FT MYERS, FL (4/28/2013) Atlanta Old White are the 2013 USA Rugby South Champions.
It was not an easy task for Atlanta. With multiple injuries, Old White had 5 players playing in new positions. Key positions were Richard Shore, flyhalf, playing scrumhalf and Rob McFeaters, wing, playing flyhalf.
The first score came from Old White on a play that you will probably never see in a rugby match ever again. Richard Shore’s penalty kick attempt hit the left upright and returned straight to Shore. The stunned Naples defense was hesitant for a split second. Shore ran the ball into contact to about the five meter mark. Due to the odd play, Naples appeared confused and committed a penalty at the breakdown. The other Shore brother, Wayde, saw the defense was not set. He quick tapped and dove in for a try giving Atlanta a 7 to nothing lead.
However, Naples would respond very quickly. Naple’s back line would use kicks to try to get the ball behind the Atlanta’s defensive line. Multiple attempts were made throughout the match but this time it worked and Hammerheads were able to touch down to close the gap to 7-5.
Naples continued to play strong in the first half. With 8 minutes left in the half and deep in Atlanta’s zone, Naples scored an absolute beauty of a try with the help of awful defense by Atlanta. The Naples scrumhalf drew the defense away from a ruck and executed an inside switch completely fooling Old White’s defense as no one stayed home in the 1st channel. Giving a wide open untouched go ahead try.
Down, Atlanta was determined to cut into the lead and was awarded and penalty kick right at the half. Old White was down 10-12 at intermission. This was the first time Old White trailed at the half this season.
The lack of playing time of the 9-10 combo in their respected positions showed in the first half. However things started to change in the second 40. Atlanta came out with additional determination. For the first 15 minutes it was a heavyweight fight. A fight that would give Atlanta the lead when outside center, Ronn Omandi, mazed through the Naples defense for his 1st try of the weekend to give the lead back to Atlanta.
Old White tacked on a penalty to go on top by 8. Forcing Naples to score twice.
Naples picked up their defensive pressure in the final 10 minutes of the match. Down 12 to 20, Atlanta had the possession deep in their zone but a sloppy play at the ruck resulted in loose ball which bounced favorably toward the hammerheads. Naples cut the lead down to one.
At this point Atlanta equally increased it’s defensive pressure. Which was awarded a scrum with 2 minutes left deep in Naples zone. This is when the outcry from Naples happened. With tighthead prop(Mike Allison) down, Atlanta substituted the prop with lock, Keith Porter-Davis. Atlanta was ready to go full engagement, but the referee called for an uncontested scrum. An offside call was made when the Naple’s scrumhalf engaged Old White’s scrumhalf before the ball was out of the scrum. With that penalty, Old White went up 23 to 19.
Naples made a strong attempt to come back but committed another infraction with no time left. Atlanta kicked the ball to touch and the match was called.
This match was definitely fought hard by both sides. The difference however came from two individuals from Old White. Wayde Shore was named forward of the match for his incredible work rate and not being discouraged but motivated when Naples were targeting him in the first half. Ronn Omandi was a man among boys on defense. The Naples backline absolutely did not want the ball when Omandi was in the area. Omandi was the back of the Match.
Atlanta Old White will now have 3 weeks to prepare for the representative from the Empire Rugby Union, which is based on the northeast portion of the United States. That final is scheduled for this upcoming Sunday(5/5)
See also an article from rugbymag.com HERE!
Richard Shore — pen(3/5) con(2/2) — 13 pts
Wayde Shore — 1 try(18) — 5 pts
Ronn Omandi — 1 try(59) — 5 pts
1. Mike Akiboh —> Min Cho (60)
2. Wayde Shore
3. Mike Allison —> Keith Porter Davis (76)
4. Keith Porter-Davis —> Tom Russell (76)
5. Mark Humphries
6. Chris Carter
7. David Wagura
8. Matt Reis
9. Richard Shore
10. Rob McFeaters
11. Jaime Gasparella —> Eric Degree(65)
12. Doug Coffey —> Mike Aaron(15)
13. Ronn Omandi
14. Mike Aaron —> Andy Britt(15)
15. Brent Korsower
16. Eric Degree
17. Tom Russell
18. Andy Britt
19. Scott Flanagan
20. Scott Johnson
21. Laurent Hugonet
22. Luis Camacho
23. Min Cho