Arkansas State Match Report

Number 4 ranked Arkansas State was too much for the Sooners Saturday March 26th, ultimately prevailing 41 – 3. The game was much closer than the score line reads and was still a contest until the Sooners Captain and Number 10 Arrynn Wilkinson was yellow carded in the 65th minute for a dangerous tackle. Arkansas State took advantage of their opportunity with the Sooner playmaker off the field and ran in four trys in short order while Wilkinson was in the bin.

OU’s set piece continues to struggle with the pressure exerted by its College Premier Division opponents. Arkansas State benefited early from an Oklahoma miscue at the second scrum of the game on the OU 5 meter line. The Oklahoma backrow allowed the ball to escape the scrum between the number 6 and number 8 while OU scrumhalf Mike Diver was out of position; the Arkansas State halfback Yoshiyasu Abe took advantage of the mistake scooped the ball up and scored the easiest try of his career. Pat Sullivan converted for the extras.

Oklahoma struck back when a penalty was awarded for a late tackle on Wilkinson after a nifty line break and kick ahead – OU aptly took the kick up and Zac Givens converted the opportunity making the score 7 – 3 advantage Arkansas State. Arkansas State and Oklahoma traded free kick infractions at scrums and played rugby between the 22s without a serious advantage of territory or time of possession for the next 10 minutes. Between the 20th and 40th minute Arkansas State, with the wind behind them, gained a time of possession and territory advantage camping out in the Sooners end. Oklahoma’s defense stiffened at the Oklahoma line and resisted a number of promising Arkansas State attacking opportunities. However, from an attacking center field 10 meter Arkansas State scrum the visitors showed their skills and put wing Caleb Gragg away for a 5 pointer at 37 minutes making the score 12 – 3. Playing into a stiff wind Oklahoma would have been happy to get out of the half with that score, Arkansas State had other thoughts. Oklahoma played a few phases from the kick off and got some go forward. Wilkinson made a smart play to kick ahead into the visitors 22, but the OU chasing defenders were left grasping by a nice piece of running by the Arkansas State wing who then kicked ahead deep into Oklahoma territory forcing OU to kick to touch, giving Arkansas State a lineout inside the OU 22. Arkansas State maintained possession for a few phases and eventually prop Jake Mizell scored a forwards try on the last play of the half to stretch the lead to 17 – 3.

OU and Arkansas State played to a stalemate for the first 15 minutes of the second half. The Sooners best attacking opportunity came when Wilkinson put fullback Zac Givens through a hole, Givens sidestepped two Arkansas State defenders before being pulled down 2 meters short of the try line. During the ensuing ruck Arkansas State got their hands on the ball, but knocked it on giving the Sooners a 5 meter attacking scrum in front of the posts. The Sooners let Arkansas State off the hook by feeding at the scrum, awarding a free kick to Arkansas State. As was the case most of the day Arkansas State capitalized on OU’s mistake moved the ball wide for an outside break followed by a kick deep into the Sooners half. Not long after Wilkinson received the yellow card that proved to be the Sooners undoing.

Arkansas State put their foot on the gas and really started to spread the ball from sideline to sideline. Arkansas State’s Fullback Donnie Swanepoel put his stamp on the game with a number of outside line breaks during the last 20 minutes of the second half. In a matter of minutes Arkansas State scored a converted try by replacement center Dale. Arkansas State flyhalf Pat Sullivan controlled the game well and was rewarded with his first try at 70 minutes. Swanepoel quickly followed that up with a touchdown of his own. At 75 minutes Sullivan scored and converted another try to round out Arkansas State’s onslaught.
Arkansas State showed why they are a highly ranked team. The Arkansas State backrow, half back combination and fullback were all difference makers. Oklahoma played with Arkansas State for 65 minutes, but were completely outmatched for the last 15 minutes of the contest. Wilkinson played well at 10 for the Sooners and newcomers Zac Givens, Rich Immel and Joe Bach all made their presence felt.

Arkansas State will be playing the game of the week in the College Premier Division against Life April 2nd. The Sooners host Tennessee Saturday, April 2nd. Tennessee upset Texas A&M and will come into Norman with some confidence based on that result.

Arkansas State Trys: Yoshiyasu, Gragg, Mizell, Dale, Sullivan (2), Swanepoel
Conversions: Sullivan (3)
Oklahoma Penalty: Givens


Oklahoma Captain Taylor Mokate to earn first USA 7s cap at Hong Kong 7s


USA Sevens head coach Al Caravelli has recalled national team captain Todd Clever to his side for the next two rounds of the World Series in Hong Kong and Adelaide, Australia.

Caravelli had several places in the side to fill due to injury and Clever is one of three players added to the fold. There are two new faces in Caravelli’s squad, Taylor Mokate and Peter Tiberio, both of whom hail from the collegiate ranks.

