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Name: Michael Cesar

Year: Freshman

Position: Flanker

Hometown: London, England

High School: St. Paul’s School

Major: Undecided

Most Memorable Moment Playing Rugby: Facing the Haka from a touring New Zealand School

Favorite Rugby Player: Manu Tuilagi

Favorite Post-Game Meal: McDonalds

Favorite Pre-Game Music: “Arrival to Earth” from the movie Transformers

If I were an animal, I would be: A Gorilla

Three items I would bring to a deserted island: David Attenborough to commentate on the wildlife, a Chai Tea Latte, and a Hammock

Celebrity Crush: Emma Watson

The USC Men’s Rugby Club competed in their fifth match of the season this past Saturday against Santa Barbara City College. The Trojans recognized the importance of the match as a win would secure a spot in the playoffs.

SBCC kicked off and USC took to the opening minutes with high intensity, keeping the majority of play in Vaqueros’ territory. The opening try of the match came seven minutes in as SBCC were under great pressure deep inside of their 22. The SBCC Scrum-Half threw a sloppy pass to no one that USC Fly-Half Adam Bushell was able to dive on behind the try line. The conversion was made putting the score at 7-0.

The Trojans kept the offensive pressure high over the next ten minutes as the forwards drove the ball into Vaquero territory once more. A half break that was stopped just before the try line, but Prop Luis Lopez picked the ball before the SBCC defense could reset, forcing the ball over the line for a try. The conversion was made and the score was now 14-0 nineteen minutes in.

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Momentum slowed for the Trojans as SBCC picked up the pace of their offensive game, running USC from sideline to sideline. The fast ball movement of the SBCC backs proved too difficult to handle on several occasions, allowing for several SBCC line breaks along the sideline and three unanswered tries to be scored before the close of the first half. The score at the half time whistle stood at 19-14 in favor of SBCC.

After a sturdy half time talk from the coaches the Trojans knew to be mentally prepared for a fight in the second half. The USC backs adopted a more direct style of play. Centers Joey Krassenstein and Dima Veremeenko hammered the ball across the gain line and made several line breaks down the middle of the pitch. On one occasion Veremeenko broke through the SBCC defensive line, brushing off several players before running it in for a try. The conversion was good.

The Trojans earned themselves an even greater lead when Scrum Half Jeff Cohen scored a try that was unconverted, putting the score at 26-19. Flanker Michael Cesar joined in on the action ten minutes later with a try of his own. This time the conversion was successful and at sixty minutes the score was 33-19.

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With ten minutes left the Trojans were awarded a penalty due to the SBCC ill-discipline in their own half. Bushell put another three points on the board.

At seventy-five minutes SBCC managed to get a try back to come within twelve points of USC, but were unable to form a comeback in time. Final score: 36-24. The Trojans came away with a critical victory and for the first time in years have earned a spot in the playoffs.

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The team have next weekend off and will face Grand Canyon University is Las Vegas on the 5th of March.

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Name: Oliver Dabao

Year: Freshman

Position: Hooker

Hometown: Queens, New York

High School: Xavier High School

Major: Cinematic Arts

Most Memorable Moment Playing Rugby: As a Freshman in High School, scoring my first try at the 2013 Gonzaga Jesuit Rugby Classic.

Favorite Rugby Player: Francois Pienaar

Favorite Post-Game Meal: Bacon Cheeseburger

Favorite Pre-Game Music: Kanye West

If I were an animal, I would be: A Panda

Three items I would bring to a deserted island: A George Foreman Grill, Core Power ®,  and my Camera

Celebrity Crush: Ryan Reynolds

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Name: Jack “The Magician” Haley

Year: Sophomore

Position: Flanker

Hometown: Santa Barbara

High School: San Marcos High School

Major: Communications and Law, History and Culture (Double)

Most Memorable Moment Playing Rugby: Being called “The Magician” by my teammates.

Favorite Rugby Player: Loa Milford

Favorite Post-Game Meal: Beer and Hot Wings

Favorite Pre-Game Music: ABBA/Mamma Mia Soundtrack

If I were an animal, I would be: A Bison

Three items I would bring to a deserted island: Emma Stone, a 5 star Sushi chef, and a Computer with Wifi

Celebrity Crush: Emma Stone

By Adam Bushell

The USC Men’s Rugby Club traveled south to the home field of Los Angeles Rugby Club for a “home” game against Cal State University Fullerton in week four of league play. With the expectations the coaches set for the Club, the Trojans know the importance of each match; the Fullerton game was no different. USC looked to maintain the momentum they had built from the prior week’s victory over a strong University of San Diego side.

