Round two of the Gold Coast Rugby Conference placed USC against visiting USD, with the teams facing off at a rugby pitch in Santa Monica.
At the opening whistle, though USD came out of the gates quickly and efficiently, USC countered with equal pressure and started moving the USD defense backwards. However, throughout the first half, USC ball handling and control at the ruck lacked focus, and players started turning the possession over to USD. With USC mistakes at the ruck, dropped passes, kicking away possession, and missed tackles opened up easy USD pathways to start the scoring. USD quickly put 26 points on the board without any USC interruptions.
USC started to build good phases of continuity in the first half and put pressure on the USD tryline, but with ball handling mistakes and some poor decision making, USC wasn’t able to cross the line to score.
After the break, and with a few tactical and injury replacements, USC fired up for the second half and improved their team play. This time, the pressure USC built moving down the field was converted into points with a nice gliding try by USC Rugby outside center Nick Ludwig scoring in the corner. After finally breaking the tryline, USC re-energized with more open and forward moving play. It wasn’t long until USC rookie Alvin Wong scored his first USC try by busting down the left wing. USC vice captain Haico Kaashoek kicked a nice conversion from out wide and into the breeze to bring the score board closer.
All the momentum shifted to USC in the second half, and now it was a race against the clock to get back into the game. USC kept attacking the USD defense but just couldn’t find another way through, until Robert Semu burst through a gap and sprinted 70 meters for the final score of the match. But it was not enough to catch USD. Final score USC 19 – USD 33.
It was a tough loss for USC Rugby, knowing this was a match that could have been won with better decision making and better handling.
Standout performance from Alvin Wong earned him the Man of the Match. Not only did Alvin score his first try for USC Rugby, his position play on the left wing was excellent, and he stopped some charging USD players without giving up an inch of territory – he tackled like a brick wall.
Congratulations also to Nick Banks for another strong performance in the scrum and ball running. Nick always moves forward with determination and force and puts a lot of pressure on the defense to make good tackles.
USC 19 (Nick Ludwig try, Alvin Wong try, Robert Semu try, Haico Kaashoek 2 con)
USD 33 (Team 5 tries, 4 con)