Eastside Rugby RFC

Match Reports

As some of you may know, I'm the head coach of Eastside Rugby RFC. I will be using this space to post match reports and scores from the most recent game. This page will be updated after each match so feel free to come here for latest match news from your favorite rugby team in the PNW!

4/19/2022, Eastside vs Kitsap

It was a brisk day in April, 9 degrees and cloudy with light drizzles at Marymoor Park in Redmond. Eastside RFC was coached by Ryan Rogel, Kitsap was coached by Ollie, Pierre Nel was officiating. Kitsap kicked to start the match at 13:15, with Eastside running into the wind.

Eastside came out dominant in the first half with a solid game plan and good discipline. Eastside had the lead midway through the first, but mental breakdowns had them forgetting the game plan and falling apart around the rucks after about 15 minutes. Support was nowhere to be seen and ball carriers were not controlling the point of contact, losing posession due to poor placement or complete lack thereof. Jesse went down with a broken fibula around 29 minutes, replaced by Bobby, and Miles twisted his ankle with about 2 minutes to go in the half, but was able to continue. Complete mental absence and terrible clock management in the final minutes had the boys running for around 5-7 minutes after 40 minutes had expired. The half ended with a Kitsap score that never should have been had the boys kicked the ball into touch during any of their many possession in extra time. Kitsap led at half, 17-15.

At half time, the coach reiterated the game plan, stressing slow tempo, support in offense, and proper ball placement after going to ground. Oz taped up Miles' ankle, who was able to play the final 40 on a sprained ankle. Minor adjustments were made to the Eastside penalty plays, and the team talked about how to reduce the penalty count, as 13 penalties in the first half cost us 130 meters and an easy score.

Going into the second half, the boys played much tighter and deliberate, adhering to the initial game plan and managing the tempo to their play style. Unfortunately, injuries and lack of depth had players playing out of position, so the game was much closer than it should have been. Eastside rallied and put up the points needed to get the lead but Petisi's hot temper got him ejected on a red card 25 minutes into the second half. Playing a man down only added to the chips stacked against the team, and at the 20 minute water break the boys were down 10.

During the break, the coach told them that if they wanted to win, the experienced players were going to have to buckle down and make up for inexperience, men playing out of position, injuries, and only 14 men on the field. They were going to have to play 20 minutes of determined, focused, disciplined rugby, and they were going to have to put up enough points to overcome a 10 point defecit. After the break, the boys took the field a completely different team.

For the next 20 minutes, they played like they did in the first 15. Offensive support; Smart and quick counter-rucking; tight defense; Hard runs and broken tackles; Smart passes; Dummys when the pass wasn't there; A held up try; Rookies making tackles and holding rucks; Good ball placement and quick recycling. It was a completely different team, and the scoreboard showed it.

With only two minutes left, the score was tied and Eastside was attacking inside the 22. Since the water break, the boys had scored 15, Kitsap had scored 5. The crowd was going wild, and boys were running hard. After several phases, Derek ran it in hard for the try just left of the posts, but it was held up. A Kitsap player stayed down giving the boys time to regroup and discuss what they would do next. Kitsap's drop out sent the ball outside the 22, which was immediately recovered and the counter attack began. The crowd were on their feet as Eastside attacked relentlessly, but Kitsap held strong, keeping Eastside approximately 20 meters from glory. About a minute into extra time, the whistle blew all eyes fell on the ref. It was a penalty on Kitsap about 20m out and 5m left of the posts. The coach couldn't believe it as he realized that was the exact spot where Stevie had taken about 80% of his pregame warm up kicks. As Stevie approached the mark with the ball in hand looking to kick for touch, the coach yelled to from the sideline, "Go for points, if you score this we win!" Stevie looked up at the posts, and with little hesitation he looked at the ref and pointed to the posts.

Stevie took his time placing the ball on the tee, and lining it up. As if it were destiny, the clouds broke, the sun came out, and the wind fell silent. Stevie's kick split the uprights and the ref blew the final whistle, Eastside victorious 37-34. Eastside had won against injury, red cards, and everything else that had been thrown at them, ending the spring season 0.600!

Eastside showed great composure in the face of adversity, and came out victorious, but there are some very important lessons we must take away from this victory:

1. Discipline wins games. It trumps inexperience, yellow cards, point defecits, and anything else the ref can throw at you.

2. Recruitment of new players is going to be crucial in the coming seasons. Depth really hurt us here. If we had Logan and Sam going into this game, the score would have been 60-0 by the end of the first half.

3. We need reliable kicking. 4 missed conversions is a lot of missed opportunities. It made for an exciting ending, but the score should have been 45-34, not 37-34.

Coach's Top Performers:

Joe Barrington-Richards: 17 broken tackles on 19 carries, 9 passes + 1 offload, and 1 big hit

Simon Burke: 10 broken tackles on 12 runs, 1 try assist, 5 solo tackles

Thomas Wimberly: 20 carries, 1 broken tackle, 6 passes + 2 offloads

Coach's pick for MoM:

Derek Riffe: Derek's experience carried the team on the day. 13 carries, 1 pass, 2 offloads, 4 broken tackles, 7 tackles, 3 forced turnovers, and no errors. He almost had a try to win the game that was held up (according to the ref). Derek was everywhere on the field: in support on offense, stealing the ball on defense, leading the charge in penalty plays, and offloading out of contact to put others into space. He is the clear and obvious choice for man of the match.