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.
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.
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.
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.