In a meeting of the two defending Boys NIT champions, 2015 single-school winner Gonzaga HS defeated 2015 HS club winner Royal Irish 15-13 at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia Saturday.
Both teams are working on bringing their young backlines up to speed, and with this being the first run-out for the Royal Irish and the first non-scrimmage game for Gonzaga, it was no surprise that there were plenty of errors.
Royal Irish got a superb game from flyhalf David Hannon, younger brother of last year’s starting #10, Brian. Hannon slotted two early penalty goals to put his side up 6-0. Meanwhile, Gonzaga flyhalf Patrick Sheehy took a while to get his eye in with his kicking, missing two before he slotted a kick to halve the lead going into halftime.
In the second half, going with the wind, Royal Irish opted to kick more. But Gonzaga put their deep three back to handle it, and on one such kick Ryan Ebel started a counter-attack, drew the attention of the defense, and offloaded to wing Tyree Randolph, who sped in from 60 meters.
That put Gonzaga up 8-6, and then it was the turn of the forwards. From a penalty, Gonzaga opted to kick for touch, and from the lineout set up a maul.
It was as good a maul as you’d want, and Gonzaga drove it for about 20 meters before No. 8 Patrick Hesse went over for the try. Sheehy added the extras, and it was 15-6 Gonzaga.
Royal Irish kept at it, and produced a nice sequence that allowed Hannon to race over for a try, which he converted.
Royal Irish had one more chance to take the lead, but were held up in the tackle, and from the ensuing scrum Gonzaga controlled possession until time ran out.
Both teams had some errors in the backline, and it was, as a result, a forwards’ game for the most part.
“It was a really good, tough game,” said Gonzaga Coach Peter Baggetta. “They contested every tackle, which is something we don’t usually see. There’s a good rivalry between the two teams, and a lot of respect.”
“I thought our backline did OK, but they had some speed out wide and we needed to make some tackles out there,” said Royal Irish Coach Scott Peterson. “It was a sloppy game, and while I think we have a good forward pack, we kind of lost that battle, especially in the lineouts.”
Peterson also added that maul defense will be on the menu in the coming weeks.
But at the same time, said Peterson, “it was a good game, and we competed, and we will take away a lot of stuff we can work on.”
With two weeks of results gone we have a lot of data to work through.
And because of that, we’ve got some changes in the Boys Single-School rankings. Kahuku’s strong showing in the Snow Canyon Invitational bumps them up, as does St. Edward going 3-0 in North Carolina. Lake Travis may have lost to Westlake, but it was super-close, and so LT moves up. St. Thomas Aquinas (the one in Kansas, not the one in Florida), won the Oklahoma Showdown, and moves up heavily because of that.
New in the top 40 is Jesuit of Dallas, after beating St. Thomas, and Providence out of North Carolina. But there is a ton of rugby still to be played, with a big-time tournament in Lindenwood this weekend part of it.
|Goff Rugby Report Boys HS Single-School Rankings 2016 #4|
|1||1||Gonzaga (DC)||Defeated Royal Irish (MS1) 15-13|
|2||2||Sacramento Jesuit (Calif.)||Bt. Granite Bay (MS8), Lamorinda(MS24), Kahuku (9)|
|5||9||Kahuku (Hawaii)||Bt. United (SS2), Snow Canyon (5), Lost to Red Mt. (MS11)|
|6||11||St. Edward (Ohio)||Bt. Charlotte Catholic (18), Charlotte Tigers, Union County|
|7||6||Mira Costa (Calif.)||Bt. St. John Bosco (25)|
|9||10||La Costa Canyon (Calif.)||Defeated Torrey Pines (17)|
|11||12||Westlake (Texas)||Defeated Lake Travis (21) 12-7|
|12||21||Lake Travis (Texas)||Lost to Westlake (12)|
|13||5||Snow Canyon (Utah)||Lost to Kahuku (9), Bt. Olympus (22)|
|15||23||Wando (SC)||Undefeated, unscored upon|
|16||29||St. Thomas Aquinas (Kan.)||Won Oklahoma Showdown|
|17||15||St. Ignatius (Ohio)|
|18||17||Torrey Pines (Cailf.)||Lost to La Costa Canyon (10)|
|19||18||Cathedral Catholic (Calif.)|
|20||20||Union HS (Ore.)|
|21||14||Georgetown Prep (Md.)|
|22||19||St. Paul’s (La.)||Lost to Bayou Hurricanes (MS15)|
|24||25||St. John Bosco (Calif.)||Lost to Mira Costa (6)|
|25||28||Cumberland Valley (Pa.)||Defeated Downingtown|
|26||22||Olympus (Utah)||Lost to Snow Canyon (5), United (MS2)|
|27||26||East HS (Colo.)|
|28||27||Regis Jesuit (Colo.)|
|29||30||South Doyle (Tenn.)|
|31||32||ND de la Salette (Ill.)|
|32||24||Charlotte Catholic (NC)||Lost to St. Edward (11)|
|33||Unr||Jesuit-Dallas (Texas)||Defeated St. Thomas (34)|
|34||33||Riviera Beach MA (Fla.)||Tied Okapi|
|35||34||St. Thomas (Texas)||Bt. Strake Jesuit, Lost to Jesuit-Dallas|
|36||35||Greenville HS (SC)||Defeated Aiken|
|38||37||View Park Prep (Calif.)|
|39||Unr||Providence (NC)||Undefeated in North Carolina|
|40||38||BC High (Mass.)|