On a beautiful early fall Saturday, the Highlands Vatos faced the highly respected Albuquerque Aardvarks Rugby Club in Perkins Stadium. In National Men’s Division 2, Albuquerque was a National Quarterfinalist in 2011 and finalist in 2009 on ESPN. After leading 17-15, the Vatos allowed 2 two well executed, late scores by the experienced Varks before ending the entertaining and physical game on the attacking one yard line with a close loss 17-27.
“You don’t get many chances to beat Albuquerque, and we let this one entropy away. To even the odds, they rested a few of their starters but travelled with many of their best players. The outcome reflected their skills. We simply need to get a lot fitter and smarter to win at this level of rugby. We know that we can play at it. We are tough enough, but being tough is of limited value if you can not apply it over the entire pitch and period. We thank Albuquerque for coming to help us learn in a friendly game. They are a class act indeed, and we hope to join them in the national playoffs in the National Men’s Division 3. We generally do,” Coach Greene said.
Senior Brian Ybarra from California was named the Vato’s Man of the Match.
The Vatos host UNM Rugby Club this Saturday at Perkins Stadium at 2 p.m. for both A and B sides (teams) games. UNM reached the Men’s College Division 1 quarterfinals in 2009 before losing to California Berkeley, the National College Champion that year on ESPN. The Vatos still hold a historic 12-5 record over the Lobos, but most of those wins were during the glorious mid 1990’s. The Lobos have won three of the last four matches. It should be a close game.
Everyone is welcome to the game and the post game social. Sportsmanship is required.