It’s about halfway through the high school rugby year in Oregon and the standings are already shaping up. In the Division One Boys standings, things aren’t looking all that surprising except for the slow start of one team.
The defending state champion Eastside Tsunamis U19s (1-1) are off to a bit of a rough and certainly not predictable start. They are currently in fifth place in the seven team league and with Spring Break upon most high schools, their season doesn’t kick back up until next weekend against their 17s side.
The Battle Ground Bulls (3-0 and ranked #16 by RUGBYMag.com) currently hold the outright top spot in the standings at this point with the Barbarians (2-0) running close in second place. They beat up on North Clackamas a few weekends ago 49-14 and have been rolling ever since their merge with Prairie.
“We combined with them because they didn’t have the numbers to field a squad and it’s paid premiums with their depth,” Bulls coach Daniel Simental said. “Now we field two very competitive sides on the DI and DII level and are looking to put our name on the big trophy this year.”
The Bulls, who are actually based in Battle Ground, Wash., but are closer to Oregon teams and so play in that state, are certainly on their way through the first half. But entering the second half of the year there are some tough tests out of the gate and are looking to add more to their game.
“We’ve got some tough games against top tier opponents and there is no easy test,” Simental said. “For the second half we are aiming to get our pack more involved. We are usually a running team that scores a lot from our wings and fullback, but now we want our forwards to get involved and add pressure with our kicking game.”
The Bulls have a bye week coming up next weekend then get right back to business on March 14 against Bend (0-3) who have been struggling this year, but only because of bad timing. Last year’s squad won the DII title and went undefeated, unfortunately though all good things do come to an end.
“We lost 18 seniors from last year’s squad and have 16 freshmen on our team this year so we’ve gone from game situations to teaching,” Bend coach K.C. Greenleaf said. “The good news for us is while this year may be a rebuilding process, next year we will be back. Our boys are improving and we have some winnable games in the second half to hopefully add more confidence to our squad.”
North Clackamas (2-1) will face off against the Barbarians (2-0 ranked #11 by RUGBYMag.com) right after the break to see who will move up to second put some pressure on the Bulls.
See video highlights of the Bulls here: