Rugby Tops Two Defending Champions to Open Season
The Jesuit Blue Jays took on defending state champion Brother Martin this weekend at the NOLA Gold Rugby stadium. Expectations were high as the Blue Jays were coming off a resounding 47-12 victory last weekend in Dallas over defending Texas state champions, the Jesuit Dallas Rangers. The Rangers were ranked 16th in the nation—as such, the Blue Jays victory reverberated across the national rugby press and propelled the Blue Jays to be named the 11 ranked team in the United States.
But questions about the Jays’ quality remained. Rugby’s national ranking body, GoffRugbyReport, rhetorically wondered whether last weekend’s result was perhaps a mirage and not a genuine testament to the Blue Jays’ class.
After the final whistle sounded on Airline Drive this past Saturday, these questions were answered as the Blue Jays reeled off their second straight defeat of a defending state champion. The team prevailed over Brother Martin 53-14.
Junior flyhalf Andrew Newel once again demonstrated a rare blend of athleticism, skill, and rugby acumen. His playmaking, goose-stepping, and crisp passing kept the Jays on the front-foot from whistle to whistle. He was assisted, as usual, by junior Matt Cashio (halfback), who continually fed the forwards with high quality service off the deck, which saw the Blue Jay forwards thunder into the Crusaders’ defensive line. Cashio also showed fine form when he executed a nifty show-and-go: after feigning a pass to his marauding forwards, Cashio kept the ball for himself and darted through the line for 30 meter try.
The Jesuit forwards showed tremendous improvement from last weekend, particularly their lineouts, which looked Swiss-made: precise, well timed, and accurate. Senior hooker Luke Giroir led the action and was an absolute marksman, hitting each of his deep throws. His counterpart, senior Ben Waguespack, was up to the task with very sticky hands, catching each of Giroir’s darts. Most improved was senior lock Sully Parent, whose body-height in contact and defensive play met Jesuit’s standard.
Finally, senior 8-man Conlon Pausina (a five-year veteran) did what he normally does: poach balls and score opportunistic pick’no’go tries. He was joined in this action by junior blind-flanker Quin Amadee, who identified and then exploited a gap in the Crusader defense to rumble and stumble for his first try as a Blue Jay.
Jesuit has a bye next week, which they will use to prepare for the Atlanta powerhouse Phoenix Rugby, who travel to New Orleans on February 12. The Jays and Phoenix will play a curtain-raiser at the NOLA Gold stadium with a 3:45 kickoff.
Fans can purchase tickets at the link: https://nolagoldrugby.showare.com/orderticketsvenue.asp?p=112. Make sure to enter the promocode RugbyDay to unlock the discount.