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This past weekend, USC Rugby had the pleasure of holding a match against the Sydney University Football Club who has been on a tour of the West Coast. This was a great opportunity for our boys to learn from players who live and breathe the sport. The day started with the viewing of the Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and Australia; the passion expressed by the SUFC players, several of whom are on track to play for the Wallabies, made the occasion a tense affair.

Following Australia’s loss to the All Blacks, the SUFC boys had no mercy when they stepped on the field to play USC. However, despite a score-line that suggested an overly lopsided matchup, there was much to be learned from playing a far superior opposition. The way SUFC moved the ball, the way they always attacked on the front foot, the way every breakdown was met with pure might, are the ways in which USC Rugby must learn to approach the game. It was a true spectacle that we in the United States are not exposed to enough. For the game to grow here, we must welcome more teams like the Sydney University Football Club with open arms, even if it means playing against a far superior opposition.

After 40 minutes of play, a number of players from both teams swapped jerseys and played another 40 minutes for the opposing team. The USC players could now compete alongside the talent that had opposed them the half before. In the true spirit of rugby, the day ended on a positive note.

Thank you, SUFC, for helping to grow the sport in the US and for giving us a good day of rugby.

Photos from the match:

Lock Rohan Martin stretches to secure the ball

Lock Rohan Martin stretches to secure the ball

– written by Public Relations Chair Adam Bushell

USC traveled down the peninsula to take on UC Santa Barbara at the picturesque Palos Verdes High School.  With no 7’s commitments this weekend, the Trojans had their full complement of players available for the first time this Fall season.

UCSB plays in Division 1-A, which is a division higher than USC, so the Trojans understood the challenge before them.  Out of the gate, the Gauchos put the Trojans under pressure by dominating possession inside the USC half. However, a turn of events returned possession to USC and allowed for fly-half Adam Bushell to supply a grub kick through to inside center Joey Krassenstein. A fortunate bounce placed the ball into Krassenstein’s hands and it was try time Trojans. Off the restart, UCSB again pounded into USC’s territory and came inches from the try line, but was denied points by a supreme goal line stand by the Trojans over several phases of play.

Back with possession, USC took the ball into the opposite half and the test of goal line defense was now on UCSB. After a number of phases, hooker Michael Cesar pummeled over the line to score USC’s second and the convert made it 14-0. UCSB managed to nudge a penalty kick over for three, finishing the half with the score 14-3.  The second half saw the forwards dominating the play once more, holding off the Gauchos from scoring for the entirety of the half. A penalty kick was scored by USC early on. Cesar once again proved too much for UCSB to handle as he rolled another one over the line following a long drive by the forward pack. The final try of the day was scored when Krassenstein exploited an opening off of a quick-tapped penalty. Dancing around two UCSB players and brushing off another, Krassentein’s individual effort was awarded with his second try of the game. All tries converted, the final score equated to 31-3, marking a dominant win for the Trojans. The forward pack had been rock solid in all aspects of the game and were responsible for the score difference between the two teams.

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Coach Loa Milford commented on the performance, “I thought we were solid in defense, though I’d like to see us apply more pressure in the opposition backline. We need to continue to work on our attack and patterns of play. I thought it was a solid performance but we still have a long way to go.  UCSB blooded over 20 rugby neophytes so the final favored us a bit.”

In the 2nd XV’s match, USC showed some resilience and came away with a victory as well. Tries went to Nick Ludwig, Oliver Dabao, Robert Sieh, Gordon Stewart, making the final score 25-17.  Ludwig’s intercept try at full-time sealed the deal for the men of Troy.

Match Photos:

Shout out to our team sponsor RockTape for helping us go stronger for longer.

Shout out to our team sponsor RockTape for helping us go stronger for longer.

Congratulations to Head Coach Loa Milford and his first win as USC XV's also had a successful tour to UNLV winning 24-21 ‪#‎usctrojanrugby‬ ‪#‎winnerscircle‬

Congratulations to Head Coach Loa Milford and his first win as USC XV’s also had a successful tour to UNLV winning 24-21 ‪#‎usctrojanrugby‬ ‪#‎winnerscircle‬

This weekend, the USC XV’s team traveled to Sin City to take on a strong UNLV side for their pre-season opener.

Both sides were extremely evenly matched, with USC narrowly winning 24-21. UNLV opened the scoring in the first, but the Trojans shook off the off-season rust and retaliated with a physical offense and a tightened defense.

With 5 minutes left to go, Trojans were down 17-21. Fly-half Pierre Badin was able to break through the defense with a perfectly-timed sidestep and put the ball down for a try and make the conversion, putting the Trojans up by 3.

USC was able to hold off the aggressive UNLV defense and slow the game down to come away with the victory. Special mention must be given to the USC forward pack, which despite being outsized and having two starting players injured early in the game, managed to put on a fantastically physical display. The pack was dominant at the scrums and lineouts, not only winning their own set-pieces but also a significant amount of the opposition’s.

Additionally, the forward were able to out-grind the defense, consistently breaking the gain-line with tight carries. The backs must also be applauded for a strong and energized defense, despite also being significantly outsized.

Rookie front-row Eugene Lee was given Man of the Match honors after scoring two tries on debut. USC XV’s looks to build its pre-season winning streak against a strong UCSB side this weekend (Oct. 17)

Congratulations to Head Coach Loa Milford and his first win as USC XV's also had a successful tour to UNLV winning 24-21 ‪#‎usctrojanrugby‬ ‪#‎winnerscircle‬

Congratulations to Head Coach Loa Milford and his first win as USC XV’s also had a successful tour to UNLV winning 24-21 ‪#‎usctrojanrugby‬ ‪#‎winnerscircle‬

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