In a thrilling quarterfinal at the Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s tournament, UCLA defeated two-time defending champions Dartmouth on the final play of the game, 19-17.
Dartmouth started well and dominated possession early. They wisely got the ball out to Madison Hughes, who sidestepped and raced his way to the tryline.
Up 5-0, Dartmouth pressured UCLA into a poor kick to Hughes, and he fed James Sharpe, and Sharpe raced to the corner. Hughes was good on the kick, and Dartmouth led 12-0.
But once UCLA kept the ball, they did better.
"We know we have to be patient," said scrumhalf Grant Penney before the game. "I was guilty of making that mistake - of trying to do too much and score from first phase all the time. When we take our time and move the ball, we're a lot better."
That approach also stressed the Dartmouth defense.
And after Penney sent a smart kick ahead, the Bruins got the ball to Seb Sharpe, who was in for his team's first try.
Then a seemingly big play. Dartmouth, dragging a bit on defense, made several key try-saving tackles, and then broke free with time up in the first half.
Kevin Clark snaked through a hole, linked with Wilson Chockley and then Neil Greene - who made an outstanding pass out of contact to Ryan Galloway. Galloway needed help and Sharpe was there to finish it off. That made it 17-5 and seemed a killer blow for Dartmouth.
In the second half, UCLA seemed the fresher team, and pinned Dartmouth in their own 22. Desperate to work their way out of their end, the Big Green forced a pass that Martial Chaput intercepted and toko in for a try. He converted and that made it 17-12.
The teams battled for possession the rest of the half, with Dartmouth unable to get good territorial position. Then, with time up on the clock, an error. Dartmouth had the ball and fed Tyler Morange in space. Morange didn't have enough to get to the corner, and cut back into traffic. His support wasn't there, and he was penalized for holding on.
The Bruins attacked, and were supremely patient, knowing they had all the time in the world to score the trying try.
Passing back and forth, UCLA made some ground after Penney sent an audacious pass between his legs to the wing. They sucked in the Dartmouth defenders, who were out on their feet at this point and sent it wide to Chaput, who sped to the corner.
The try tied the game, and then Tyler Pritchard hit the touchline conversion for a dramatic win.
UCLA moves on to the semis. Dartmouth's tournament is done.
"We're getting better every game," said Penney. "That's all we can do."
Tries: Sharpe, Chaput 2
Convs: Chaput, Pritchard
Tries: Hughes, Sharpe, Clark