Memphis Match Report - 3-20-10
Written by Ian McNulty   

Memphis Match Report - 3/20/10

NORFC 46 - Memphis 5

New Orleans Enters Final Stretch of Regular Season with Win Over Memphis

With playoff ambitions on the line, the New Orleans Rugby Football Club host Deep South division rivals Memphis at home on Saturday and carried the day with a strong showing throughout the match.

New Orleans kept possession for much of the first half, though a series of promising breaks ended with poor offloads or frustrating knocks. Eventually, however, the squad tightened up and a penalty against Memphis set up a hard-running try in the corner by center Ryan Andree.

Later, Andree plucked the ball from Memphis and passed to the ball down the line until it met center Casey Mackintosh, who looked dangerously isolated coming across the Memphis 22-meter line but managed to juke a few defenders and offload the ball to fullback Ross "Screech" Bellaci, who made the try untouched.

Casey Mackintosh was back in possession and made his own try a few minutes later courtesy of a neat offload from flanker Rob Hoffman. A Memphis penalty soon set up wing Andrew Quackenbos for a shot at the goal posts, which he nailed to bring up a 24-0 lead for New Orleans. Memphis soon capitalized on a New Orleans bobble and brought the ball to the home team's goal line. New Orleans put up a stout defense however and the half ended moments later.

New Orleans head coach Jerry Malina advised players to turn up the pressure as the second half opened, and the team responded. Within a minute of the restart, prop Sean Malek bulled the ball over the Memphis goal line for the try, and five minutes later fellow prop Upton dodged a defender at the end zone and offloaded to scrumhalf Joel McLain, who had been clutch on poaches all game and now made the try. Upton soon had the opportunity to register his own try, getting the ball from a ruck at the Memphis five-meter line, and he barreled it in to score.

Memphis showed grit throughout the match and their determination paid off with a bruising run at the New Orleans try line by prop Taylor Robinson, who put the visitor's first points on the board. Though Memphis would continue to threaten, New Orleans had the final word when flanker Thad David made a killer break at the 50-meter line and turned on the gas to beat a cluster of pursuing defenders for the try.

Quackenbos was good for five of eight for the day, helping bring the final score to 46-5 for New Orleans.

"Our guys came out focused, and I'm proud of the result," says Coach Malina. "These are all must-win games at this point, and the team really responded to that challenge. Now, we have to prepare for the final game of our season and hopefully earn the opportunity to show what we can do in the playoffs."

In other rugby action at the Gretna pitch, the New Orleans "Vieux Garcons" (a.k.a "Old Boys") hosted their peers with the St. Louis Bombers for a friendly but hard-fought match. In the end, New Orleans prevailed, though no one could quite recall the final score as the haze of beer foam and crawfish steam enveloped the sidelines. None could forget, however, that film actor and New Orleans advocate John Goodman made an appearance on the pitch, playing for St. Louis and scoring his first career try.

The NORFC (5-1) next hosts a rematch with Battleship of Mobile at home on the Gretna pitch on March 27 for the final regular season game of the year.

Final Score - New Orleans 46 - Memphis 5

New Orleans RFC

1) Matt Upton (c); 2) Jimmy Rehkopf; 3) Sean Malek ; 4) Jimbo Hotard; 5) Jerry Zifodya; 6) Rob Hoffman; 7) Seth Magden; 8) Chris Beacher; 9) Joel Mclain; 10) Ricky DeCastro; 11) Casey Mackintosh; 12) Eric Mackintosh; 13) Ryan Andree; 14) Andrew Quackenbos; 15) Ross Bellaci; 16) Jimmy Courtenay; 17) Tony Breaux; 18) Mike Gibbs; 19) Bogdan Negulescu; 20) Thad David; 21) Todd Fitzgerald; 22)
Brad Guarisco; 23) Joe Palermo

Tries: Andree, Bellaci, C. Mackintosh, Malek, Mclain, Upton, David

Cons: Quackenbos (4 for 7)

Pen: Quackenbos (1 for 1)

Copyright © 2010 New Orleans Rugby Football Club. All Rights Reserved.  A busbeepbeep production. Some images by Mark Steve Guillory.