Mokate is a former USA Under 20 and Junior All-American captain as well as being a two-time Collegiate All-American. He gets an official call-up having filled in for injured players at the USA Sevens last month in Las Vegas.

Tiberio plays for the University of Arizona and is a three-time Collegiate All-American with genuine pace. Clever, meanwhile, returns from a stint playing professional rugby in Japan and offers the vital ingredients of leadership and experience.

“Training camp started off slow but kicked into turbo drive Tuesday afternoon,” said Caravelli.

“Because of the way the squad responded to camp we were able to apply more pressure on defense. The other item that we needed to work on was our passing. “The squad came together, gelled and increased its teamwork around our defensive patterns. The last four sessions have been on the upswing. We still have a lot of growth for this young squad but we are headed in the right direction.”
Sevens regulars have confirmed their spots after solid performances on previous Series stops. Colin Hawley brings the versatility of being able to play every position. Marco Barnard has turned into a real playmaker, while the outstanding Zack Test also returns.

Paul Emerick earned his place after notching four tries in Las Vegas and putting in a typically robust performance. Shalom Suniula returns after a nagging injury to take his place alongside brother Roland and Miles Craigwell and Justin Boyd complete the line-up alongwith tough team captain Matt Hawkins.

The USA Men’s Sevens team departs on Sunday for Hong Kong and face pool matches against Japan, China, and England.

USA Men’s Sevens squad: Marco Barnard (Harlequins, Pretoria), Justin Boyd (Frisco Griffins), Todd Clever (Suntory), Miles Craigwell (NYAC), Paul Emerick (Life), Matthew Hawkins (Belmont Shore), Colin Hawley (The Olympic Club), Taylor Mokate (University of Oklahoma), Roland Suniula (Boston RFC), Shalom Suniula (Brisbane), Zack Test (At Large), Peter Tiberio (University of Arizona)

Hall of Fame

Oklahoma University Rugby enshrined its inaugural class of Hall of Famers Friday, March 11, 2011 in the Hall of Fame room at the Al Velie Rugby Complex Clubhouse on the campus of the University of Oklahoma.

Jon Velie, OU’s Director of Rugby said, “This is an important moment for Oklahoma Rugby. To establish a Hall of Fame and induct an incredible set of champions of the sport of rugby is important and a moving experience. Establishing this event this year is made even more significant with Oklahoma’s inclusion in the inaugural season of the Collegiate Premier Division, a competition of the best rugby universities in America and inclusion in NBC’s USA Collegiate Rugby 7s Championship this summer. College Premier Division players and coaches from around the country will visit one of the nation’s finest and oldest rugby clubhouses during this and future seasons. Installation of the Hall of Fame will show the depth of the rugby tradition we have enjoyed at Oklahoma.”

Head Coach Kenneth Forehand states, the Hall of Fame provides that bridge between the rich tradition of Oklahoma’s rugby past and the future success of today’s student athletes.”

Taylor Mokate, OU’s captain and current All-American and USA National Team player will likely be a future member of the Hall. Taylor says, “We hope someday to fill the shoes of the Oklahoma greats that came before us. It was an honor to watch them receive their Hall of Fame jackets for their stellar rugby careers.”

The Oklahoma Rugby Hall of Fame Class of 2011 is as follows: Al Velie, Tim ‘Tarzan’ Wilson, Jon Woods, Gary Tresemer, Larry Naifeh, Michelle Corr, David Jenkinson, Doug Neubauer, Moira Redcorn, and Tyson Meek.

Al Velie after being presented by son and OU Director of Rugby Jon Velie (right)

1957-1975. Scrum-half. Inducted 2011
The father of rugby in Oklahoma
Founder, Oklahoma Rugby Football Club, Club sponsor since inception
Played rugby in four decades.
Member of Harvard RFC, Peninsula Ramblers and Palo Alto RFC (founding member).
Tours: Bermuda, first OURFC tour to Mardi Gras
Inspiration for Al Velie Award, Al Velie Cup, Al Velie Rugby Complex
Saved the Pitch from being paved the first time.

1974- Present. Flanker. Inducted 2011
Founder, Oklahoma Rugby Football Club
The soul of rugby in Oklahoma
Has played rugby every year of the club’s existence
Holds record for most tries ever scored by an OU rugby player
Holds record for most years playing A side rugby for OU.
Holds record for most matches played for OU
Western USA, Ozark representative
Founding Member, Player of the Ozark Rugby Union
Member of Ft. Smith RFC
Coach: OURFC, Norman Colts
Tours: France
Inspiration for Tarzan Award, Tarzan Pitch


1974-1986. Number 8, Lock. Inducted 2011
Founder, Oklahoma Rugby Football Club
First Captain, OURFC
Scored first points on OU pitch
Member, Dartmouth College, Ivy League Champions 1971, 1972
Heart of American and Ozark Union representative
Tours: Ireland, England, OU’s first tour to Mardi Gras
Owner of “Arrow” OU’s first mascot


974-1985. Center. Inducted 2011
“OU’s Best Player”
Founding Member Oklahoma Rugby Football Club
US Eagles trialist, Western USA, USA Rugby East, Ozark Union representative
Member, Old No. 7, RFC.

