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Louisiana Latest - Jesuit Wins, Sets Up Finale

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Louisiana Latest - Jesuit Wins, Sets Up Finale

Paul Beckman photo.

Jesuit New Orleans defeated Brother Martin this past weekend, and the Bayou Hurricanes won via forfeit to put both teams at 4-0 with one week to go in the Rugby Louisiana regular season.

The two teams will meet up next week to decide who is 1st, and finalize the playoff matchups. Brother Martin drops to 2-2 and St. Paul's sits at 1-3 - those two will play for the final playoff spot. the NOLA Barbarians, which had to bow out of this week's game with the Hurricanes because most of the team was down with the flu, sits at 2-3 and will be in the playoffs regardless.

Brother Martin controlled much of the first half against Jesuit, thanks in part to repeated ill-discipline by Jesuit at the breakdown. A series of infractions by Jesuit saw Brother Martin continuously enjoy penalty advantage, which it used variously to quick-tap or kick for touch. Brother Martin’s continuous go-forward ball eventually paid dividends when the Crusaders broke Jesuit’s line for a deep run followed by an offload, which earned Brother Martin its first try of the match.

Down 5-0, Jesuit continued to sputter with penalties and knock-ons, but eventually was able to string together enough continuous possession to get deep in Brother Martin territory. The Blue Jays sent repeated sorties of forwards against the Crusaders’ line, only to be repelled. Jesuit eventually shipped the ball wide, which stretched the Crusaders’ defense and break the line. Jesuit scrumhalf Josh Cashio was quick to the breakdown and attacked the Brother Martin defense, drawing several defenders, when to tossed a reverse pass to flanker Chuck Lobrano, who walked in for the try. The conversion was good and Jesuit led 7-5. Shortly thereafter, an injury resulted in a nearly hour-long stoppage during which the sky opened up for a heavy downpour. Match play restarted with a penalty to Brother Martin, and they scored from a quick tap to make it 10-7.

The second half started much the same as the first, with Jesuit being penalized repeatedly for infringements at the breakdown. Jesuit soon ended up shorthanded thanks to successive yellow cards, and played down two players. Thereafter, Jesuit simply allowed rucks to go largely uncontested, which put a tourniquet on the penalty count. Hard-nosed defense with a high work rate by Jesuit’s defense, including two try-saving tackles by Jesuit fullback Jack Gab, prevented the Crusaders from being able to score during a nearly ten-minute double sin-bin.

Upon returning to full strength, Jesuit found its form. A series of Blue Jay line breaks found the Crusaders’ defense on the back foot. With the pressure mounting, Cashio found a gap and then offloaded to Lobrano, who scooped up the ball and ran in for his second try. 

Up 12-10, Jesuit had the better of the possession and territory. A key pick-and-go from Jesuit big man Peyton Cox gained critical meters along the touchline. Cashio was immediately to the breakdown, and played the ball to the midfield, where Jesuit again broke the gainline, followed by another immediate laser from Cashio the other way. The Crusaders’ defense was now stretched and disorganized and unable to defend the one-two combination of Jesuit center Matt Palmer, and Gab, as Palmer set up Gab for the try.

That made it 19-10 for Jesuit, and that's how it ended.

The tough match was just what the Blue Jays needed going into their toughest match of the season, said Jesuit Head Coach Adam Massey. “The boys were under pressure for much of the match, during which pretty much nothing went right. But they had faith in themselves and in their system, and kept playing Blue Jay rugby. They did not panic or breakdown. Eventually they found their stride, and with it, a tough victory.”

 

Louisiana HS League W L T Pf Pa Pd   BL Pts
Bayou Hurricanes 4 0 0 216 32 184   0 16
Jesuit NOLA 4 0 0 89 44 45   0 16
NOLA Barbarians 2 3 0 119 99 20   1 9
Brother Martin 2 2 0 99 112 -13   0 8
St. Paul's 1 3 0 87 116 -29   0 4
Capt. Shreve 0 5 0 22 219 -197   0 0