Match Report from Coach Darwin for USA vs. USM 9/22/2012
In their first match of the season the South Alabama Jaguars travelled to Hattiesburg, MS to face the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. Many of the guys in the roster were starting in their first ever rugby match. The weather for the match was warm and sunny and for the first time ever the Jaguars were playing on turf.
The referee was Jim Harsh and the match was kicked off at 1:30. Both teams agreed to play 4 – 20min periods – Jaguars would receive the kickoff. The first period was back and forth with several knock-ons and minor infractions as both teams settled into their roles. The referee did well to manage the young teams but eventually the Jaguars were penalized deep in their own end for improper binding in the scrum.
The Golden Eagles weren’t able to capitalize on the penalty and the Jaguars roared back to push the Eagles back into their own half. Several back to back penalties against the Eagles allowed the Jags to kick for touch and move the ball into scoring position. Gabriel Torres touched the ball down in the corner of the end zone @35 min. into the match. The try went unconverted. 5-0 USA. The Eagles woke up and went back to work and were finally able to put points on the board with a penalty kick from just inside the Jags 22 meter line. 5-3 USA.
More loose play from both teams saw one knock on after another. The scrum that followed was penalized after the ref again noticed improper binding in the front row forwards. Golden Eagles took the opportunity to take a small lead with a penalty kick just before halftime leaving the score at 5-6 USM. Both teams retired at halftime but only one team returned – the Jags focused on getting it right at the breakdown and amped up their constant pressure on the #9 and #10. Once they got possession they drove down the field off a series of pick and go’s inside the 22 until CJ Leggett picked up the ball from the back of a ruck 3 meters from the goal line and dove in under the sticks to score his first ever try in his first ever game! Carlos Gemenez converted the try to bring the score to 12-6 USA.
The Jaguars minimized their penalties in the second half and were only dinged for an early push in the scrum, and a dangerous tackle over the entire second half. The Eagles however were not quite as disciplined and the Jags marched down the field. Gabriel Torres bagged his second try from a pick and go off the back of the scrum and dotted down to the right of posts with 10 minutes remaining in the match. The conversion missed and the Jags led 17-6. The Golden Eagles played physical until the end but not before Carlos Gimenez was able to break through a tackle and swerve around the Eagles fullback to score his first ever try in his first ever match! Conversion was kicked wide right ending the match and leaving the final score at 22-6! Jags win! Jags win!
[Release from Coach Darwin]
The tournament was between mixed competition of 5 men’s teams and 5 collegiate teams. It was hosted at Spanish Park High School in Hoover AL. The Jaguars were in pool A with B’ham 1 (Gold), Montgomery, & UNA. Getting to a medal meant placing 1st or 2nd in our pool. We easily did that, and in the end only lost to the Gold and Silver medal winners.
USA 24 v Montgomery 0 – “Great opening match. Our boys came out strong, jumped on the much bigger men’s team and never let up. A real confidence builder.”
USA 7 v B’ham One 14 – “Birmingham 1 had the home field advantage, they are a large physical men’s team and I thought we looked sharp at times against them. They were definitely the better tea at the end of the day.”
USA 10 v UNA 0 – “The University of North Alabama let us get back into our rhythm, in the heat of the day. Beating them meant extending into a medal round and it helped refuel the Jaguars.”
Semi Final #1
USA 5 v Ship 24 – “Battleship of Mobile was a somewhat familiar foe and we knew it was going to be a tough match-up. We prepared for them like any other club but the boys had to play their entire bench to finish the match.”
Bronze Medal Game
USA 12 v Bama 0 - “Bronze medal match, and the Jaguars weren’t coming away empty handed. The young jags had played out of their skin all day and got some sweet payback on a team the bested them late last Spring.”
The South Alabama Men’s Rugby Club will host the South Division 3 Championship this weekend at the intramural fields. The top teams from the Dixie, Bayou, Carolinas, and Peach Conferences will determine the South D3 Championship. Saturday @ 11, University of West Florida (Bayou) will face Sewanee University of the South (Dixie), and @ 1 o’clock Furman University (Peach) will face University of North Carolina-Charlotte (Carolinas). The winners from each match will be finalist in the South Division 3 Championship match played on Sunday @ 11. For more information, visit http://www.usarugbysouth.com/championships/collegiate-championships/
[Release from Coach Darwin]
In their second match of the season, the University of South Alabama Men’s Rugby Club traveled to Troy Alabama on February the 5th to face the Troy University Trojans. Field conditions at the Sportplex in Troy were very wet and sloppy. Temps were cold and it was also very windy. The match was well attended by the Trojan’s supporters who were huddled together on the bleacher seats. The Jaguars travelled light to Troy, with only 16 players, leaving only one reserve player standing on the sideline. Comparatively, the Trojans had a plethora of 7 reserve players to use as substitutes.
