The Boston Irish "Wolfhounds" upset San Mateo to win their first US Rugby
National Division I Championship.
See Photos here
June 1 : The final of the US Men's Rugby National Division I Championship
was held in perfect weather at Founders Field, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The final featured San Mateo, California looking for their third
championship in a row and the rising star of the Boston Irish Wolfhounds. In
10 short years it has reached the Final Fours of this years elite
Championship. The "Wolfhounds" as they are affectionately known made history
by being the first North East US club to ever win this prestigious national
The game started fast and furious with the Wolfhounds establishing their
authority in the forward play much to the surprise of San Mateo and the
crowd. After six minutes wing forward Ed Kos got the games first try after
some sustained Wolfhound pressure to make it 5-0. Fifteen minutes into the
first half the San Mateo conceded a penalty after some powerful forward
driving and control by the Wolfhounds. Scrum half Dave Williams took the
three points to make it 8-0 for the Wolfhounds. At this point in the game it
was all too apparent that San Mateo was having serious problems up front in
the forwards, especially in the set piece scrums. The experienced San
Mateo's pack which included a former US Eagles number 8 was driven back
repeatedly on their own put in which further charged up the Wolfhounds.
San Mateo tried to spread it out wide among their backs to counter the
pressure their forwards were under. Their decision to run two penalties in
the 20th & 23rd minutes rather than "take their 3 points" was a gamble at
best considering the pressure they were absorbing. The first penalty saw
Wolfhound captain Jason Rose make a magnificent try saving tackle to prevent
San Mateo from getting their first try. The second saw an explosive smoother
tackle by Ed Kos to stop a certain try. The Wolfhounds cleared their lines
and ran the ball up the middle of the field and were rewarded a penalty when
San Mateo tried to kill the ball, Williams coolly took the three points to
make it 11-0. San Mateo were looking to establish a game pattern but the
dominance of the Wolfhounds pack never really gave them much space. In the
30th minute and from 50 yards out John Dalton hit a huge drop goal to make
it 14-0 to finish the first half.
The second half saw San Mateo the defending Champions put some strong
rolling mauls together in an effort to get their speedy backs more involved
in the game. The Wolfhounds were on the defensive for much of the first 15
minutes of the second half. In the 17th minute San Mateo was rewarded with a
try scored by winger Josese Savali to make it 14-5 Wolfhounds. If San Mateo
scored another try after this then the game's outcome may have been
different. But consistent with their first half forward dominance the
Wolfhounds put down any gains by San Mateo. After some sustained Wolfhound
pressure by number 8 Vic Vela was denied his try just a yard shy of the line
in the 30th minute. San Mateo continued to run at the Wolfhounds but could
not penetrate their defense.
And so the final result 14-5 saw the Wolfhounds take the title in emphatic
fashion leaving no doubt as to who would hoist the Championship.
David Williams (Boston) was awarded the honor of Most Valuable Player for
the Division I Championships match.