Monthly Archives: January 2006

Blogging in Support of your Favorite Rugby Player

I ran a search for mentions of rugby in blogs and found Robert Sarvis’ blog. He’s named Eagle Lee Knight as the BRPE … Best Rugby Player Ever.

Robert, here’s sending some readers your way with three cheers for supporting women’s rugby. The limerick is awesome.

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Cardinal Women Hold Off Gauchos for Rugby Invite Win

The top-ranked Stanford Women’s Rugby team hosted and won its eight-team invitational this past weekend after holding off UC-Santa Barbara in the championship final. Here’s my earlier post on the invite.

Here’s the recap with scores via Stanford:

Stanford Invitational Recap
Eight teams gathered together on Steuber Rugby Field at Stanford University this past weekend to compete in the Stanford Invitational Tournament.

Teams such as Radcliffe and James Madison University traveled cross country to join west coast power houses like UCLA, UCSB, Chico State, Cal, Oregon, and tournament hosts, Stanford University.

Saturday was a full day of rugby with two games going on simultaneously from 9 am- 4 pm. Each team was guaranteed three forty-minute games in their respective pool and then placed in playoff brackets according to their seeding.

Chico State dominated their pool, coming out undefeated and claiming the first place seed going into the playoffs. They were followed by Stanford who, with two wins and one tie, entered the playoffs as the second seed. Oregon, UCSB, and Cal, each with one loss, followed in the third, fourth, and fifth seeds respectively.

The first round of playoffs proved exciting with a big upset of #3 Oregon by #6 JMU 22-5 and #5 Cal missing the conversion to fall two points short to #4 UCSB 7-5.

These games were followed up on Sunday with the first round of semi-finals which ended with two shut outs as #5 Cal came off strong after their loss the day before beating Radcliffe 31-0 and #2 Stanford also beat JMU 33-0.

In the second round of semi-finals a bruised Oregon team battled back to beat UCLA 10-5 giving them the opportunity to play and beat Radcliffe in the 7th place game later in the afternoon.

The biggest upset of the tournament also came in this round when #1 Chico State lost to #4 UCSB 8-5 after two failed attempts to kick for points, allowing #4 UCSB to compete in the Finals. In the fifth place game Cal defended their #5 seed beating #3 Oregon 22-0, followed by the third place game where Chico State won 17-0 vs. JMU.

The finals took place at 1:30 pm on the main field with both teams fired up. Stanford came out strong from the beginning and scored 21 unanswered points before UCSB had the opportunity to kick for points finally putting them on the scoreboard.

As the game progressed the Stanford backs broke through UCSB’s defensive line three more times while USCB only managed to score one try leaving the score at 36-8 and Stanford University tournament champions. At the end of the tournament, Stanford head coach, Jonathan Griffin, thanked all the teams for coming and participating in the tournament and wished them luck on their upcoming seasons.

A trophy presentation was made by referee Bruce Carter to Stanford University along with a $200 gift voucher and a $100 gift voucher to runners-up, UCSB, from Stanford’s main sponsor, Rugby Imports. The MVPs of the tournament, voted by the coaches, were also named and received a rugby ball and medal. The forward MVP of the tournament went to UCSB’s Blair Groefsema, and for the backs, JMU’s Sarah Miller. At the end of the weekend all the teams left having learned a lot from this experience and already excited for next year.

Bracket Seedings:
Chico
Stanford
Oregon
UCSB
Cal
JMU
UCLA
Radcliffe

Final Standings:
1. Stanford
2. UCSB
3. Chico
4. JMU
5. Cal
6. Oregon
7. UCLA
8. Radcliffe

SATURDAY, JANUARY 28TH
9:00
sTANFORD VS. oREGON
26-5
rADCLIFFE VS. ucsb
14-19

10:00
cHICO VS. jAMES mADISON
13-3
ucla VS cal
5-5

11:00
sTANFORD VS. rADCLIFFE
53-5
UCSB VS OREGON
16-17

12:00
cHICO VS. ucla
19-7
JAMES MADISON VS CAL
0-12

1:00
sTANFORD VS. ucsb
12-12
rADCLIFFE VS. OREGON
7-19

2:00
cHICO VS. cAL
15-0
JAMES MADISON VS UCLA
25-7

3:00
#5 cAL VS #4 ucsb
7-5
#6 jmu VS. #3 oREGON
22-5

4:00
#1 cHICO VS #8 rADCLIFFE
66-0
#2 sTANFORD VS #7 UCLA
69-0

SUNDAY, JANUARY 29TH
8:30
l.B.-SEMI #1: CAL VS RADCLIFFE
31-0

9:30
w.b.- sEMI #1: jmu VS sTANFORD
33-0
L.B SEMI #2: OREGON VS UCLA
10-5

10:30
W.B- SEMI #2: UCSB VS CHICO
8-5

11:30
5TH PLACE GAME: CAL VS OREGON
22-0
7TH PLACE GAME: RADCLIFFE VS UCLA
25-15

12:30
3RD PLACE GAME: jmu VS cHICO
17-0

1:30
fINAL: STANFORD VS UCSB
36-8

FORWARD MVP: BLAIR GROEFSEMA (UCSB)
BACK MVP: SARAH MILLER (JMU)

Also, here are some pre-tournament details and what the team is hoping to build with this Invitational.