At kickoff, South Alabama started the match with a mauling drive that was eventually stopped and the ball was swung out wide across the width pitch. It was clear early on that conditions would be a factor and that teamwork would be the key to success. Several penalties backed Troy up near their own goal line until finally Jayvon Jackson picked up the ball from the back of a ruck and scored the Jags first points of the matrix season. It was just the spark the Jags needed to lift the team.
The wet conditions started to give way to slips, knock-ons, and general sloppy ball movement which let the Trojan’s inside center, and man of the match, squeak in their only points under the posts. They briefly led the match 7-5 when they converted their try scoring drive. Penalties against the Trojans continued to help the Jaguars move the ball down field into scoring opportunities. Overall, better teamwork allowed the jaguars to move the ball forward, but taking advantage of penalty situations, kicking for touch, and taking quick taps near the goal line allowed the Jaguars to dominate the Trojans 25-7. Try scorers for South Alabama were Jayvon Jackson, Gabriel Torres (2), and Ruben Lugo. Gabriel Torres was named man of the match, and the Trojan’s inside center was voted Troy’s man of the match.
Starting line-up was Vaughan Blacksher, Jianni Spicciani, Scott DeGraw, Stuart O’Rear, Gabriel Torres, Joseph Goodie, Jayvon Jackson, Balla Masemola, Patrick Johnston, Ruben Lugo, Kye Cole, Chris Ambron, Aaron Roote, Saad Alshareeda, Eugene DeBartolo, and James Wilbanks.
For more info about the club including the Jag’s next match of the season, visit the team website at www.southalabamarugby.com
USA will be at Spring Hill College (Feb. 12) at 1pm as the Old Shell Road rivalry continues. Both clubs are 1-1 and desperately looking for a win against their cross town rival. Join the Jags for a 1 o’clock kickoff on Spring Hill’s campus. Go Jags!
Coaches’ Report for Release:
The South Alabama Men’s Rugby Football Club competed in the 32nd Annual Battleship Rugby Tournament this past weekend. On Saturday morning, the team faced Division I Kennesaw State University. Kennesaw came out strong and controlled the ball from the opening kickoff. They were able to move the ball down the field with several good phases of rucks and support. It took just 2 minutes for Kennesaw to put the ball into the try zone. Over the next 10 minutes Kennesaw scored another two tries. However, South was able to strike back in the 15th minute after a stolen lineout. Flanker Jayvon Jackson picked his way through several defenders and scored South’s inaugural try. Ruben Lugo made the conversion. At the end of the first half Kennesaw scored another try making the score 26-7.
The second half saw Kennesaw continue the scoring with two tries in the first 8 minutes. At the 11th minute, 8 man Balla Masemola took the ball from the back of the scrum on a long run. Scrumhalf Lugo received the ball and kicked ahead to wing Eric Shreves for another try. Lugo again made the conversion. The Jags kept the momentum going when Masemola picked another ball from the back of the scrum and scored. Lugo was successful on the conversion making the score USA 19 – Kennesaw 36. At that point, Kennesaw used their hard running and skill to score another 3 tries in the last 5 minutes. The final score was Kennesaw 53-19.
Later in the afternoon, the Jags took on Deep South opponent Tulane. The match was back and forth for the majority of the first half. Both sides played some impressive rugby but neither was able to get into the try zone. At the 18th minute, Ruben Lugo broke away on a long run and scored in the corner of the try zone. The conversion was unsuccessful. The score at half South 5-0.
The second half of the match mirrored the first. Neither side could penetrate the other’s defense. Late in the half, Tulane was able to take advantage of South penalties and move the ball down the field. At the 20th minute, Tulane scored a try but missed the conversion. The final whistle blew soon after with the score tied 5-5. Due to tournament regulations, the game was allowed to end in a tie.
Sunday morning, the Jags played shortened matches in a round robin against Western Florida and Troy. The first match against UWF saw the Jags score quickly. Center Gabriel Torres took off on a long run from deep in South territory. He was able to get the ball to Ruben Lugo who slashed his way through several defenders and scored the day’s first try. Lugo also made the conversion. UWF answered 10 minutes later with a nice try and made the conversion. In the final seconds of the game, South threatened to score with several phases of play deep in UWF territory. A penalty was called on UWF for playing the ball while off sides. South chose to take the penalty kick and Lugo sent the ball through the uprights. The whistle blew giving South its first victory 10-7.
