Men's DI Clubs

Written by Pat Clifton    Monday, 26 September 2011 09:19    PDF Print Write e-mail
Metropolis, Buffalo Bolster Records in Midwest
Clubs - Men's DI Clubs

Metropolis diving for a score. Dropkick photos

There were just three games of real consequence in the Midwest this weekend.

One was a 35-30 Buffalo victory over Cincinnati. Buffalo coach Ron Astridge said his team was happy to regain the respect of the Wolfhounds, to whom they’d lost 46-3 in August.

Nick Kusmierski booted Buffalo to the win with seven penalties, but no bonus point for four tries was gained. Cincinnati, however, did bag that bonus point, plus one for losing by seven or less. The Wolfhounds lead the trio of 3-1 teams and sit at first place in the Midwest East with 16 points. Detroit is second with 15 and Buffalo third with 14.

Metropolis avoided the upset in the West division, beating the pesky Blaze 50-27. The win didn’t always appear to be a guarantee, though.

“We started really slow. It was kind of opposite of the Lions game last week where we came out all guns blazing. We started a little slow and it took us a while to get into our rhythm and that was more so to do with their game than us not being ready,” said Metro coach Nate Osborne.

“They play kind of a scrappy game, trying to get quick turnover ball and spin it wide, and it kind of threw us off our game plan a little bit. Once we got settled in we played our kind of ball and put some points up.”

The third game of consequence was a possible relegation playoff, as Columbus and Indianapolis entered the contest winless. Columbus escaped the high-scoring fracas 48-40 winners.

There were no playoff implications in the battle of Chicago between the Lions and Griffins, but there was certainly pride, which the Lions captured as 16-5 winners.

The Griffins, however, did get the chance to blood several young players, including a young tighthead prop in Bryan Baskin, a 23-year-old from Iowa. Baskins assignment Saturday? John Vitale, who is considered one of the best scruammgers in the States.

“He held up very well, actually, but he also in his mind knows he was on a big learning curve, and he acknowledges that,” said Griffins head coach Wez Parkes.

“He picked up on a couple things (Vitale) was doing to manipulate him and dominate him. The kid is pretty mature in terms of being able to pick those things up and saying, ‘Hey I’m going to start trying to implement those in my own game.”

Written by Bernie Decker    Sunday, 25 September 2011 18:42    PDF Print Write e-mail
Glendale Thumps Highlanders
Clubs - Men's DI Clubs

Defending DI club champs the Glendale Raptors demonstrated well the reason for their status in a comprehensive victory over cross-town rival Denver Rugby Highlanders at Infinity Park rugby stadium Saturday evening. Over 1,000 spectators were in attendance for the Division I clash in near-perfect fall weather conditions.

Highlanders spent a good portion of the initial stages of the match inside Raptors 22 meter line, but were unable to come away with points as they crossed into goal twice though the Raptors defense denied them groundings. Glendale’s lineout play was impeccable, securing their own ball and pilfering most of Highlanders throws.

After a Highlanders missed swipe at goal in the first minute, flyhalf Ata Malifa put his side up by three with a penalty conversion from 35 meters at four ticks as Highlanders were judged to have not released at tackle. The next fifteen minutes featured territorial kicking by Highlanders flyhalf, Leif Gibson, which pinned Glendale deep in their own end, but consummate defense by the home team kept Denver from tallying.

Raptors increased their lead to eight in the 19th minute as their backs shifted ball at speed and second center Christian Sarmiento finished in the corner. Glendale upped the margin as Malifa deftly fed onrushing wing Max Stattler back inside and the speedy threequarter crossed and dotted for a Malifa-converted goal and it was 15-0 at 26 minutes.

Glendale had a player shown yellow at the 30 minute mark, but the visitors were unable to capitalize on that advantage though they managed a fair amount of time inside Glendale’s 22.   Instead it was the formidable Malifa who broke through the defensive wall at Highlanders’ 22 meter line and streaked into goal for his own conversion and a 22-0 lead at the 33rd minute.