I originally found these results via Goff, and they were subscription only, but with a little digging, I found them free via Stanford’s site. Kind of a damn the man moment I guess …

Photo courtesy of the UCSB team via UCSB’s student paper, The Daily Nexus Online.

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Rugby Bits and Bites …

Some stories that have popped up in the past few days from around the rugby world:

Ruggers Freeze for A Reason
“It feels like you’re getting punched in the chest because it’s so cold.”

George Washington University’s men’s and women’s rugby teams did the Polar Plunge to help raise money for the Special Olympics. Some of my teammates do that too here in Wisconsin, but I will admit, I am a wuss in the cold and would need a gun to my head to jump in a lake in January in Wisconsin. I donate money though … it’s the thought that counts, right?

It’s That Time of the Year Again – Preseason Recruiting!
Here’s a couple of different stories …

• Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is starting a women’s team.

Is it right to say that these would be rocket scientist ruggers?

• Oklahoma’s PR Rugger is staying busy and promoting her team’s preseason. Evidence again that if you can write up a nice brief release, you can easily promote your team and the sport.

• The University of Illinois Chicago Women are featured in their student newspaper.

This one requires a registration, so all below.

Women’s rugby redefines ‘ladylike’
By Matt Piechalak
Published: Monday, January 30, 2006

As the spring semester began, so did conditioning for many collegiate sports with upcoming seasons. Among these teams was the rather unknown UIC Women’s Rugby Team. Yes, Illinois-Chicago has a rugby club-for men as well as women. In fact, the women’s club, which plays under USA Rugby, has been an established organization since 1993.

The team was started by a group of college students and was designed under the principles of learning self-confidence, loyalty, and strength of mind.

The women’s team plays two seasons: one in the fall and one in the spring. In the fall they play other Illinois colleges including the University of Chicago, Northwestern, Illinois State, Loyola, the University of Illinois-Urbana, Depaul, and Northern Illinois.

The season ends with the prestigious CARFU Tournament (Chicago Area Rugby Football Union). The winner of the tournament advances to play in the Midwest and receives a shot of playing nationally; in 2003 the UIC Women were the CARFU Cup Champions.

The upcoming spring season revolves mostly around tournaments including a trip to the Ohio Classic Tournament on April 29.

“During fall season, we had a lot of rookies come in, so we had a lot of teaching to do, but we’re developing really well,” said Michelle Brickley, a second year Anthropology major and team president. However, the team is still young and always looking for more players. “Even if you haven’t had any athletic experience at all, we’ll teach you everything you need to know…it’s a really fun game.

The team practices in the Physical Education Building at Roosevelt and Morgan on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Even though they’ve been conditioning for three weeks now, official practices do not begin until Tuesday, Jan. 31.

Coach Chris Harris, in his fourth year as the Women’s coach, commented on the lack of experience every year. “I’ve had only one player since I’ve been here who played in high school. At the start of each season, you’ve got a nucleus of those who know how to do it, and then you’ve got those other ones who haven’t a clue.”

For those who haven’t a clue, a game is comprised of two 40-minute halves. The major difference in rugby is that a player cannot pass the ball forward, but instead has to kick-pass it to advance up field. Fifteen players make up a team on the field-also called a “pitch.” Each player has their defined responsibility on the field, making it a diversely assembled game.

“By what size (of a person), it sort of dictates what you’re going to do…the fast sprinters are normally the backs, the strong players are normally in the forwards where they have to get the ball in,” says Coach Harris.

“I play scrum-half and winger…the scrum-half has to know where the ball is and when you play winger, you need to follow the person ahead of you and make sure you’re supporting to catch the ball if they need to pass it back to you,” explained Michelle.

Anyone interested should not hesitate to stop by one of the team’s practices. “I saw the flyer in the dorms,” Michelle admitted. She is now in her second season with the team. “I think over this season, we should be able to keep developing our new players…maybe next year win the cup again.”

The Women’s Rugby team accepts all prospects, everyone plays, and it costs only $40 to join. We’re all really friendly,” Michelle added. “If you want to meet people, come out and learn a new sport.”

The first tournament of the spring is on March 11.

So many of us complain that our sport and our teams don’t get enough attention, but you need to provide people with information to draw their attention. And just remember to paint it in a positive light …

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Women’s Six Nations Games Start This Week

We’ll get to see an idea of our competition for the upcoming Women’s Rugby World Cup as England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France and Spain battle it out in the Six Nations.

