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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pasadena loses a tough one to Oceanside

Going into yesterday's championship game for the Division II for the Southern California Rugby title, everybody knew it was going to be a tough and intense match. What the fans got was a lot of drama, hard-hitting, and an unbelievable amount of trash talking from Oceanside. Pasadena had a great deal of the ball possession, and they owned the scrum against a predominantly South Pacific Oceanside squad. Oceanside was able to take advantage of Pasadena mistakes, and their eight-man had several linebreaks and ran with a great deal of speed and power. Pasadena scored a last minute try and make a particularly difficult conversion, to send the game into overtime. In the and Oceanside prevailed, 43 -36. Pasadena season is now done, with Oceanside advancing to Arizona next weekend for the next round of Division II playoffs.

Pasadena coach Aaron Tanner probably something up the best, when he told his charges that he would rather lose with class than win with the trash talking theatrics and poor sportsmanship exhibited by Oceanside . It's too bad because they obviously have some very good players, Who showed a lot of heart in spite of being outplayed for long stretches of the game. For Pasadena, a national quarterfinalist last year, it's wait until next year-but what a game.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

USA to Host Japan in Southern California in June….

After getting back from Atlanta a couple of weeks ago to see the USA Eagles beat Uruguay, I got a second bit of good news in the last week after I found out that I will be able to see the USA Eagles play again-without having to spend a ton of money on airfare and hotel-just a car trip down to Carson, just south of Los Angeles to see the Eagles host Japan in a Pacific Nations Cup match.

It's great news for USA rugby fans here in Southern California. Given the number of Japanese citizens who live and work in California, there should be a good number of Cherry Blossom fans at the Stub hub Center
The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California will host Rugby instead of soccer….
as well. I have Saturday, June 14th marked off on my calendar to catch some more international rugby.

The Eagles will play Canada the following week up the I-5 in Sacramento, the California State Capital-a game I will have to miss, as I plan on being in Minnesota to see my kids, my grandson and some other dear friends.
Sometimes rugby has to take a back seat to more important things.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

USA Eagles Punch Their Ticket to Rugby World Cup 2015 Against Uruguay.

Uruguay lined up for the National Anthem.
My buddy Tom Daniels and I made it out to Georgia for the second leg between Uruguay and the USA Eagles in Kennesaw Georgia. In match played in front of a little over 6,000 fans in conditions that went from wet and windy to dry with some sporadic sun, most of the crowd was hoping the Eagles would get a good start out of the gate. We were disappointed.
The Teros showed a lot of heart-particularly in their scrum.

The USA had to endure yellow cards to Olive Kilfi and Andrew Suniula. Playing a couple of men short, Joaquin Prada scored a try for the Teros. American Captain Todd Clever also had to leave the field to get medical treatment.
An audible sense of relief when Clever came back from inury.
Uruguay continued to give the USA scrum all kinds of troubles in the first half. Berchesi kicked two LONG penalties for Uruguay. Saracens fullback Chris Wyles hit a lone penalty for the USA. At half time the USA trailed 13-3. The big crowd that had started boisterous was very quiet. In a winner take all match, the Eagles were laying a big goose egg. The prospect of losing at home to Uruguay and having to play repechage matches to qualify for next years Rugby World Cup was unsettling, to say the least.

The second half would prove to be a massive reversal for the Eagles.
All of the sudden, Eagle physicality kept the Teros deep in their own territory. The Americans finally got a great push out of a scrum and Fry, one of the props, scored. a few minutes later, off a Uruguay penalty at their own two, American fly half Petri took the quick tap, and out raced the Teros to plant the ball down for a try. With the very pro-American crowd sensing blood, the eagles continued to dominate at the breakdown
, In a 10 minute period, they would score two more tries, care of the Suniula brothers. (Shalom scored his first Eagle try in his second cap) Wyles scored one more penalty for the Yanks, and the USA punched their ticket to next years Rugby World Cup.
The Eagles celebrate.

The Eagles took a well deserved lap of honor, glad handing American rugby fans and basking in the glow of a 32-13 win, that was really a tougher game than the score would indicate.
American Captain Todd Clever all smiles after the Eagle win.

What this means, is that now I can start planning my trip to England next year
Honey, we are going to England...
Petri shares the moment with his baby.