Belmont Shore Rugby Club came to Bishop last Saturday for its first match with the Jacks and left town with a 62-12 victory.
Belmont’s win assures the Long Beach team first place in the North section of Division IV of the Southern California Rugby Football Union.
The more experienced Belmont team scored three times in the first 21 minutes of play, most of the damage inflicted by their powerful number 8 who slashed through the Jacks’ defense with tackle-breaking runs.
With the score at 0-19, the Jacks showed their first offensive initiative at the 24 minute mark when Manny Terrazas, opted to kick to his back line after Belmont’s third score. The ploy paid off as Cody Rigney fielded the kick and moved the ball to the Belmont 25-yard line.
The Jacks’ backline swarmed over the tackled Rigney who squirmed out of the ruck to prepare for another backline move. Terrazas picked the ball up and went to the weak side of the field where he was met by the Belmont winger. Terrazas passed to a well-positioned Rigney, who ran the remaining 10 yards into the Belmont goal area for his first try of the season. The conversion kick was unsuccessful but the Belmont lead was reduced to 19-5.
The visitors were able to score three more times before the intermission. At half-time, the score was 38-5.
Things didn’t improve for the home team in the second half as Belmont was able to score four more tries in the first 30 minutes.
With the score 62-5 and less than five minutes to play, the home team mounted a furious effort to score the last try of the match. The Jacks’ determination paid off when Terrazas broke from the base of a scrum and off loaded to Pomo Saulque. Saulque broke two tackles and was in the process of breaking free of a third when he saw Nate Morgenstein coming up in support. Saulque made a perfect pass to Morgenstein, who outran the remaining Belmont defense to score his third try of the year. Terrazas’ conversion kick was good and the game ended with the final score Belmont Shore 62, Eastern Sierra 12.
The Jacks, with a 6-3 league record, are alone in second place behind undefeated Belmont Shore, one of the powerhouse rugby clubs in the U.S. The home squad will get another taste of the first place team when they travel to Long Beach State University this Saturday for a rematch at 3:30 p.m.
“We will actually be the third game next Saturday,” said Jacks coach Rick Frey. “Their Division I team, ranked number one in the country, will be playing the Las Vegas Blackjacks at noon. Then their Division II team will play just before we do. Most of us will be at Long Beach State to see those upper division matches.
“It will be a good experience for our young team to see rugby as it’s played at the highest level in the U.S. Hopefully some of that good technique will rub off on our guys before we take the field for our last league match of the season.”