Pepperdine College welcomed the USC Rugby team to their beautiful Malibu campus for a 2014 pre-season rugby match on a perfect Southern California day with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop. Rugby in paradise.
It was another tight contest between these two teams. The score was close throughout the match until USC closed the door right at the end to win 28-19 with an intercept try.
With a solid backline and a good mix of veteran and rookie forwards, the USC team started strongly, gaining good territorial kicking meters thanks to captain Joseph Krassenstein. Quick thinking Guido Scassellati zipped into the corner to open the USC scoring.
Penalties became an issue for the USC team. Early in the match, the referee awarded multiple penalties at the scrum, and again multiple penalties for ruck infringements. At one point, USC had two players sitting in the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle and repeat offside infringements at the defending try line.
Luckily only one try was conceded during the time USC was weakened.
Throughout the match, the forwards worked hard at the line-outs, secured quality ball, and showed a solid scrum that looks to become a real force. The USC backs passed well and connected multiple phases. They also showed excellent all-around skills – top notch kicking with two conversions, three penalty kicks, and long range kicking during open play that gave USC strong field position throughout the match.
For the second game of the day, the USC 2nd XV took the field for their pre-season match. Though they didn’t win, they played hard, provided great rugby viewing for the spectators, and gained valuable experience for the team.