In the 2nd match against Troy, South used some outstanding defense to blank the Trojans. Early on, Gabriel Torres once again took off for a long run. The ball eventually ended up in 8 man Jason Pendergraph’s hands who scored after breaking several tackles. The conversion kick was missed. At the 10th minute of the game, South missed a penalty kick but kept the ball in the Troy end of the field. After a quick series of rucks, the Jags mauled the ball into the try zone and a collective effort from the forwards was enough for another score. The conversion was again missed. The teams played to a draw for the remainder of the half making the final score South 10- 0.
For the tournament forwards Scott DeGraw, Vaughan Blacksher, Jayvon Jackson, Scott Pendergraph and back Ruben Lugo played every minute of every game. The Jags improvement from the Spring Hill match two weeks ago was impressive. If the team continues its rapid ascent, the Deep South Rugby Union, Division 3 title is well within reach.
The University of South Alabama Rugby Football Club kicked off its inaugural rugby season this past Saturday at Spring Hill. The weather was perfect and the match was well attended. The Jags started out with some impressive defense pressure to pin Spring Hill deep in its own territory. Penalties hurt the inexperienced South team and field positioned changed. The Jags played with their backs to their own goal line for the next several minutes. Big tackles by inside center Kye Cole and flanker Jayvon Jackson kept Spring Hill from scoring. The offense finally broke through and scored a try approximately 10 minutes into the game. The conversion was missed putting Spring Hill up 5-0.
The next 25 minutes saw back and forth action with hard running and crushing tackles by both squads. Outside center Gabriel Torres had some long runs but the Jags were unable to capitalize. The Jags best chance to scored came on a penalty play near the Spring Hill goal line. After several phases the Jags were again penalized and Spring Hill was able to move down the field. The opposition was able to put together a good series of phases and score again with just 3 minutes remaining in the half. The conversion was missed again. The score at half was Spring Hill 10, USA 0.
The second half saw several substitutions by each team. The Jags were heavily pressured by the more experienced Spring Hill players. Strong team defense and tremendous personal play on the part of the Jags kept Spring Hill from scoring for the first 20 minutes. Then the dam broke. Spring Hill was able to score 3 more tries in the final 20 minutes to blank the Jags 31-0.
In the spirit of rugby an additional 20 minute period was played at the end of regulation so that all members of both teams could get substantial playing time. For the Jags, scrumhalf and captain Ruben Lugo led the team with his good play. And prop forward Scott DeGraw, locks Jonathan Orso and Hayden Haynie were the Ironmen of the day playing the entire 100 minutes. Although there were many great tackles and very few missed tackles the defensive award, or “The Hammer” (for best defensive performance) goes to the outside center, #13 Gabriel Torres. He was a force around the park all day, and managed to disrupt the attacking team’s momentum. Man of the match had several great attacking runs only to be stopped by the third and fourth tacklers at the last lines of defense, he found daylight several times by picking up and running off the back of the scrums, he distributed the ball well and as captain he set the pace and provided a good example for his teammates to follow. Man of the Match was scrumhalf #9 Ruben Lugo.
The team practices Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 pm on field #4 at the intramural fields. All students are welcome to join the team. For more information please visit the website www.southalabamarugby.com. Go Jags!
South Alabama Jaguar Rugby Club will visit Spring Hill College this Saturday for the team’s season opener. Looking to build a strong in-town rivalry, the Jags will need to bring their “A” game against an experienced Spring Hill team. Kickoff is set for 11am on Spring Hill’s campus. The Jaguars hope to start the rivalry out with a win and claim the honors of best rugby club on Old Shell Road. Schedule and contact info found on www.southalabamarugby.com.
South Alabama Rugby is up and running at full throttle.
The men’s team will be sending participants to the Deep South Selections Camp to tryout for the Deep South Collegiate XV’s All-star squad. The selected few will represent the Deep South Rugby Union as they compete against other regions over the next year.
Both the men’s and women’s teams have been working hard to prepare for their matches. South Men’s will open their first season with a match at Spring Hill College at 12pm on Saturday Oct. 30th, and both teams will compete in the 32nd Annual Battleship Rugby Tournament at the USS Alabama Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama (November 13-14, 2010)
Women’s Rugby at South Alabama is a strong possibility. Significant interest at JagFest has moved the rugby organizers to open the sport to women of South Alabama. The Lady Jag’s will be recruiting. Any interested girls should contact April Hill
All rugby players need to attend the first team meeting scheduled for Sept 14th at the new rec center meeting room at 6pm for practice and match schedules, officer elections, information about club dues, and also to fill out and exchange contact information. Go Lady Jags!
Jag fans get ready for rugby at South Alabama. Jagfest this past Saturday was a very successful venue for recruiting participants. Over 70+ students stopped by the booth to “sign up” during the event. Founding members of South Alabama Rugby took interested players’ contact info and helped promote the team’s first meeting (Sept. 14th at the new Rec Center meeting room).
For more information, visit http://www.southalabamarugby.com/