The West U23 Local Area Union Tournament was this past weekend and it showcased the best of the best in the West Rugby Union. With only three unions participating this year, Texas Rugby Union (TRU), Eastern Rocky Rugby Football Union (ERRFU) and the Heart of America (HOA), the format was a bit different than in years past. Since this is mainly a selection venue, on Saturday all three teams played once and then on Sunday the West coaches split the teams up into motley sides. The West coaches in attendance were Angie Cranmore, Head Coach, Traci Schmitke, Fowards Coach and Wendy Young, Backs Coach.
The first match of the day on Saturday featured the hosts Texas against ERRFU. This match was very intense and incredibly close the whole 80 minutes. The ERRFU pack was incredibly mobile and Texas struggled with tackling and rucking in the beginning of the match. ERRFU was able to take advantage of this early in the match and put five points on the board. Katie Thompson, Rachel Ryan and Becca Knappe from ERRFU were unstoppable off the edge of the fringe, gaining meters on every run. During the second half the Texas backs, Kandis Ruiz, Autumn Murrill, KC Curl and Alex Davenport began to get clean ball and they showed their speed and evasive running to put 5 points on the board. Texas was able to hold ERRFU back from opening the gates and the score ended ERRFU 15 Texas 5. View the video below, or go here.
The second match of the day pitted the Heart of America vs the Eastern Rocky Rugby Football Union. ERRFU brought the most players of all the teams, so we got to see some fresh faces in this match. ERRFU scored very quickly at the beginning of the match off of a driving maul. But HOA had some great forward support and they were able to steal ERRFU ball and capitalize on it themselves. Towards the end of the first half, HOA’s inside center, Cari Squires, cherry picked a pass and 80 meters later put HOA on the board. HOA was able to put another score on the board in the second half, but ERRFU continued to score as well with three tries in the corner from Emma Parenteau to bring the final score to ERRFU 22 HOA 10. View the video below, or go here.
The last game on Saturday was voted as the match of the day by all. HOA took on Texas for a nail biter of a match. HOA got off to a quick start with two tries from Cari Squires and at half time the score was HOA 26 Texas 0. Texas finally responded at the start of the second half with big hits, runs and scores. The Texas backs were able to get fast ball often and were passing well and this resulted in several tries in a row. Not to be undone, the Texas forwards played smart in the red zone and were able to dot a few tries down as well. The final score of this match was Texas 51 HOA 26. Unfortunately the battery ran out in the camera and this game was not filmed.
Overall the weekend was a success and the level of rugby was the highest seen in the West in quite some time. With 81 girls attending, the West coaches will have a chore choosing players to bring to the Invitational only tryouts in late April or early May. After that the West coaches will need to pick the best 28 players to attend the 2010 National All Star Championships in June.