@GonzagaRugby Set for Italy Tour 2017

Varsity Purple Rugby lost to top ranked club team Ft. Hunt 19-12 on March 4 in a very hard fought match.  The Eagles bounced back a day later to defeat West Shore 84-7.  Also on March 5, JV Rugby and Varsity Black Rugby hosted Jesuit New Orleans on Buchanan – JV won 41-12 while V Black fell 29-14.

The program will make its annual Spring Break trip this week — this year’s destination is Italy!

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Go Gonzaga!

Here is a story by Goff Rugby Report on the tough loss to Ft. Hunt:

Fort Hunt, the #1-ranked HS club, defeated the #3 single-school team Gonzaga Saturday in a tense, physical game.

The run of play mostly favored Gonzaga, but Fort Hunt got two crucial early tries, held on desperately in defense despite two yellow cards, and won 19-12.

In the opening minutes Fort Hunt pressured Gonzaga in the Eagles’ 22. Fort Hunt got a penalty and scrumhalf and captain, Conor McManus, passed up a kick at goal to take a scrum. Few teams actually choose to scrummage against Gonzaga, but Fort Hunt won the put-in, and No. 8 Daniel Trump picked up and powered over.

That was good for a 7-0 lead. Moments later, Fort Hunt once again pressured Gonzaga, got a penalty, and opted for the scrum. And once again Trump picked up and scored. Ten minutes gone, Fort Hunt led 14-0.

But after that Gonzaga took control. Fort Hunt knocked on the ensuing restart and spent most of the remainder of the stuck in their own end. Gonzaga’s forwards pummeled the Fort Hunt defense, but the Warriors’ pack held up fairly well. Despite this, Gonzaga did score twice, with Calder Jones scampering over from close range, and flyhalf Owen Sheehy scoring on a quick-tap. Unfortunately for Gonzaga, Sheehy would leave the game injured, and that hurt them.

The teams changed ends with Fort Hunt lead 14-12, and remained on a knife edge for much of the second period.

“Our guys played epic defense in the second half,” said Fort Hunt Head Coach Dale Roach. “They just battled.”

Late in the game McManus popped a box kick that rolled and rolled deep into Gonzaga territory. Gonzaga recovered and tried to box kick out of trouble. But big lock Leo Clifford stretched out and blocked the kick, and flanker Gabe Rudasill chased it down to score.

“That gave us some breathing room,” said Roach. “Not much, but some. It was an epic battle.”

That was it. Fort Hunt held on. Gonzaga Head Coach Peter Baggetta said his team would rue some prime scoring opportunities They missed two very makable penalty kicked, and lost the ball at crucial moments. While they might have felt they played more of the rugby with the ball in hand, “we have to take care of the ball, and we didn’t.”

It was a huge learning experience for a Gonzaga team that still has some work to do. For Fort Hunt, it was perhaps not the prettiest win, but it was a win. Their midfield played strong in defense and prop Sean Dowling was a monster in the set piece, in the breakdown, on defense, and leading as the captain.

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