The USC Rugby team traveled East to visit the Claremont Colleges on a perfect November rugby day in Southern California. Both teams agreed to allow unlimited substitutions and to play safe rugby. The spectators were treated to an entertaining and well played match.
The game started with USC gaining possession and working quickly and efficiently as a team. USC drove the ball into the Claremont end of the pitch, applying consistent pressure with attacking back line runs and probing forwards’ drives. After the opening 15 minutes of play, USC had run in three tries. Rookie Andreo Coury scored a try as a starter on the wing, along with gliding tries by fly-half Adam Bushell and captain Joey Krassenstein. The USC forwards standouts included Sam Bowers and Jonny Wolverton, who were both tireless and productive with every opportunity on the pitch.
Many players were rotated into different positions, and near the end of the first half, the oval rugby ball started bouncing against USC. Several darting line-breaks by the well drilled Claremont team got through the USC defense, and the score got much closer. USC continued with another try for Joey Krassentein, and rookie Justin Sheppard ran a fast winger try into the corner.
The second half started with both teams rotating many 1st XV players back into the match. With both teams making positive adjustments to their strategy, lineup and energy, the score remained locked. It wasn’t until the final 10 minutes of play when USC gained some needed possession and passed along the back line to rookie Kwabz Osei-Larbi, who scored in the corner. Moments later, the other USC wing, rookie Justin Sheppard, attacked with equal force and scored the door-closer with only minutes remaining in the match. USC continued to defend and tackled out the time to win, 35-25.
Both teams provided a good day of rugby and an entertaining match. Congratulations to the USC Man of the Match Justin Sheppard with two wing tries. Special mention to USC co-captain Haico Kaashoek for his attacking runs and great passing.
Joey Kranssenstein 2
Justin Sheppard 2
Adam Bushell 1
Andreo Coury 1
Kwabz Osei-Larbi 1