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Connecticut Runs Through Tri-State All-Star Tourney

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Connecticut Runs Through Tri-State All-Star Tourney

All four boys teams post together.

The Rugby NY Major League Rugby team hosted a Tri-State HS select side tournament over the weekend, and in the boys bracket Connecticut came out on top.

The tournament was held Sunday, June 12  at JFK Stadium in Hoboken, NJ in a semifinal-final format.

Connecticut beat Rugby PA 35-0 in their opener. Early on the Connecticut side realized they could break through lines easily with crashballs to forwards, so that's what they did. Rugby PA adapted by organizing their defensive line more closely together, and of course that fed into CT's desire to spread it wide.

Wings Kevin Kirklin and Griff O'Connell, both of West Hartford, could not be stopped once they got going and the team also got tries from John Gatherer and Jack Reed.

Rugby NJ beat the New York side in their opener 21-12, looking just a little bit more unified and cohesive in doing so. Flyhalf Daniel Morariu scored two tries in that game for NJ.

In the second game of the series, New York rebounded and started to play together much more. They defeated Rugby PA relatively comfortably. Connecticut, meanwhile, kept up the momentum. 

In that game against New Jersey, there were a lot of knock-ons, but Connecticut started to fix their issues. Flyhalf Eoin Cuddy started to make ground with the boot, only to discover that New Jersey's deep three could respon.

RugbyCT adapted and started to use their big forwards to pound it up the field. The forwards did well to make ground and retain possession, stringing together multiple possessions of 10 phases or more. Tournament MVP Brandon Saunders had several line breaks, setting up support runners to finish the job

"Connecticut is extremely lucky to have three nationally-ranked teams and some other very strong teams," said Connecticut Rugby President Joe Kelly. "We get better when we play each other so having quality teams in a close proximity is a huge advantage. Playing together from Freshman year, through JV and Varsity allows us to develop a consistent level of play that sets us apart. As President of CT Rugby I am so proud of our state and look forward to what's to come."

Kelly said having Mike Laczkowski as Head Coach was critical. Laczkowski has experience in coaching select sides and he got the team working together without even one practice.

See the full game film of the final here>> 

Rugby Connecticut Roster:
Noah Fraas - Flanker - Staples
Eoin Cuddy - Flyhalf - Staples
Sam Pirkl - Wing - Staples
Brandon Saunders (Captain) - Prop - Staples 
Devon Saunders - Scrumhalf - Staples
Jake Pobjoy - Lock - Greenwich
JB Meier - Wing - Greenwich
John Gatherer - Scrumhalf - Greenwich
Danny Fox - Flanker - Greenwich
Ignacy Pietryka - Prop - Greenwich
Garrett O’Dell (Captain) - Center - Greenwich
Clay Griffin - Flanker - Greenwich
Thomas Foster - Wing - Greenwich
James Nightingale - Prop - Ridgefield
Max Butler - 8 - Ridgefield
Nacho Brina - Center - Ridgefield
Joey McGoey - Fly Half - Ridgefield
Kevin Kirklin - Center - West Hartford
Griffin O'Connell - Center - West Hartford
Oliver Held - Lock - West Hartford
Brice Muller - Lock - Fairfield Prep
Malachi Mercer-Robinson - Flanker - Fairfield Prep
Joel Venables - Hooker - Carmel
Jack Reed - Fullback - St. Luke's
Anthony Desaultels - Flanker - Trumbull
Dennis Elrod - Prop - Aspetuck

New York Roster:
(this side was sponsored by the AC Rugby Foundation, part of the New York Athletic Club, and has been supported in this way for the past four years)

Blaise Denson - Rye HS
Erik Roksvold - Pelham
Ferdinand Lemoine - Pelham
Laszlo Somlay - Pelham
Sebastian Saintilius - Play Rugby USA
Devin Melendez - Play Rugby USA
Eamonn O'Reilly - Pelham Junior
Luca Secor - Xavier
Dylan Kluge - Harvey
Ollie Bartlett - Dwight
Alexander Anderson - Pelham
Maseah Young - Xavier
Christopher O'Halloran-Gannon - Xavier
Ioannis Pavlides - Pelham
George Estefano - New Rochelle
Harry Montague - Xavier
Liam Necina - Xavier
Matthew Lane - Xavier
Will Otondi - Pelham
Liam Bruckner - Pelham
DJ Holmes - Pelham
Rashawn Bowen - Play Rugby USA
Finn McCauley - Xavier
Anthony Dabao - Xavier
Louis Freeman - Xavier
Sean Donohue - Xavier
Charlie Kinzie - Xavier
Luke Duffy - Xavier

Director: Matt Persanis (Pelham)
Head Coach: Ski Bailey (Xavier)
Coaches: Heidi Rubenstein (Dwight), Andrew Gheraldi (Xavier), Yohendy Martinez (playrugby), Jim O'Hara (Rye)

Rugby NJ Roster:
Adrien Bekker - Union Mud Turtles 
Alex Estey - Delbarton 
Andrew Luciano Gómez - Morris Rugby 
Ayden Luciano Gómez - Morris Rugby 
Charlie Blessing - Union Mud Turtles
Connor Gilfillan - Morris Rugby 
Daniel Morariu - Union Mud Turtles
Dylan George - Union Mud Turtles 
Evan Rothery - Morris Rugby 
Hudson Furnari - CBA
Isaac Gamboa - Morris Rugby 
Ivan Sebastian Gómez - Morris Rugby 
John Kelly - Union Mud Turtles
Josh Sackett - Union Mud Turtles
Kyle Krebs - CBA
Landon Roth - Union Mud Turtles
Marcus Colon - Highlander Rugby 
Matthew Froden - Union Mud Turtles 
Oliver Acuna-Casey - Morris Rugby 
Ricky Guzman - Highlander 
Riley Yau - Union Mud Turtles 
Shane Elvin - Morris Rugby 
Tiyaan Pillay - Morris Rugby 
TJ Meehan - CBA 


Head Coaches: Ryan Murphy, Bogdan Morariu, Anna Gildea, Brian Sheehy, Tom Meehan

Rugby PA Roster:
Aidan Williams - Media
Ben Grill - West Shore United
Brayden Rolston - Bishop Shanahan HS
Brian Donahue - La Salle College HS
Charlie Bascome - Conestoga HS
Elijah Davis - Moon Area HS
Ethan Ryan - Media
Gabe Douthwaite - Downingtown
Garrett Mann - Pittsburgh Central Catholic HS
Jamie Rivera - Blackthorn
Jarrett Keesler - La Salle College HS
Jayce Brooks - Indiana County
Josh Bladel - Moon Area HS
Kevin Corso - La Salle College HS
Kurtis Keefer - Montgomery Bucks
Luke Snell - La Salle College HS
River WIlliam Ocden - Montgomery Bucks
Sean Malfara - St. Joes Prep HS
Thomas Batten - Indiana County
Toby Brennan - State College Area HS
Will Ernst - Media
Xander Cox - State College Area HS
Zachary Herrington - Indiana County