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USC Men’s Rugby was featured on today’s edition of Annenberg TV News‘s Sports SCene. See what Coach Dave Lytle and team captains Haico Kaashoek and Joseph Krassenstein had to say about the Trojan rugby program, rugby in America, and what Coach Dave Lytle retiring after 29 years means for the USCRFU. Fight on!

In a tight match, USC and Fullerton played 80 minutes of exciting, enterprising rugby, and only the full time whistle ended what could have been won by either team. Fullerton won the match with a converted try at the full time 31-29.

Score

Photos from the match:

USC Rugby beats UC Irvine with 11 tries

USC Rugby vice-captain Haico Kaashock

USC Rugby vice-captain Haico Kaashoek

This Saturday USC Trojan Rugby hosted UC Irvine at USC’s McAllister Field on a hot and sunny Saturday afternoon. The game was USC’s first appearance playing at home so far this season. In front of a crowd of fans, friends, and family the Trojans started the game with dominating speed and possession.

In the first minute of the Trojan’s offensive play, Joseph Krassenstein broke through the Irvine backline for a half field run before finding Austin Giles for a quick pop that was soon offloaded to Adam Bushell for the opening try of the game.

Then Haico Kaashoek’s kicking boot took over with the conversion and two penalty kicks that followed. With the score at 13-0, Haico Kaashoek soon got the ball on the wing and was able to find a gap in the defense. After shimmy shaking through two defenders, Haico made it all the way to in front of the try-line before getting tackled. He was able to reach out to put the ball down for the second try of the game.

A similar try came minutes later when freshman speedster Justin Sheppard was able to find space in the midfield and outrun the defending full back. Only a few minutes later, Alvin Wong another standout freshman, was able to put another 5 on the board after smooth transition through the backline to find space on the wing. After a following conversion slotted by Kaashoek, the standing score was 34-0 at the 23 minute mark.

USC soon let the lead go to their heads and began with sloppy defense. After a couple passages of poor tackles and defensive rucking, UC Irvine was able to score their first try. Their powerful forward pack followed up with two more tries on the board. All were unconverted. Score was 34-15 at the 35 minute mark.

Adam Bushell

Adam Bushell

Soon after, Krassenstein got a long slanting pass from fly half Adam Bushell that allowed him to blast through the hole in the defense. Approaching the try line, Krassenstein was hit hard by Irvine’s rushing full back but was still able to put the ball down for a score. Half time score was 39-15.

UCI continued with another try in the opening play of the second half. Soon after on a sloppy backs play by UCI, Krassenstein was able to scoop up a missed pass and run it in for his second of the day. He converted his own try with an easy drop kick through. A minute later USC was able to retain possession off the kick off. Adam Bushell got a clean ball from a scrum in UC Irvine’s territory, dummy passed, and then slithered through the defensive line for his second try of the game. The score at 47 minutes was 53-20.

USC soon took over with tries coming from outside center Austin Giles and forward captain Cameron Streeter. Both were of their first tries of the season. UCI answered back with a try of their own at the 60 minute mark. It wasn’t long before USC opened the floodgates again with another try coming from rookie prop Luis Lopez who blasted his way through the tackles to score underneath the posts.

Soon after, second row Jonny Wolverton also scored his first USC try with a cheeky run down the left wing. UCI answered with one more try but it was too late, the lead was too far away. Final score 81-32.

Man of the Match was Haico Kaashoek. Special mention to front row sensation Luis Lopez who scored his rookie try.

Score

Match Photos

Video Highlights

Gordon Stewart

Gordon Stewart

In the shortened B-side game USC faced Whittier College. USC was looking at a team mostly made up of Whittier’s football team, most of who were new to rugby. USC was able to produce several passages of beautiful rugby.

After testing out their defense, a memorable chip kick from Gordon Stewart was chased down by winger Kwabana Osei-Larbi, who snatched the ball on a favorable rebound and opened the score with a beautiful try, converted by Gordon Steward. Steward later added three points to the scoreboard after Whittier was penalized for handling the ball in a ruck.