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In the opening minutes, the majority of play kept Fullerton in their half. USC Center Joey Krassenstein positioned the team nicely from a penalty kick, allowing for a driving maul straight off the lineout. Having moved the maul steps from the try line, Club President Jonny So peeled off the side and scored his first for the team. The conversion veered wide. 5-0 to USC six minutes in.

For the next fifteen minutes, possession flipped back and forth via handling errors and turnovers in contact.Fullerton opted to keep USC in their own half by sending multiple kicks deep into Trojan territory. The back three – comprised of Mitch Suzuki, Jeff Cohen, and Connor Patenaude – dealt with several high balls and heavy pressure from an aggressive Fullerton defense.

The Trojans scored their second try when a Fullerton clearance kick went astray and Krassenstein collected, stepped through a scattered defense, and touched down in the corner. The conversion went wide again. 10-0 in favor of USC.

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Minutes before the half, USC put on an technical display of rugby when Suzuki collected a high ball and sent it through the hands of Flanker Michael Cesar and Center Dima Veremeenko to allow Krassenstein to draw the last defender and feed it straight to Winger Jeff Cohen who scored his debut try for the club. The conversion was successful and the half ended with a score of 17-0.

In the second half, Fullerton came out with much greater aggression and scored their first of the game when their backs moved the ball out wide inside USC’s 22, being stopped just before the try line. It was then picked up and driven over the line before the USC defense could reset. The conversion missed and the score was now 17-5 at 46 minutes.

The Trojans regained momentum when Krassenstein got his second of the game after Cesar fed him a perfect pass close to the touch line. The conversion was good, putting the score at 24-5.

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Moments later the Trojans found themselves deep in attacking territory and were benefactors of a Fullerton penalty. Halfback Guido Scassellati quick tapped and kicked cross-field to Patenaude, who displayed great skill in receiving the ball, avoiding the touchline, and running it in for the try. The conversion was good. 31-5 to USC.

In the closing minutes, Fullerton hammered the ball deep into Trojan territory, forcing USC to defend on their goal line. With tired bodies after 80 minutes of rugby, CSUF broke through the USC defense and got their second try of the match. Final score: 31-10.

The Trojans marked their third win of the Spring and yet another step towards an impactful season in the Gold Coast Conference. Next weekend USC goes up against Santa Barbara City College at the Santa Monica Rugby Club at 1pm.

 

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Name: Corbin Bennett

Year: Junior

Position: 8 Man

Hometown: Tustin, California

High School: Foothill High School

Major: Business

Favorite Rugby Player: Jamie Heaslip

Favorite Post-Game Meal: Chicken, Rice, Protein Shake, basically just anything with maximum gains brah..

Favorite Pre-Game Music: Christian Hip-Hop, Lecrae

If I were an animal, I would be: a Honey Badger

Three items I would bring to a deserted island: A Bible, a Surfboard, and a Knife

Celebrity Crush: Tim Tebow, Matt Barkley

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Name: Nicholas Banks

Year: Senior

Position: Prop

Hometown: Northridge, California

High School: Granada Hills Charter High School

Major: Biological Sciences

Most Memorable Moment Playing Rugby: Scrumming in general

Favorite Rugby Player: Alesana Tuilagi

Favorite Post-Game Meal: Church’s Chicken

Favorite Pre-Game Music: 100 Bars of Death – Ya Boy

If I were an animal, I would be: Kodiak Grizzly Bear

Three items I would bring to a deserted island: A Fishing Pole, Ray Bans, The Chronic

Celebrity Crush: Emily Blunt

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Name: Jeffrey Cohen

Year: Freshman

Position: Scrum Half/ Wing

Hometown: Mahopac, New York

High School: Mahopac High School

Major: Chemical Engineering

Most Memorable Moment Playing Rugby: Playing in the New York State Rugby Championships Junior and Senior year of High School

Favorite Rugby Player: Jonathan Sexton

Favorite Post-Game Meal: Penne Vodka

Favorite Pre-Game Music: Joey Basa$$ and ASAP Rocky

If I were an animal, I would be: A Wolf

Three items I would bring to a deserted island: A Machete, a Hammock, and a Fishing Pole

Celebrity Crush: Margot Robbie

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Name: Alejandro “Gonzo” Gonzalez

Year: Freshman

Position: Prop

Hometown: Temecula

High School: Great Oak

Major: Aerospace Engineering

Most Memorable Moment Playing Rugby: My first match against UNLV

Favorite Post-Game Meal: A Quality Sandwich

Favorite Pre-Game Music: Anything Rap

If I were an animal, I would be: Probably a slow one…