GRR on X  GRR on Facebook GRR in Instagram GRR Vimeo Library GRR on YouTube RuggaMatrix America Podcasts Support GRR on Patreon

NDC vs St. Bonaventure Part Deux; This Time for a Trophy

irish rugby tours

NDC vs St. Bonaventure Part Deux; This Time for a Trophy

NDC scrumhalf Rémy Thomson can send passes with his mind. Alex Goff photo.

The final of the NCR Division 1 has already been played—OK, not played per se but these two teams have already met, will the outcome be the same?

Just about a month ago Notre Dame College defeated St. Bonaventure 28-19 at NDC in South Euclid, Ohio. 

In this game, St. Bonaventure repeatedly tried to test NDC in the wide channels and burn the Falcons with their speed. They managed it once, scoring a well-taken try on the outside, but that was their only try as they relied on four Wilson Koina penalty goals to get points. Notre Dame College’s patient and aggressive defense did indeed give up penalties, but they prevented tries.

Still, the score was only comfortable for NDC right at the end. St. Bonaventure actually led 19-14 in the second half only to give up two tries late. The final try came with time almost up. So in all fairness, this game could have gone either way.

“We were dominant in the scrum and that was a factor,” said Head Coach Hugh Johnston. “But I know Bonnies was missing some guys, two in the front row. They get those guys back I think and they will be better.”

NDC also has players back—fullback Lachie McDonald missed that first Bonnies matchup and returned to the lineup soon thereafter. So we know it certainly will be different this time around.

St. Bonaventure likes to be edgy. Photo Alex Goff

“The venue will certainly be different,” said St. Bonaventure Head Coach Tui Osborne, with a hint of a smile. “It will be a different game but NDC is always a challenge and the guys are going to be up for the challenge.”

Coming out of the last two NCR D1 playoff games, NDC looks a little more in control, but, again, looks can be deceiving. Bonnies created scoring chances, said Osborne, they just didn’t quite finish them. A 15-13 win over Brown is still a win, however.

“We showed we can create opportunities and we did that against Brown and we did that against NDC,” said Osborne. “We have played to our potential at times, but we haven’t fully explored what we can do. If we focus we can do that.”

And then, watch out. 

For Johnston and NDC, discipline remains an issue. They give up a lot of penalties, and were down a player due to a yellow card twice against Indiana. But they are also fairly clinic with the ball and patient enough to do the smart thing in playoff rugby (is this where we trot out the Aussie term “knockout footy”?). 

“The games against Siena and then Indiana were the first playoff games NDC has played since 2017,” said Johnston. “The buys did a lot of things well. The set piece was good. We need to handle their kicking game well and be smart there. And we need to be more disciplined. But we do well playing for territory. They say you can’t score without the ball; well you can’t score unless you’re in the right area of the field. We don’t mind defending for long periods and we will probably need to against a very good Bonnies side.”