Playoff Match Report, Old White - 4-11-09
Written by Ian McNulty   

The New Orleans Rugby Football Club will advance to USA Rugby's Southern Championships in Georgia later this month thanks to Saturday's win over the Atlanta Old White Rugby Club.

The game was a do-or-die proposition for the New Orleans team, which entered playoff action after achieving its second consecutive undefeated season as Deep South division champions this spring.

Old White traveled to the Gretna pitch for the game, and from the first whistle it was clear this would be a hard-fought match between two regional rivals vying for the same playoff berth.

New Orleans set the pace early. A try from Jeff Reuther, with a conversion by Jarrett Falcon, was followed by another try in the corner from Falcon, who again converted.  Old White rallied to blunt New Orleans' momentum, however, and Atlanta's Ken Ivey pounded in a try after a prolonged assault on the New Orleans goal line. The game became a slug match until a penalty goal kicked by Falcon ended the half with New Orleans up 17 to 5.

New Orleans head coach Jerry Malina and team leaders brought the squad into focus during the halftime break, and the results were quickly manifested on the pitch once play resumed. New Orleans was successful in keeping the ball in the Atlanta half, and Falcon capitalized on two consecutive penalty goal opportunities, building a 23 to 5 lead.

Fresh players were marshaled in reserve until the second half and they immediately made an impact. Ethan Porter scored within minutes of joining the game, and another conversion by Falcon put the score at 30 to 5.

Back in Atlanta's half again, Ricky Decastro set up one of the game's highlight plays by running the ball up the sideline inside the opponent's 22-meter line and passing to Geoff Ormsby, who pulled off a behind-the-back scissors pass to one hard-charging Matt Upton, who barreled it in untouched to score between the goal posts. Decastro came full circle on the play and made the conversion, bringing the score to 37 to 5.

Porter visited the try line again, breaking several tackles to put the score at 42 to 5, which proved to be the final.

"It was a convincing win," said Coach Malina. "We all know the Southern Championships means the level of competition will rise. We'll be training hard in the next two weeks to make sure we're up to the challenge."

New Orleans will travel to the Southern Quarterfinals on April 25 and 26 in Columbus, Ga. There, the local team will compete against teams that have risen to the top of their Southern divisions for the honor of advancing to USA Rugby's Round of 16 championships in May. The New Orleans team made it to the Round of 16 last season for the first time in 36 years of rugby in the Crescent City and is focused on exceeding last year's accomplishments.

New Orleans vs. Atlanta Old White, April 11, 2009
New Orleans: 42
Old White: 5

Tries: Jeff Reuther, Jarrett Falcon, Ethan Porter (2), Matt Upton

Conversions: Falcon (3), Decastro

Penalty goals: Falcon (3 of 4)

New Orleans RFC
1) Matt Upton; 2) Tony Breaux; 3) Sean Malek; 4) Matt Oertling; 5) Michael Guarisco; 6) Joel Mclain; 7) Kevin Kern (c); 8) Chris Beacher; 9) Todd Fitzgerald; 10) Ricky DeCastro; 11) Joe Palermo; 12) Eric Macintosh ; 13) Jeff Reuther; 14) Rob Hoffman; 15) Jarrett Falcon; 16) Gregg Dinicola; 17) Chase Donaldson; 18) Bogdan Negulescu; 19) Ethan Porter; 20) Seth Magden; 21) Geoff Ormsby; 22) Joey Nieto

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