The Women’s Six Nations is running at the same time as the men’s, not that we care … 🙂

Here’s more on the games from Planet-Rugby:

Women’s Six Nations starts
Sunday January 29 2006
France determined, England hopeful
The Women’s Six nations kicks off this weekend, running concurrently with the men’s. France are the reigning champions, England the frustrated runners-up.

For the past two seasons France have frustrated England’s best-laid plans and won the Grand Slam. England would like to change that, especially in this year of Women’s World Cup which will take place in Edmonton, Canada, in August/September.

For the Six Nations Spain replace Italy and had their best year ever last year.

The final standings in 2005 were, in order, France, England, Scotland, Spain, Ireland and Wales.

In recent events England went on tour to New Zealand. They beat Samoa, who will also be at the World Cup, but lost twice to New Zealand who are the World Champions. France beat Canada twice in France. The USA came on tour and beat Scotland 13-6 and Ireland 23-5.

Read the rest of the article here (scroll down) to see previews of the first few games and the schedule …

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"The USA are a very physical, well drilled and extremely fit team who tackled our players into the ground."

That’s what England A head coach Amanda Bennett had to say after the Eagles defeated the English team, 21-8, on Sunday. Here’s the full quote from Rugby World Cup Women’s 2006:

England A head coach Amanda Bennett told rfu.com that she was pleased despite defeat. “The USA are a very physical, well drilled and extremely fit team who tackled our players into the ground.

“When we made mistakes they took advantage and we paid the price for that but I am delighted that our pack played so well against a world class forward outfit.”

In other news, Blondie is back in the office after an all-day meeting on public health and incident planning. Bloggity, bloggity, blog …

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Milestones …

I had to stop by work tonight and pick up some papers for an all-day meeting on Monday, so I thought I would check in on my little window to the rugby world.

And yes, the meeting will keep me away from a computer all day, so please except my advance apologies. I will try to post something tomorrow night, likely some follow-up on the Eagles’ win, etc. Otherwise, back again Tuesday morning.

Just a few things of note about Saturday’s A Rugby Day. We surpassed 1,000 visitors today. Thank you to everyone who has stopped by.

Additionally, this is the 200th post. I had my first post ever on Oct. 13, 2005 and have tried to post at least once daily since then, usually a few a day.

So, please keep coming back and I’ll keep posting. And don’t forget to leave a pin here if you’re a regular reader. Thanks!

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Three Games, Three Wins for Eagles

It’s a trifecta of victories for our Women’s National Team. The Eagles beat the England A team 21-8.

1-29-2006 – Women Eagles Go 3-0 With 21-8 Win Over England
Content provided by Julia Hutton and http://www.rfu.com
LONDON –Despite freezing conditions, the USA Rugby Women’s National Team was hot and made it an unblemished sweep of United Kingdom and Ireland opponents with a 21-8 win over England “A” at Imber Court here Sunday.

Combined with a 13-6 win over Scotland and 23-5 victory over Ireland, the Women Eagles dominated the tour, going 3-0 and outscoring opponents 57-14 in their Women’s Rugby World Cup year warm-up.

The United States spread the wealth with tries each from Laura Cabrera, Ellie Karvoski and Lee Knight, giving Cabrera and Karvoski each their team-leading third of the tour as Cabrera had two against Ireland and Karvoski a pair in the opener at Scotland.

Here’s the write-up from Goff (I figured out my password, yippee)…

USA Women Go 3-0 on Tour
By Alex Goff
January 29, 2006 – The USA women’s national team capped off their three-match tour of the UK with a non-cap match against England A, winning 21-8.

Paced by tries from wings Laura Cabrera and Ellie Karvoski, and with another score from scrumhalf Lee Knight, the Eagles made it three wins in three attempts, following their 13-6 win over Scotland and their 23-5 win over Ireland.

The Eagles took the lead early on with a penalty goal to make it 3-0, and that was answered some minutes later by England A’s Alice Richardson. Another Eagle penalty gave them the 6-3 lead, a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the day. USA scored off a well-executed lineout catch-and-drive to make it 11-3, and that turned out to be the halftime score.

The tries came in the second half, with the USA spreading it wide and seeing Karvoski and Cabrera touch down. England A’s Katie McLean scored in injury time to make it 21-8.

The performance also put the rest of the world on notice that the Americans are back and ready to play.

“In my opinion the USA are a top five side so this is going to be a tough clash for our team,” England A coach Amanda Bennett said before the match. “I am expecting them to be well-drilled and well organized. This should be a very competitive match and probably our toughest of the season.”

USA head coach Kathy Flores said that there we “no real surprises, but some great individual performances from Danielle Miller, Ellie Karvoski and Laura Cabrera. The England A match was a great game to end our tour on….they are a strong side that regularly plays against other national teams so the competition was heated.”

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