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Washington Promises to be Another Tight Battle

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Washington Promises to be Another Tight Battle

Rainier is now 2-0. Life is good.

We're just two weeks into the Rugby Washington Boys DI league, and already we've got some interesting developments.

The first development is that recently-promoted Rainier Highlanders, who won the D2 competition last year, now sit 2-0 after beating Kent 40-19.

It's been a wild early ride for the Puyallup-area team located near the base of the mountain that shares the club's name. The Highlanders' coach, Jeff Sprouse said he wasn't sure what to expect in the opening weeks, but things have gone well.

Sprouse said his team may have been D2 last year, but they are more experienced this year than a graduation-rattled Kent team. Even so, after a torrid first half that Rainier won 35-0, Kent rebounded with tenacity to win the second half 19-5. 

"We still have a lot to work on," said Sprouse. "We do a good job of keeping the ball moving forward and maintaining continuity, and our defensive structure is getting better. We just need to improve every week."

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Once again Lia Faletogo-Monis, captain Halleluiah Tiauli, and Jacob Nist showed well, Monis was the player of the game, while Tiauli was excellent at stealing ball in the rucks, and Nist 5-6 on conversions. In addition, newcomer Bitner Wilson made his first start and was a tough customer with ball in hand at center.

But it's not over, by a long shot. Chuckanut, which lost to Rainier last week on a last-second play, defeated a very tough Eastside team 31-20 Saturday. Chuckanut applied early pressure and a botched kick from behind the 22 allwed fullback Ben Broselle to race in for a try. Eastside responded with a penalty kick, but found out how quickly momentum can turn.

Eastside was on the attack, and looked to be putting Chuckanut under pressure. Instead, though, the Lions were penalized, and a long, accurate ick to touch from Chuckanut set up a lineout, and a nice break by Broselle set up another try. A third came from a turnover in the rucks and Chuckanut's forward just being a shade quicker.

Eastside rebounded a little thanks to the play of Kieran Jones, and scrumhalf Brandt Nickel continued to disrupt the Chuckanut possession. All of that resulted in three Eastside tries and a 20-17 Lions lead.

However, it was as if the Eastside pack had give all they could, and Chuckanut owned the second half. Broselle was player of the game, with Conner Pederson getting the honors for Chuckanut.

Also rebounding from a first-week loss was Budd Bay. The defending state champions lost 15-10 to Liberty last week and this week defeated Seattle 38-22. The Barbarians are big and deep in the forwards and despite graduating current AIC freshman sensation Lui Sitama, have an experienced backline.

"It's early, so our focus had been on fundamentals, and one-on-one battles," said Coach Trevor Anderson. "I'm pleased with the progress so far. The best is always yet to come with the Barbarianss. So last week's five-point loss to Liberty was a very strong outing for us, as Liberty has had more tune-up matches. It was another classic battle."

Senior fullback Uli Togiola is an all-state 7s player, big, strong, and fast, and will likely play football at Chico State next year. Co-captain and flyhalf Isia Louckes is another all-stater and he is garnering plenty of college rugby interest. Co-captain Ivan Pula is a fast, menacing flanker with a high work rate. And Anderson said the youngsters are looking good (they won their game 120-0).



So with two weeks done, Rugby Washington is as tough to call as ever.


Rugby Washington W L T PF PA PD Pts
Rainier 2 0 0 82 57 25 8
Budd Bay 1 1 0 48 37 11 4
Chuckanut 1 1 0 69 62 7 4
Liberty 1 0 0 15 10 5 4
Eastside 1 1 0 42 38 4 4
Kent 0 1 0 19 40 -21 0
Seattle 0 2 0 29 60 -31 0