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Virginia, Maryland Warm Up Before RCTs

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Virginia, Maryland Warm Up Before RCTs

Virginia U17s find some space.

Boys HS select teams from Virginia and Maryland met last week on the campus of Mount Saint Mary's in warmup games leading up to the South Regional Cup Tournament.

Virginia, which won the U17 bracket at the 2015 RCT in Pittsburgh, was looking to maintain the team's strong tournament form from last year at the U17 level to championship form this year at the U19 level. Second, would the new Virginia U17s be able to pick up where last year's team left off.

Maryland had some work to do to handle Virginia's pace.

In the U19 game, Rugby Maryland struggled with tackling and turnovers throughout their game, and Rugby Virginia continued to punish their northern neighbors for their mistakes.  Five minutes into the first half, Virginia outside center Caleb Strum was able to touch down following a turnover and missed tackle in the midfield.  He was followed in succession by Chad Abdallah, Jack Taylor, David Decor and Jacob Estes.

At halftime, Virginia led 27-0.

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In the second half, Rugby Maryland was able to improve their ball retention and sustain multiple phase movements. This led to successive scores by flanker Kyle Wilson coming through the middle and wing DJ Quigley out wide, and it looked like Rugby Maryland might make a comeback and put the visitors under some real pressure.

However, the continued breakdowns in the midfield defense continued to plague Rugby Maryland. Virginia was able to turn up the pressure and score successive tries from wing Genesis Lucius, Caleb Strum, flanker Daniel Trump, and fullback John LaFevre. 

Virginia won 69-14.

 

The U17 match was a much more competitive affair.  Rugby Virginia came out and established an early lead, but Rugby Maryland improved their overall play in the second half to stretch Rugby Virginia’s defense and put them under pressure.

In the first half, it was all Rugby Virginia. RV was able to create turnovers and maintain possession for most of the period, and got tries from Jack McCrossin and Marquis Groomes, as they were able to go into the half with a 10-0 lead over Rugby Maryland.

In the second half, it looked like Rugby Virginia might blow this game out when the half kicked off. However Rugby Maryland was able to tie together a multi-phase movement that was rewarded by an unconverted try by hooker Max Brodie instead. Rugby Virginia answered with sustained pressure that led to tries from center Andre Golding and No. 8 Doug O’Donnell. An improving Rugby Maryland team continued to battle and pressure the visiting team, which provided opportunities that capitalized by flanker Marcos Suri and scrumhalf Ben Carroll.

Rugby Virginia was able to answer and turn up the speed for the last five minutes of the game to send wing Javon Farmer over the line.  Scrumhalf Conner McManus closed out the scoring for Rugby Virginia concluding a very entertaining half where play moved up and down the field.

Certainly the Virginia U19 team put down something of a marker going into the South RCT. Their physicality at the breakdown and ability to create turnovers gave them much of the possession and allowed them to try different moves throughout the day.  Rugby Virginia’s U17 team looks like they have also retained enough firepower to be truly dangerous as well.

Rugby Maryland U19 looks to nail down issues at the breakdown, but the good news is that they and were able to put together quality periods of time where they controlled the game against one of the top teams of the tournament. 

Maryland has to be pleased with their U17 team which answered the bell and looked very good against last year’s champions and continued to improve throughout the game.  A number of dangerous players emerged, and it is conceivable that this team could win a rematch if given the opportunity in Charlotte.  It will definitely be interesting to see how this young team gets on.