Rugby Opens Season with Strong Win Over Captain Shreve
Last year, Blue Jay Rugby finished state runner-up and garnered a national ranking. How do you follow up such a successful campaign? On Saturday, Jan. 14, the Jays answered with a convincing season opening win over a big Captain Shreve Gator squad, 26-5.
“Excellence in rugby is a Jesuit tradition,” said head coach Adam Massey. “We’ve won the state championship a record 10 times, and were ranked among the best high school clubs in the nation last year. Going into this season, we are nationally ranked again, and we’re working hard to match 2016’s success.”
Last season’s level of skill, intelligent play, and toughness was evidenced by six Blue Jays being named to the All State Rugby Team. And though graduation robbed this year’s team of abundant size and talent, a core group of seasoned seniors return to lead their team, including captain and High School All American Will Waguespack.
“A strong recruiting class is very important, and we have a bumper crop of new players — from freshman to seniors — who are picking up the game very quickly,” Massey said. “We are also excited that Jesuit will have an 8th grade team this year, which will compete in the inaugural ‘middle school’ rugby league.”
This weekend, the Blue Jays showed that they have the talent needed to compete. Jesuit pushed the ball deep into Gator territory early in the 1st half, but came up empty as junior Noah Tobin was knocked out of bounds at the goal line and one apparent score by senior Jack Gab was nullified by a forward pass. As the half progressed, Jesuit continued to force the action to the Gator side of the pitch. The Jays won a line out and used precise passing to free senior Nate Beech for Jays’ first try (score) of 2017. The conversion kick being wide, Jesuit led 5 to 0 at the half.
The Jays continued to move the ball as the 2nd half began, but Captain Shreve kept the Jays out of the end zone, limiting them to a missed penalty kick. The Gators would then shift momentum with a heads up play on a line out to score their first try as Claudarius Capers broke through the middle of Jesuit’s defense for the score. After the failed conversion, the score was tied 5 to 5. A momentary shift in momentum to the Gators was quickly wiped out by the Blue Jays.
Intelligent play, precise passing, and ball movement by Jesuit stretched the Gator defense leading to a try by senior Ian Fogarty off of beautiful pass by senior Case Ellis. Fogarty’s conversion kick was good for a 12-5 lead. Ellis would soon score the match’s most impressive try by out running the entire Gator defense–and the Jesuit offense–to recover his own pooch kick. With a good conversion by Fogarty the Jays led 19-5.
Sophomore Daniel Davillier and senior Patrick Brou combined for the final try of the match. Jesuit’s ability to move ball in a tight area close to the Gator goal line was rewarded with one final pass from Brou to Davillier who flashed across the goal line for a try. Tobin’s conversion kick closed out the scoring for a 26-5 Blue Jay win.
Next up Blue Jay Rugby meets the Uptown Barbarians at the Marconi Pitch on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 2 p.m. Click for the team’s 2017 roster and full schedule.