Bayonne Match Report - 5-23-10
Written by Ian McNulty   

Bayonne Match Report - 5/23/10

NORFC 53 - Bayonne 12

New Orleans Wraps Season with Dominant Victory at Round of 16

Following a stinging loss in the first match of the Round of 16, the New Orleans Rugby Football Club (NORFC) took the pitch today in Columbia, S.C. against the Bayonne Rugby Football Club of New Jersey with a sharp chip weighing on its shoulder and the determination to end the season on its own terms. With grit and cohesion, the whole squad came together for an impressive, high-scoring victory in this last game of the 2010 season and achieve a club milestone as NORFC’s first-ever win at this level of national championships competition.

“After a tough loss we felt we let go yesterday, the guys did the right thing and took care of themselves to prepare for today,” says New Orleans head coach Jerry Malina. “The forwards demonstrated the dominance they’ve shown all season long, building a platform for the backs to click together and really put some electrifying plays together. This was a fitting end to our season and I’m very proud of this team.”

It was a win built on solid execution of the fundamentals – overwhelming strength in the scrum, good hits, tenacious ball retention on offense and persistent poaching on defense, smart kicks and keeping heads cool enough to contain errors and play clean. The scoring started about 15 minutes into the game when flanker Ryan Fitzgerald picked up the ball from a mid-field scrum, made a break and passed to center Jeff Reuther who advanced toward the try line. Fitzgerald was then there to get the ball back from Reuther in contact and make the try. Wing Andrew Quackenbos was good on his first conversion. Minutes later, eight man Seth Magden stole the ball from a Bayonne line-out, and out it went to a succession of backs before Quackenbos scored the try near the touchline. Soon with the ball again, prop Matt Upton found a gap and ran to the verge of the Bayonne try line before the play was blown up. A Bayonne scrum ensued, which New Orleans pushed over the line against the head. The ball came loose as the Bayonne pack was forced back, and Fitzgerald pounced to score the try. Quackenbos was again good, and the New Orleans team found itself with a 19-0 lead.

There was a short break in play as a minor injury was handled on the pitch, but the team was soon back at pace. Flanker Tom Sicola raced the ball up from the New Orleans 40-meter line and made a chip-ahead kick at mid-field, caught up with the ball and followed that with something resembling a soccer dribble to put it in the try zone before diving on it to score. The backs then shortly had another chance to show their speed and teamwork as center Thad David jetted the ball up to the five-meter line and, despite being horse-collared by a Bayonne defender and flung out of bounds, managed to keep the ball in play. Wing Casey Mackintosh immediately wrangled the ball and sent it out to center Rob Hoffman who passed it to Reuther who put the ball in the hands of wing David Buckingham inside the try zone so he could score between the uprights. Another Quackenbos conversion brought the score to 31-0 at the half.

Confident at the restart, the second half began for New Orleans in much the same pattern as the first. Quackenbos added a penalty goal early on, but soon Bayonne proved it was far from done playing this game. Their center evaded and broke several tackles to score near the goal posts and with a successful conversion the New Jersey team was in the game. But when New Orleans found its rhythm again the tries came together with a vengeance. Buckingham threaded the pitch, evdading contact and breaking tackles, drawing in many defenders before the ball made it through hands to second row Chris Beacher who streaked into the try zone. Fresh reserve Brad Guarisco at wing caught a pass from Reuther, hit a gap and scored within minutes of taking the field. Guarisco shortly paid a second visit to the Bayonne try zone on the receiving end of a beautiful succession of passes by way of Reuther and Quackenbos.

Bayonne had the last word of the day, scoring on a zigzag run. But it came too late to change the outcome of the game, which soon ended 53-12.

The win caps another successful season for the NORFC, which was 6-1 in the regular season and 3-2 in the post season for 2010. The team’s regular season success has built a 19-1-1 record over the past three seasons and earned New Orleans the title of Deep South champion for three consecutive years. Today’s win also marks the club’s first-ever victory at the Round of 16 level, an achievement the team hopes to surpass in the future.

Final Score - New Orleans 53 - Bayonne 12

New Orleans RFC

1) Matt Upton (c); 2) Adam Massey; 3) Sean Malek ; 4) Chris Beacher; 5) Jerry Zifodya; 6) Ryan Fitzgerald; 7) Tom Sicola; 8) Seth Magden; 9) Joel Mclain; 10) Jeff Reuther; 11) Casey Mackintosh; 12) Rob Hoffman; 13) Thad David; 14) Andrew Quackenbos; 15) Ross Bellaci; 16) Michael Gibbs; 17) Jimmy Courtenay; 18) Jimmy Rehkopf; 19) Bogdan Negulescu; 20) Ricky Decastro; 21) Brad Guarisco; 22) David Buckingham
; 23) Jim Hotard

Tries (8): Ryan Fitzgerald (2), Quackenbos, Sicola, Buckingham, Beacher, Guarisco (2)

Cons (5): Quackenbos (5  for 7), Bellaci (0 for 1)

Pens (1): Quackenbos (1  for 2)

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