 43-12 Saturday. The Tigers broke open a fairly close game just before halftime with a try from prop Christian Brower that, with fullback Alec Miller’s conversion, made it 22-7.

The score held there until almost midway through the second half, when tries from wings Trevor O’Neill and Aidan Elias put the game really out of reach. LSU got two tries from Elias, and, along with Brower and O’Neill, two tries from flyhalf Cameron Troxler. Miller kicked five conversions and a penalty goal for 13 points.

Oklahoma’s only points in the first 70 minutes came from a David Wallace try which the flyhalf converted. No. 8 Robin Persegol scored OU’s second try in the 71st minute.

The victory puts LSU at 3-0 with the maximum standings points -15. Oklahoma is 4-1 with 19, but the Sooners have just one game left, against Texas March 26. LSU has three more games -at home next week against Texas Tech, at Texas A&M March 5, and at Baylor April 2. 

Texas A&M, just 1-1 at present, is now in a position to win the conference if the Aggies beat LSU and continue to win their other games.

​FEBRUARY 19, 2016

Oklahoma can take control of the Red River with a win - Alex Goff via Goffrugbyreportk control of the Red River with a win.

If the University of Oklahoma wants to win the Red River, the Sooners will have to go through LSU this weekend to do it. OU is 4-0 with the Tigers and Texas left to play, while LSU is 2-0 with Texas Tech, Texas A&M, and Baylor coming after Oklahoma this weekend.

It’s all on Saturday, then. If Oklahoma wins the Sooners should win the conference. If LSU wins, then LSU, Oklahoma, or A&M each has a shot. LSU players love being in the Red River and they are excited to play for something meaningful in the spring. It’s a far cry from their troubles of last year, and good news for everyone. With center Jeff Mauras running in tries (six so far in two conference games) and Cameron Troxler running the offense nicely, they are poised ... maybe.

Oklahoma Coach Doug Neubauer told Goff Rugby Report that his team is very, very ready. “I think if we made the players wait any longer, they would burst,” said the Sooner coach. “We have been looking forward to this match for a while now. The most surprising thing has been our resilience. We have had injuries, played poorly at times yet we have found ways to win. I am hoping we can do the same this week against a very good LSU team.”

Also, on the slate this weekend, is 1-2 Texas Tech v 0-2 Baylor, a team that has been far more competitive than the record indicates. TCU (1-2) takes on Texas (0-2).

JANUARY 30, 2016

Oklahoma Leads Winners in Red River Weekend - Alex Goff via Goffrugbyreport
 - Alex

Oklahoma remained unbeaten in the Red River Conference with a gritty 31-19 defeat of Texas A&M Saturday. Also winning in Red River were LSU and Texas Tech. Oklahoma did well to lead going against the wind, but with the wind at their backs, knocked on the second half kickoff. This gave the Aggies a prime attacking opportunity. which they converted to take a 19-17 lead. However, the Sooners rebounded, with flyhalf David Wallace directing the attack and No. 8 Robin Persegol getting big meters and scored two tries to win 31-19.

“We could have played better,” said OU Coach Doug Neubauer. “We had a lot of early-season mistakes. But we’ll take the win.”

OU is now 3-0 in Red River Conference play. LSU opened up their Red River account with a 52-7 dousing of TCU. This is LSU’s first foray into the conference since leaving the SCRC. Big, powerful No. 8 Todd Dupre scored three tries and center Jeff Mauras scored four in the rout. Prop Christian Brewer, flanker Brennan Falcon, and lock Zachery Stratton all touched down for LSU, but only one of those tries was converted.

TCU’s lone try came from lock Ryan Wallace. And Texas Tech beat Texas 42-19, led by a player of the game performance from lock Jeff Wyatt.