The Mira Costa Ruggers hit the road for a rematch of last year’s Semi-final game as they took on the Saint Augustine Saints in San Diego. The Costa boys were completely out-sized. The Mustang forwards weigh on average about 155 pounds while the Saints forwards were easily 130+ pounds heavier. So with the size disadvantage the Saints game plan was simple…keep the ball in the forward pack and just pound on the boys from Costa.
The Saints got on board early as Costa had difficulty handling the opening kick which put them in a difficult position backed up in their own end. The Saints’ forwards immediately went to work as they secured a ruck and took forward drive after forward drive. However, the diminutive Mustangs not only absorbed the repeated poundings but they also managed numerous times to stop them at the Try Line. Nevertheless, the Saints found paydirt. The Mustangs had an opportunity to score as the Saints committed a penalty at about the 24 meter line. Unfortunately the kick flew just under the crossbar.
St. A. managed to put up two more scores to drive the score to 19-0, however, with 8 minutes to go in the half the Mustangs responded with one of the most beautiful Trys in Costa history. Off a scrum at mid field Fly-half Captain Evan Anderson found himself under immediate pressure. He alertly planted his foot and drove up field where he alertly offloaded to Outside Center Slade Gordon who broke the defensive line. Gordon then made a beautiful offload to Inside Center Reed Vabrey. Vabrey drove another 15 meters where he found Fullback (and Man of the Match) Giuseppe Meola who was running at full pace at about the 20 meter line with one man to beat. Fortunately for Meola, Winger John Darcy was sprinting to his outside in support. Meola made a beautiful dummy and grounded the ball for the score. The Try was a spectacular play which ended the half 5-19 and kept Costa in the game.
Unfortunately for the Mustangs, the second half is not kind to them as the lack of numbers catch up to them. The Saints have 72 players in their program-most of which transition from football to rugby and back. The Costa Rugby program only has 29 athletes with very few footballers. The lack of numbers really puts the Mustangs at a disadvantage as the opposition substitutes fresh legs for the final 35 minutes. The result was another lopsided loss…this one 57-5. Despite the score differential the Mustangs are full of fight and have a great opportunity to improve on their performance. Next week Costa travels to take on the Fallbrook Warriors.