Rugby Bits & Bytes

• Women’s Six Nations results from this past weekend via the Women’s World Cup site … England beat France, Scotland defeated Ireland with three kicks (no tries?) and Wales knocked off Spain. England’s predicted to win the Six Nations.

• Looking ahead, Wales will play France to look for a 2nd-place finish, Scotland will play Spain, and Scotland’s Donna Kennedy won her 90th cap in beating Ireland. She is the world’s most capped women’s player. That is a lot of international rugby games! And England has named its roster to play Ireland.

• Also, Only Six Months to go until the Women’s World Cup!

• Via Goff (sub. required), Vassar is on tour in England and beat Exeter University.

Vassar Women Roll over Exeter
March 14, 2006 – Vassar College arrived in Exeter, England and had their first outdoor practice of the spring this week.

Neither the men nor the women had played a game since mid-November but they were keen to take on the students at Exeter University.

The driving rain and almost blizzard like cold conditions didn’t suggest that either match would be an open flowing affair. In fact as the men’s team huddled on the sidelines in their warm-ups one would have been forgiven for thinking that it was a scene from March of the Penguins. The women played first and then the Brewer men took the field to open their spring season.

Vassar College Women 24 v Exeter University Women 0
Tries: Alison Gaffney (1), Danielle Goodman-Levy (1), Sarah Griffin (1), & Ashley Lorentzen (1).
Cons: Sarah Griffin (1).

It was small wonder that the outside backs in this game didn’t die of exposure such was the cold and biting wind. Vassar had the right approach and kept the ball close to support and did not throw it wide. The Exeter team was a bit more adventurous and at times it cost them as passes were dropped or footing was poor. Exeter had two quick wingers so Vassar worked hard to deny them quality possession.

After a fairly even first 10 minutes with both sets of forwards trying to establish an edge as they ran off the fringes, Vassar’s Alison Gaffney was able to slip around the side of a ruck and run in to make it 5-0. Gaffney had a good game and varied her passing with sniping runs that made good ground and turned around the Exeter defense. Exeter came right back and moved the ball wide to the right wing. A speedy 50-yard run looked like it was going to be a try as the Exeter winger crossed the line, but at that instant Vassar right wing Chrissy Lewis slammed into her in cover defense, causing the ball to spill forward.

This huge play gave the whole Vassar squad heart and for the next 20 minutes Vassar dominated possession and ran hard at their opponents. At is the operative word as they did not hit the gaps and Exeter defended well.

Just after the half hour mark Vassar was rewarded for their territorial and ball dominance when freshman Danielle Goodman-Levy sprinted over for a score. Sarah Griffin had converted the earlier try so it was now 12-0.

Shivering almost uncontrollably at the half, the team quickly got into stride and ran better lines off the fringes in the second half. The backs too tackled well and scurried back to deal with the Exeter kicks. Exeter continually tackled hard and well and were quite adept at trying to rip the ball off the ball carrier once they were tackled low and held up. But Vassar kept pounding away and Sarah Griffin scored a lovely try, having moved to center, to make it 19-0. The question now was not could Exeter catch up but would both teams survive the brutal cold.

Ashley Lorentzen, who had come on as a sub, scored right at the end when she ran intelligently down the blind side.

Vassar improves their 2005-06 record to 10-4-0.

Next up: Wednesday March 15, 2006 Marjon/Tavistock XV at Tavistock Rugby Club.

• And in some earlier comments, the Oklahoma Roses tied New Mexico 5-5.

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