Cleveland Takes Teams to School Ahead of Playoffs

The Cleveland Rugby Club defeated two college teams in successive weekends. They put up over one hundred points on Ohio University last week in Athens,OH and put together a performance against Ohio State University that netted them over 50 points this weekend.

Both matches were hard-hitting affairs where execution was the name of the game.

Against OU last week, continuity was a bit of an issue as timing was off when running offensive lines in that backs and defensive assignments were missed on a few occasions. The Club had a number of absences in that lineup at that game and a number of players were out of position during the match. On the plus side, set pieces were solid and the Club dominated the scrums and lineouts. The forwards for the Club capitalized on mistakes made by the Bobcats and stole the ball away on a number of occasions. The backs also made life difficult for their opponents, smothering the attacks by OU, for the most part, and not allowing them many chances to mount an offense.

Ohio University didn’t roll over and die, though. They made nuisances of themselves at the breakdown, turning the ball over frequently in a back-and-forth battle that lasted the full 80 minutes of the match. They also exploited players out of position and placed chip kicks over the defensive line to create tries and put points on the board.

This past weekend, the Club came to the match with a fool complement of players and subs to spare. The preparation and personnel present paid dividends against the Buckeyes as attacks were more crisp and the flow was certainly back in the offense. The ball transferred easily from one side of the field to the other and from forwards to backs, and vice versa, during open field play. The ball was held securely at the breakdown for the most part, which helped the offensive flow. The flow got disrupted a bit as the Club called upon its reserves to finish out the match. Defensive structure suffered a bit and the offense slowed as the fresh legs took the field. Fortunately, their skills were enough to protect the established lead and add on a few points to ensure they got the win. As competition gets more serious, these subs will need to play tougher if they hope to be effective against the stronger competition down the line.

While Ohio State didn’t seem to have an answer for the Club’s lineout formations, they made things more than a contest at the scrums. Though they were smaller in the forwards for the most part, OSU used superior positioning to put pressure on Cleveland’s pack. At every scrum they threatened to steal the ball from the Club and kept their ball secure for the most part. Despite some muddy conditions the scrums stayed up and safe the entire match.

The toughness of the competition facing the Club had only gone up in recent weeks, and that tend will only continue in the near future. They play host to the Detroit RFC and the West Side Mouth-Breathers before heading up north to tangle with the Tradesmen. The Club will need to take care their issues in execution, sort out their subs and cut out the penalties if they hope to have success down the road.

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Club Opens Spring Against Strong Cincy Side

The Cleveland Rugby Club fell to the Cincinnati Wolfhounds 27-10 yesterday. The Club stood toe-to-toe with the visiting team’s forwards, going hammer-and -tong at each other in crunching tackles and contested breakdowns. The home side’s backs appeared to be more than a match for their opposites, snuffing out their offense for the most part and converging on their speed merchants to eliminate their offensive strikes.

Mental errors and penalties piling up led to the Club’s downfall yesterday, though. The team fell back on old habits that led them to squandering scoring opportunities when deeply entrenched in enemy territory; and when the chips were down they let frustration get the better of them. Chirping at one another and the referee only added fuel to the frustration fire on Saturday and put the game out of reach.

The Club did have bright spots in their performance, though. The forwards more than held their own in the set pieces, standing firm in the scrums and stalling out the opposition mauls in lineouts. The back line executed plays with speed and passed with accuracy. All 15 men defended hard and never stopped playing.

Going forward, the Club’s players will look to continue to build on their conditioning and tighten up the intricacies of their play that make all the difference when the match is in the balance.

Practice goes as usual on Tuesday and Thursday as the team prepares for their annual pilgrimage to Athens, Ohio to take on Ohio University.

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Shots from the Road

The Cleveland Rugby Club traveled south to participate in Nash Bash 2015 with a measure of success. Plus sides: the Club bested the Chicago Blaze 30-24 and a good time was had by all. Down side: the Club members were stood up by the St. Louis Royals on Sunday so the trip’s competitive leg was incomplete.

All in all, everyone had a good time and stayed out of jail. Big thanks goes out to Nick Delguyd and Aaron Zone for coming down to help complete the team’s competitive and definitely social efforts.

Below are a few shots from the Club’s match and the social scene around the city.

Brandon Wolfe Makes the Tough Calls

Brandon Wolfe Makes the Tough Calls

Miles Stealing Ball from the Chicago Blaze

Miles Stealing Ball from the Chicago Blaze

Nick Musarra Doing the Tough Poaching Job on an Isolated Runner

Nick Musarra Doing the Tough Poaching Job on an Isolated Runner

 

Line-out Against Chicago Blaze

Line-out Against Chicago Blaze

Nashville... Before the Bash

Nashville… Before the Bash

Nash Bash 2015 Fields

Nash Bash 2015 Fields

Nash Bash 2015 from a Distance

Nash Bash 2015 from a Distance

Nash bash 2015 Banner

Nash bash 2015 Banner

Honky Tonk Central: Party HQ for Nash Bash 2015

Honky Tonk Central: Party HQ for Nash Bash 2015

Downtown Nashville

Downtown Nashville

 

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