Gibson slotted a penalty goal at 35 minutes to put Denver on the board and it was 22-3. Sarmiento picked up his brace with a well-squibbed boot into the box he was able to snatch at speed and dot for a Malifa-converted goal, and a 29-3 lead as time dwindled in the half.

It was Glendale yet again at the whistle when a Highlander was pinged for grossly inhibiting play and the home side were assessed a penalty try by ref Tim Luscombe.  Malifa’s conversion brought the score to 36-3 at halftime.

Raptors got on the front foot quickly after the re-start with Stattler getting his double after receiving a pop pass from Croy and burning the sideline for fifty to dot for a goal converted by replacement Dan Power, who played once in a non-cap game for the USA, and Glendale increased their lead to forty at minute 43.

Raptors tried again at minute 48 when loosehead Pat Carroll, exhibiting admirable pace in support of a Power break, touched down. Power’s conversion took the scoreline to 50-3.

Glendale dotted five more times before the whistle with tries by: Croy, Power, a brace by flanker Brad Winbush, and the final by Faroud Douarian for a  resounding 77-3 victory.

Glendale’s head coach, Mark Bullock was pleased with his side’s opening of their national title defense, “We managed to get on top of the Highlanders in the set piece and really created problems for them at lineout time as both locks, Matt Doubek and Casey Rock were very effective in stealing Highlander lineout ball and winning our own.” Bullock was pleased with his forwards’ overall play: “We were very strong in the loose. This denied the Highlanders a platform for attack and provided us an opportunity to counter attack which we did quite effectively tonight. “

Next up for Denver Rugby Highlanders is Utah’s Provo Steelers, 1pm kick at Infinity Park South while the Raptors play host to KC Blues in the Stadium. Both matches on 10/1.


Glendale Raptors 77
Tries: Sarmiento (2), Stattler (2), Malifa, Penalty Try, Carroll, Croy, Power, Winbush (2), Douarian
Convs: Malifa (4), Power (3)
Pens: Malifa

Denver Rugby Highlanders 3
Pens: Gibson

Referee: T. Luscombe


Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 25 September 2011 13:44    PDF Print Write e-mail
Great Start for Monmouth
Clubs - Men's DI Clubs

After finishing 4-4 in the MetNY Men's DI club league in 2010, Monmouth is off to an superb start this fall, beating the Village Lions 34-5 and Long Island 36-19 to start 2-0.

"It's always a pleasure to run with Long Island, who has been the class of our union for years, and plays the game hard and cleanly every time out," said club president and scrumhalf Rob Morello. "The word of the day for us today was 'consistent.' We made three assumptions going into today's game: 1) Long Island had seen our backline in action during the summer, and would defend us very well on the outside 2) that Long Island would try to bully us in the pack, because they were aware of our personnel turnover over the past year and 3) based on scouting from last week, that Long Island would potentially gas in the second half. All three came true."

Long Island played very solid defense, especially out wide, and pinned Monmouth's attack back.

But the Monmouth pack, despite being somewhat small, was hard-nosed and after three works of strength work and training in the set pieces, they started to wear Long Island down.

Lock and elder statesman James Barlow was a stabilizing force in the drive and lineout, and some personnel shifts late helped keep the Monmouth pack fresh.

They needed it, as at halftime the score was only 12-10 after Long island scored late.

"I was disappointed we let Long Island off the hook with a man in the bin at the end of the first half," said Head Coach Pat Moroney. "We then had a period of 10 mins in the second half where are concentration was not where it needed to be. However we created a lot of pressure with our defense causing turnovers and forcing mistakesm. Our bench players upped the tempo in the last 20 and it was very satisfying to finish on the front foot after fading during that portion of the same game last year."

Hooker Dave Del Pizzo was shifted to prop in the last 20 and held his own in the scrum while rallying the defense. His leadership kept the Monmouth club on task.

The backs scored all the tries for Monmouth, with Eric Daneman, Rob Morello, Kevin Kustelski and Michael Byrnes all touching down once, and Joe Lucarelli adding a try, three conversions and a penalty for 14 points on his own. However flyhalf Eric Fitzgerald praised the forwards to winning the game, saying after the match that it was the platform from the pack that created the victory.

