The Fallbrook Girls Rugby Club has experienced a lot of success in the last few years, but last weekend has to be one of the club’s highlights. Southern California hosted championships for three age grades – U14, U16 and U19 – and Fallbrook won them all.
The San Diego-based club boasts about 45 girls across its three teams, and the U14s were the first to enjoy sweet victory. The team played a 7s game against the San Diego Aztecs and shut out their opponents 20-0. The Braves have maintained their record of never losing a championship match in their four-year existence.
Thirteen-year-old Sarah Workman scored two tries – one of which stretched the entire length of the pitch – while Kayla Canett and Brianna Rodriguez five-pointers of their own. Akin to their elder teams’ style, it was Fallbrook’s superior pace that set them apart from the Aztecs.
The U16 girls followed suit and took on a larger South Bay side in another 7s match final.
“This was a nail biter of a game,” Fallbrook coach Marin Pinnell said. “Fallbrook beat the Amazon-like opponent by playing good pressure defense and turning over the ball in the huge tackles. Fallbrook's speed to score off these opportunities won out on the day.”
Fallbrook won 17-10 as Rachel Ricks scored two tries, and Alex Beckett added seven points on a try and conversion.
The last day of the match came down between the Fallbrook U19s and Fullerton Lions. This was the only 15s match of the day. The Warriors won 20-15 in what wasn’t as close a game as the score indicates, Pinnell said.
Casey Karl and Michel Navarro put Fallbrook up 10-0 after 10 minutes, and Jessica Garcia added another try to lead 15-0 into the break. Navarro got her second try of the day to cap off Fallbrook’s scoring (20-0), and that’s when a couple of injuries began to affect the defensive cohesion of the young Fallbrook team.
Fullerton used this advantage well and ran in three tries to pull within 20-15 at the whistle.
The Warriors have forfeited their berth to the state championship, as it occurs the weekend after the National High School/U19 Championship this weekend. Fullerton will play Mother Lode, the NorCal champion for the title.
“It was a tremendous day for the Fallbrook Girls Rugby Club,” Pinnell said. “We played every single player that was in our squad and our reserves gained some valuable experience playing in a territorial final. For the last four years, Fallbrook have qualified in all three age divisions for the SoCal finals, winning 10 out of 12 finals."
Pinnell was quick to credit co-coaches Craig Pinnell and Paul Bell, as well as the many parents and fans who have enabled the success of the club – and they were all rewarded with a grand sweep of the championships for their support.