Towards the end of the first half, center Alistair Skeoch scored USC’s second try after his opposite number attempted an interception and subsequently left a wide gap in the defense. Whittier came back from the break more determined than ever. Making full use of their superior sizes and capitalizing on a few less than perfect tackles, they broke through on the wing and scored twice, reducing USC’s lead to 15-10.

Pierre Badin

Pierre Badin

Some time later, fly half Pierre Badin was able to snake his way through for a try of his own. Standout plays also came from freshman Sean Stanbridge at scrumhalf and Alistair Skeoch at center. USC was able to win with incredible defensive tackling (against a much beefier team) and with having a strong grasp game knowledge. Excellent leadership by Nicholas Ludwig, Pierre Badin, Alistair Skeoch and Gordon Stewart in the second game. USC won after 3 tries, 1 conversion, and two penalties at 23-10.

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Photos from the match:

USC Rugby traveled North along the Santa Barbara coastline to play the Santa Barbara City College Rugby Club. The beautiful Elings Park hosted the match.

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Jack Haley

The opening minutes of the match showcased enterprising rugby from both teams. USC controlled their ball possession well, and worked with good field position and territory gains. The overall defense was sound and the few times Santa Barbara broke the USC defensive line, the USC sweeper would quickly make the tackle to clean up the attack. A standout moment in the first half, Santa Barbara player dove for the try line to score, and USC Forward Jack Haley caught the player and the ball while in the air, and tackled the player backwards another 5 meters, got up and turned over the ball for a USC clearing kick into touch. Great defense Jack!

After 20 minutes of scoreless rugby, USC over committed to a ruck, and Santa Barbara cleared the ball out to their winger with an easy man overlap to run in a quick counter-attack try. The support required to hold a ruck, and the USC defense working against a big Santa Barbara backline, found themselves forced to make tackle decisions where USC were outnumbered. Sometimes a correct decision was made and USC stopped another wing attack, but two more first half Santa Barbara tries put them in a comfortable position going into the half.

Colten Elkin

Colten Elkin

USC started the second half with good momentum and possession again. Throughout the match, the USC line-out was perfect on their own throws, and competed to win 50% of the opposition line-outs. Excellent work by USC jumpers Jonny Wolverton, and today’s USC Rugby Man of the Match Colten Elkin.

USC worked hard in the second half and only gave up another two Santa Barbara tries, and USC vice-captain Haico Kaashoek scored a try in the final moments of the match to put USC on the scoreboard. Final score Santa Barbara City College 45 – USC 5.

Austin Giles taking on the backline

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Gordon Stewart

USC scrum half Gordon Stewart played well and cleared the ball from rucks and make good sweeper tackles. USC prop Luis Lopez also had many storming ball carries and tackled anyone within his sight.

Video Highlights:

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1st XV Match Photos:

Score:

2nd XV Photos:

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.

DSC_0606At 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.

Robert Semu

Robert Semu

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.

Alvin Wong

Alvin Wong

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)

Match Highlights

Photos from the match

Score

2nd XV Photos

Thanks to our friends at Adverts4Autos and Canterbury USA for supplying our 2015 training gear.

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USCD defense managed to hold back USC until captain Joey Krassenstein slotted a drop goal from just outside the 22 meter line, pushing the score to 10 and delivering on a promise to retiring Head Coach Dave Lytle to kick a drop goal in his honor.

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img3372456He’s allowed to.

Omar is also a member of the USC Boxing Team and will be fighting in Reno on Friday, February 13 – bad luck for his opponent.

Good luck to Omar and Fight on!

Fight Information:

The Eldorado Hotel and Casino in Reno

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the action starts at 7 p.m. for all events. Tickets are just $15 and are available through the Eldorado Box Office online at www.eldoradoreno.com or by calling 775-786-5700.

Photos of Omar (in black)

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