All in all, a good start for the season for a club that usually isn't the first one you list when talking New York-area rugby. But maybe it will be.

"We stayed with our year-long gameplan, which is consistent phasing and outstanding defense," said Morello. "Having been playing together every weekend since January, this is a committed and quietly confident bunch. If we trust each other and keep working hard, we feel as a group that good things are bound to happen."

Written by Alex Goff    Saturday, 24 September 2011 18:15    PDF Print Write e-mail
Wolfhounds Take Control
Clubs - Men's DI Clubs

The Wolfhounds are clear in first in the early going. Declan Prenty photoThe Boston Irish Wolfhounds made a big statement as they edged an up-and-coming South Shore Anchors club 25-20 to move to 2-0 in the New England DI club league.

South Shore had looked solid in defeating Mystic River last week and dropped to 1-1.

“As a founding member of the club, I am really proud to see how they’ve progressed,” said Wolfhounds’ Director of Rugby David Gonzalez. “To take a final four team to within five points is impressive.”

“It was a really tough game,” added Wolfhounds DI coach Fergal Hehir. “South Shore came to win and we were just holding on at the end. Our forwards got a lot of work done and were the difference for us.”

Two mauls from lineouts led to tries for the Irish Wolfhounds in the second half, carrying the club to victory. Hehir singled out Ilya Wortman and Nick Pineda, both young locks, as standouts on the day.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in New England, Mystic River defeated Amoskeag 31-14 (score unconfirmed) to improve to 1-1. Coach Nick Murphy said co-coach Jake Sprague – the ex Eagle prop who had to stop playing due to illness – did yeoman work with the Mystic forwards this past week and it paid dividends.

“We have a very young team and like a lot of clubs in New England we are rebuilding, but this was an improved performance,” said Murphy.

Among the youngsters, hooker Chris Laughlin played especially well, and Mystic got a boost from the return of Chris Tofte in the backline.

“Overall, we were better and we’re happy to get the win and the bonus point,” said Murphy. “But we have to be fitter and we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

Also winners on the day were New Haven, who got by Hartford 22-19.

Men New England DI Clubs










Boston Irish Wolfhounds










Mystic River










South Shore




















New Haven






























Written by Pat Clifton    Saturday, 24 September 2011 17:51    PDF Print Write e-mail
Norfolk Keeps Rolling in MARFU
Clubs - Men's DI Clubs

Norfolk shutout Media 27-0 Saturday to improve to 2-0 in MARFU play. Though an impressive score line, it pales in comparison to the 69 points the Blues hung on Media last season.

“They have a lot of new, younger players. They’ve got a new flyhalf who has a phenomenal boot, but they have some new young players and they played some tough D,” said Norfolk player/coach Chris Porter of Media.

“They were hitting us hard, going after us, playing the typical Media we used to know. When we put the points on them last year it wasn’t the team we used to know.”

Norfolk’s size eventually wore down smaller Media.

“They’re just big. Big and fit,” said Media’s Owen Jones. “Norfolk is the full package. Everyone is big, they’re in shape, they can run and every tackle hurts.”

Though Porter commended Media for their defensive performance, his side has conceded just seven points in 160 minutes of rugby so far this season.

“That was the one thing we all sat down and decided -- defense is what we wanted to focus on, going after it and putting people down and not letting them score tries,” said Porter. “We’re really preaching that not letting them score points controls the game, so we’re pretty happy with that aspect of the game.’

Leading Norfolk’s defensive charge was flanker Danny Hare, who captained the Blues Saturday. “Our regular captain wasn’t there today, so Danny got to captain to the team and he stepped up his defense and just his leadership of the team by example,” Porter added.

With the loss, Media falls to 0-2 having lost to Maryland last week. But with Owen and Gareth Jones yet to step on the field and a seemingly easier schedule ahead, the Philadelphia-area team is optimistic.

“It’s not a bad 0-2. Norfolk is definitely the team that’s going to be in top four and maybe even just the top team,” said Jones. “Maryland is always around the top four, and for us now it’s just a matter of going through the rest of the teams. Every team we have left are teams we know well and teams we know we can beat, so we feel very confident in the position we are.”


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