1974- Present. Fly-half. Inducted 2011
Team America 1993, World Rugby Classic. International Matches vs. New Zealand, France, Australia, England
Captain Western USA 1981-1988, US Eagles Trialist (XV and VII)
Founding member of Oklahoma University Rugby Football Club (played in first match)
Captain of OU’s most successful teams (15s and 7s)
Captain of most tournament championships and most wins in OURFC history (15s & 7s)
Tours (Player, Captain, Coach) – New Zealand (3), Australia, England (3), France, Scotland (2), Bermuda, Canada (3), VanCanada, Bahamas
Coach of the U.S. Western Territory Rugby Team to eight (8) National Championships National Team Coach for the Collegiate All-Americans winning tour of South Africa
Assistant Coach Collegiate All-American Team
Assistant Coach for USA National Team – USA vs. France
Assistant Coach for USA Junior Eagles – New Zealand Tour, Canada, USA
National Selector, USA Eagles – two World Cup selections
National Selector USA Collegiate All-American Team
Founding Member, Player, Officer of the Ozark Rugby Union

1979- Present. Hooker. Inducted 2011
Western USA representative, US Eagles Trialist, 1992, 1993, 1994 (XV and VII)
Pioneer of Rugby. No one has created more rugby than Michelle Corr.
Founder, Oklahoma Roses 1979
Revived Roses, 1990
Founder, Oklahoma State Women’s Rugby 1983
First Coach, Norman Colts 2000
OU Roses Assistant Coach
Tours: France, England, Saranac Lake

1981 – 1992. Center. Inducted 2011
OU’s First USA National Team Player: Internationals v. Canada (2), Japan,
USA National Sevens International Tournaments: Hong Kong Sevens, Sydney Sevens
USA Cougars Tour to Kelso Sevens (Scotland) and London Sevens (England)
Member: Public Schools Wanderers, England
Western USA and Ozark representative
Member: Tulsa RFC

1981 – 1987. Prop, Lock, Flanker, Number 8. Inducted 2011
OU’s first three time All-American 1985, 1986, 1987. International v. Holland (1987, First All-American game since 1924)
Biggest Hit of the Match: All-Americans v. Holland, Rugby Magazine, June, 1987.
Member: Dallas Harlequins, Final Four Team 1991, 1992
US Eagles Trialist
Western USA, Ozark Union, Florida Union, Texas Union Representative
Tours: Bahamas, Canada, Australia, Scotland/Ireland
Head Coach: Texas Collegiate All-Stars, Texas U-17 All-Stars, Florida Collegiate All-Stars, Miami Tridents, Dallas Reds, Alliance Rugby Club.
Coached Dallas Reds to USA Rugby National 7’s Championship Final 1993
Texas High School Club Coach of the Year, 2010
State Champions, Texas High School with Alliance 2009, 2007
Founder Alliance Rugby Club and Florida International University Rugby Club


1986-2004. Hooker, Flanker. Inducted 2011
First OU Rose selected to the USA Rugby National Team, “The Eagles”
Atlantis International invitation side, Cape Fear
Western USA, Ozark Representative
MVP Albuquerque High Desert Classic 1998
Winner Ivy League Championship with Dartmouth College 1986, 1987, 1988
Coach Dartmouth 1994, 1997, 1999

1991- Present. Scrum-half. Inducted 2011.
USA National Team: Internationals v. Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and Cayman Islands
USA National Team Sevens: International Tournaments – Wellington (2), USA (2), Hong Kong, Singapore, Cayman Islands
Atlantis International Sevens: International Tournaments – Singapore (2), Cayman Islands
USA All-American 2004, Internationals v. Canada (2)
OU First USA High School All-American 1998 – International Tour to New Zealand (7 matches)
USA Hawks North American Four Series – 2006 & 2007
USA Falcons North American Four Series – 2008
International Clubs – Upper Hutt RFC (Wellington, NZ) – 2004, Stoke RFC (Nelson, NZ) – 2005
Professional Rugby Career: Weston-Super-Mare (England -2005), Nottingham RFC (England -2006/07) La Vila Rugby Club RFC (Spain – 2008/09).
Founder, Norman Colts High School Rugby Team, 1999.
Youngest player to play for OURFC at 11 years of age.

The Oklahoma Rugby Hall of Fame 2011 Class

Back Row: Gary Tresemer, Moira Redcorn, Larry Naifeh, Tyson Meek, David Jenkinson, Doug Neubauer Front Row: Al Velie, (Tim ‘Tarzan’ Wilson not pictured), Michelle Corr, John Woods