Bombers Recap
Written by Trip McCormick   

The New Orleans Rugby Club opened its traveling season this past weekend by taking a leisurely 10-hour drive to St. Louis for a an early season friendly against Bombers RFC.

It was a full day of rugby under warm but pleasant conditions for an October Saturday. The Bombers Old Boys raised the curtain in a fierce contest against an undermanned but game New Orleans Old Boy side. While the Bombers got the better of the scoreboard, New Orleans

... were by no means taken out of their game. Going back to the tight, disciplined tactics that had gotten them into scoring situations earlier in the match, St. Louis rambled their way into the New Orleans 22, where they went to a series of pick and jams that eventually resulted in a try in the corner for their big number 12. 12-5 New Orleans going at the half.

The opening of the second half saw several changes to the Bombers’ side, most significantly the appearance of a shifty playmaker at flyhalf and a line-busting outside center. While there was no real let-down in the intensity or decision making of the New Orleans side, two tries by the aforementioned center followed by a well executed territorial game by the Bombers resulted in a 19-12 victory for the hosts. The result was in question until the final whistle however, with New Orleans threatening on the Bombers’ tryline. From the final scrum, twenty meters out and facing a hard charge from the Bombers’ backline defense, Ahlmeyer chipped a perfectly weighted kick behind the St. Louis defenders. Not getting quite the hop he was anticipating, fullback Trip McCormick’s knee got to the ball before his hands could and the ball squirted through the try zone before the final whistle blew.

Against a tough, disciplined Bombers side, the bright spots for New Orleans were plentiful. The forward pack dominated in the scrums. Support on the run and at the breakdown, while always in need of improvement, was overall very good. With two exceptions, both resulting in tries, team defense and individual tackling was excellent. As for individuals, Tony Breaux took Man of the Match honors. In his first full game at hooker (having decided this season to come in from the cold of playing on the wing), Breaux hooked every New Orleans put-in and was instrumental in both tight and loose play at the breakdown. Finally-back-home-where-he-belongs Jeff Reuther set up break after break from the midfield. Geoff Ormsby, Gary Giepert and Tim Falcon, having already done their duty for the Old Boys, all came on and made an impact once they were called upon. Perhaps the most exciting bright spots, however, were three recent products of New Orleans high school rugby. Marsh Perry, in his first season out of LSU, was tasked with moving out of the front row and holding down the fort at blindside flanker against a powerful St. Louis backrow; this he did admirably, as well as putting in eighty minutes of yeoman work at the breakdown. Ricky DeCastro, also playing in his first game since graduating from LSU, was unflappable at flyhalf, transferring plenty of usable ball to the midfield and repeatedly bailing New Orleans out of jail with kick after kick downfield. Jeff Ahlmeyer, DeCastro’s former teammate at Brother Martin High School, paired wonderfully with Reuther in the centers, bringing solid defense and sound decision making to a backline on the cusp of being very, very dangerous.

All told, a great weekend of rugby was had. NORFC thanks Bombers for a hard-fought match and exquisite hospitality. NORFC A-side would also like to thank the New Orleans Old Boys for their support, their leadership, and their open bar tabs.

Next up for New Orleans is fleet-footed LSU as the main event of the Deep South Collegiate Tournament at the New Orleans Rugby Grounds.

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