Belmont defeat Xaverian in league play debut; 2nd XV just edged
Xaverian Brothers High School
April 2, 2014
Belmont began 2014 Division 1 league play much in the same way they ended 2013, with a blistering, relentless defense and dynamic open attacking play, defeating Xaverian Brothers High School 31-7.
In absolutely perfect rugby conditions Belmont were able to move the ball quickly & freely, getting the ball into the hands of play makers and speedsters who dotted down 5 total tries in the match. While on defense, Belmont used their aggressive tackling & line speed to put the hosts under pressure often.
The first scoring of the day happened early as Paul Campbell, playing the in the flyhalf jumper, set up inside center JD Niles who darted, zipped, and smashed through the defense to put the visitors up 5-0.
Belmont kept the pressure on Xaverian despite too many penalties conceded. The choke tackle, so effectively modeled by the Irish National Team and copied by Belmont, proved to be important as Belmont slowed Xaverian ball down and turned over possession twice. The 2013 Belmont Team made the choke tackle their trademark and this year’s edition seem to be looking to outdo last year’s group. Playing the #7 jersey Bryton Lawrence was relentless off set piece and quick to get to every tackle. While on attack the senior made the gain line off every run.
Running off a line out in the opponent’s red zone brought the second try to Belmont as a perfectly executed throw & catch allowed senior blind side flanker Andrew Mosca to receive a timely pop pass from #9 Darren Chan. Mosca, a debutante to division 1 rugby, ran a strong straight line, burst through a gap and scampered 20 yards to pay dirt, putting Belmont up, with the conversion, 12-0.
Xaverian did capitalize when Belmont had lapses in concentration. Playing a stronger side than last week Belmont was challenged on attack, in the breakdown and the tackle. Those lapses led to Xaverian’s lone try which came on a clever kick and chase and a minor miss play by Belmont while scrambling back. The half ended with Xaverian looking to build off the momentum and on the board 12-7.
That score turned out to be harmless as Belmont’s defense tightened their boot straps and did not allow the Hawks to get a sniff of the try zone the rest of the match.
Belmont’s turnout this year has been unprecedented and the depth provided is also turning out to be quite the benefit. As the second frame began Belmont began rolling in their reserves. Over the next 35 minutes eight fresh pair of legs came on. The players, a mix of veterans and debutantes, helped the team shore up the defense and gave an injection of pace to the attack.
Five minutes in the 2nd half Christian Cahoon, playing in the #8 slot, darted up the sideline and moved the ball nimbly to Niles who once again used the “b” button to dart pass defenders and score his second of the day.
Xaverian would not be shunted as they kept up their attack, but fresh players means fresh shoulders and some ferocious tackles were put in Barrett Lyons & Niles which put the hosts under pressure and lead to a head’s up intercept by outside center Matt Wilk. The junior out paced the defense and scored for Belmont putting the visitors up 26-7.
The final score of the day was Niles’ hattrick as a set play lead to some clever ball movement from Chan (doing the dirty work, cleaning up sloppy ball and challenging Xaverian’s larger pack), to Campbell, to Peter Berens, to Dom Owens-Moore, to Lyons and then eventually back in the hands of Niles who put the visitors up 31-7.
As the game wound down discipline eroded slightly and concerns for Belmont are the number of penalties conceded. Aggressive defense can sometimes be risky, but the tackling and counter attack proved too much for Xaverian.
In gracious fashion Xaverian hosted Belmont for a social with snacks & drinks after the matches. Hats of for the outstanding hospitality!
Men of the Match: Darren Chan & Bryton Lawrence
Final Score: Belmont 31 (12) Xaverian Brothers 7 (7)
Tries: A. Mosca, J. Niles 3, M. Wilk
Conversions: P. Campbell 3
Cards: Niles (Yellow 62nd minute) D. Owens-Moore (Yellow 66th minute)
Tries: D. Ginnetty
Conversions: M. Rogers
In the 2nd XV match Belmont rolled in numerous players and the movement of personnel allowed the coaches to fully assess each player combination.
The halfback pairing of French import Mateo Saint-Ourens & Tennessee import Grant (doube G) Gilbert was impressive and dynamic as Saint-Ourens used his European prowess to move the ball quickly to the hard nosed running of Gilbert.
Strong experience from the back row of Rashunda Webb, Massimo Francucci & Alex Martirosyan was very useful as they made tackle after tackle, ruck after ruck, and run after run.
Webb was aggressive as always as she stood toe to toe with the best Xaverian threw at her.
Xaverian was able to capitalize off a Belmont turnover and punch in the first score going up 0-5.
Undeterred Belmont fired back with some strong tackling from the wings, but ball movement from Xaverian’s backline led to try #2 for the hosts.
Xaverian’s attack put Belmont on the back foot often and after a tremendous goal line stand Belmont conceded try #3 as the hosts went up 0-17.
But Belmont would not go quietly into that good night and a strong run by sophomore Gabe Karma set up the visitor’s only score as the ball moved to another French import Marvyn Dorchin who crashed through tacklers to score his first Belmont try. As the fans sung Le Marseille Belmont felt confident in their youth & talent. Dorchin & Saint-Ourens, freshmen, proved to have the confidence to play against an established program and sophomores like Gilbert certainly paint a bright picture for the future of Belmont RFC.
Man of the Match: Mateo Saint-Ourens & WOMAN of the Match: Rashunda Webb
Final score: Belmont 5 (0) Xaverian 17 (10)