Salve Regina advances to national championship
GLENDALE, Colo. - (from the blog of Bernie Decker on rugbyatlas.com) Franciscan and Salve Regina did battle in the first National Small College Rugby semifinal match at Infinity Park Rugby Stadium Saturday under clear skies and in ideal temperature conditions. A vocal crowd of near 1,000 supporters enjoyed the action as the intense, workman-like schemes of the Barons of Steubenville, Ohio faced the wide-open play of the high-flying Seahawks.
Franciscan, looking sharp, got onboard first after Salve Regina was judged to have entered the loose piece from its side and fullback Tommy Allen’s penalty strike from 35 out in front of the posts was struck true and Franciscan had a 3-nil advantage in the fourth minute.
The Barons increased their lead to eight after a won lineout saw ball spun surely by halfback Matt Conahan and first center Michael Brasie popped through a gap to serve second five-eighth Isaac Archibeque whose swift transfer enabled wing Tim Knob to turn the corner, rush to goal, and touch down the match’s initial try and Franciscan increased its lead to eight by the 12th minute.
Salve Regina got one back as a slick offload by flyhalf Grant Theim enabled outside center Quinn Turner to strike space at the Barons ten meter line and race thirty meters before being brought to ground closeby goal. A sure pick from the loose by 8-man Ryan Shilalis, one head fake, a lunge-and-dot and Salve Regina had changed the numbers to 8-5 with 17 gone by.
Salve Regina captured the lead just past midpoint in the half as Shilalis got his brace, touching down from a pick-and-go close in and with the try unconverted, the Seahawks were up by two.
Franciscan’s patient, tight-channel schemes were countered by the exciting, all-out efforts of Salve Regina in the loose. Barons were pinged for not rolling away at tackle in Salve Regina’s end, and a long clearance by Theim had their lineout throw at Franciscans 10 meter line. Perfect capturer of lineout toss saw ball spun and Turner crashed inside at pace. A head fake, two swerves and a dummy later and he’d ghosted into goal for the grounding, that with Shilalis’ added deuce, put the scores at 17- 8 to Salve Regina at minute 30.
Both 8-man, Ryan Shilalis and outside center Quinn Turner proved to be dangerous men with ball in hand as they each chose well their lines to goal and following same realizing benefits with their touch downs.
Now Franciscan banged away with first channel forward smashes by their big men with meters gained counted in strides and half-strides. Salve Regina grappled at breakdown for possession which, when turned over, was slickly distributed to their talented three-quarter line. However, no further scoring in the half and the lads headed off to their midpoint chats after referee Tim Luscombe’s forty minute signal.
Salve Regina resumed its front foot play after the re-start as ball distributed rapidly had wing Robert LaRiviere-Tougas turn the corner, cross and dot for a conversion by Shilalis and it was 24-8 at minute 41.
The Seahawks got another five ticks on as loosehead prop Steve
McEnery burst through the defense to ground Salve Regina’s
final score and the numbers were 29 and 8 at the 46th minute.
Now came Franciscan. Salve Regina’s standoff took a referee-enforced ten minute breather as Luscombe showed him yellow after a late and dangerous tackle. Salve Regina was down a man.
With a won scrum eight meters from Salve Regina’s goaline, ball served weakside to inside center Michael Brasie had him cross for the score converted by Allen and the Barons had drawn to within a pair of goals at 29-15 in the 51st minute.
A yellow card issued to Salve Regina’s hooker with three-quarters of the match recorded put the Barons one man up and they used their advantage well. Conahan’s snatch from breakdown and dive over tryline for the touch down brought the Barons within nine of the lead at 29-20, and one wondered if there was a fantastic finish in the making.
But though each side battled consummately in the final twenty, there was to be no further tallies and this went into the books 29-20 to the Seahawks.
Barons: Try: Knob, Brasie, Conahan; Con: Allen; Pen: Allen
Seahawks: Try: Shilalis (2), Turner, LaRiviere-Tougas, McEnery; Con: Shilalis (2)
Match Officials: Tim Luscombe, Craig Tarr, Joe Davis