This weekend, the USC XV’s team traveled to Sin City to take on a strong UNLV side for their pre-season opener.
Both sides were extremely evenly matched, with USC narrowly winning 24-21. UNLV opened the scoring in the first, but the Trojans shook off the off-season rust and retaliated with a physical offense and a tightened defense.
With 5 minutes left to go, Trojans were down 17-21. Fly-half Pierre Badin was able to break through the defense with a perfectly-timed sidestep and put the ball down for a try and make the conversion, putting the Trojans up by 3.
USC was able to hold off the aggressive UNLV defense and slow the game down to come away with the victory. Special mention must be given to the USC forward pack, which despite being outsized and having two starting players injured early in the game, managed to put on a fantastically physical display. The pack was dominant at the scrums and lineouts, not only winning their own set-pieces but also a significant amount of the opposition’s.
Additionally, the forward were able to out-grind the defense, consistently breaking the gain-line with tight carries. The backs must also be applauded for a strong and energized defense, despite also being significantly outsized.
Rookie front-row Eugene Lee was given Man of the Match honors after scoring two tries on debut. USC XV’s looks to build its pre-season winning streak against a strong UCSB side this weekend (Oct. 17)