All 2005 Match Reports
Congratulations to Sean Foley, this month’s “Men’s Profile” for Rugby Magazine. Special thanks to Chris Tharp from the Truman Index for the photo from the Fall 2005 Alumni Game. Also pictured are Kevin Jones in support, with Bryan Lay closing in.
New Club Officers – 2006
President – Tim Hage
Treasurer – Tony Giubardo
Recruiting & PR – Mike Pieper
Field & Equipment – Tom Smith
Fall 2005 Playing Awards & Alumni Sponsors
Outstanding Forward – Kyle Stephens / Harry Kuan
Outstanding Back – Tony Giubardo / Scott Lay
Outstanding Rookie – Mike Fitzgerald / Tim Russo
Most Improved Player – Tim Branch / Jason Buschman
Alan Chapman Service Award – TBA / Guy Hagen
Cool, breezy and overcast – perfect rugby weather in Kirksville. Truman took on long-time rival K-State at home for their second WRFU Central League match of the fall season. Truman was clicking early and a defensive break by inside center Tony Giubardo, followed by some quick hands, saw outside center Will Holleman over for the first of eight Truman tries just 3 minutes in. The Sean Foley conversion was good, for an early 7-0 lead. K-State started slow, but they began to get going, and combined with some miscues by Truman, the game because a see-saw struggle for the next 20 min. At 24 min Giubardo was able to score off of his own defensive break; Foley converted and it was 14-0 with 25 min gone. A few minutes later, wing Dustin Ralph followed a nice series of movements to score a converted try (21-0). With 5 min to go in the first half, Foley executed one of the outstanding plays of the game. Right wing, Ralph, fielded a K-State clearing kick at the Truman 40 m near the right touch line. He passed across the field to Foley who had dropped back in coverage, who then pushed left before cutting back against the flow of defenders, and then headed to the left corner for an untouched 50 m try. The touchline conversion was short. The half ended with Truman leading 26-0.
Half-time saw discussion about more effective execution at the ruck and revising our lineout strategy. We also seemed to be a little too relaxed and it appeared that some players assumed that we could do not wrong. They were warned again that K-State is a tenacious team and they will not quit. Mike Pieper substituted for Tyler King at flanker.
The second half started with some renewed vigor. After several phases, hooker Mike Fitzgerald (arguably one of Truman’s fastest players) broke free to score a converted try under the posts; to make the score 33-0 at 44 min. At this point, K-State ramped-up their efforts, while some Truman players seemed to go to sleep. K-State used the Truman penalties to get the ball down field, and then execute lineout plays close. They scored three unconverted tries at 52, 56 and 60 min to bring the score to 33-15. K-State was invigorated and the sidelines were befuddled. With determination to regain control of the match, Giubardo scored powerful tries at 65 and 69 min; Foley conversions brought the score to 47-15. At 78 min, a break down the left side saw the ball move quickly through several players’ hands, and then to rookie replacement wing, Jim Dougherty, who cut against the grain to score his first try. The conversion was good. Full-time was blown and the final was Truman 54 – Kansas State 15.
Unfortunately, K-State traveled with only 18 players, and they were unwilling to play a second period to permit some playing time for our Truman “B” players on the day. This is too bad, as these guys deserve a chance to play. Truman has a long-standing position of always playing the second side match, and we wish other teams would as well.
Tries: Giubardo (3), Holleman, Foley, Fitzgerald, Dougherty
Conversions: Foley (7 of 8)
Penalties: Foley (0 of 1)
THANKS to Dr. and Mrs. Ralph and “Mr. G” for providing excellent burgers, those massive hot dogs, Gatorade and loads of brownies for both teams after the match.
NEXT GAME: November 5-6 – Truman’s members on the Heart of America Collegiate All-Stars travel to the University of Nebraska to play the Eastern Rockies Collegiate All-Stars, and Wayne State University.
Twenty-three of Truman’s finest returned to Kirksville for the 2005 Homecoming and Alumni match. The weather was cool and overcast, and the ground was soft from rain the night before – the conditions were perfect! The Alumni (PHOTO) are large and imposing. They talked some trash, but seemed to be relying more on their efforts to impair the Players the evening before – a plan that may have backfired on some Alumni. The Players (PHOTO) were worried about the experience and size of the Alumni. The game was very well played by both sides, with the Players gaining an advantage in open play as the game wore on. Some Alumni might suggest that the only advantage the Players had was the referee, but that will always be alleged, regardless!
The Alumni were lead by Doug Bratcher at flyhalf (yeah, you read correctly). He was decked-out in tight red “Love Squad” shorts, white knee-high socks, white soccer cleats, and a tight red t-shirt that read “RETIRED ATHLETE” . It was sad to see how years of living in California had taken one of Truman’s really great tighthead props and turned him into … well, I don’t really know want he was, but let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. You can see for your self here – see a photo of Doug.
THE GAME: The Players scored three tries in the first 20 min period, and with the “make it -take it” drop-kick conversions, none were converted. A few subs later, and the Players were able to score three more tries (with one conversion) in the second period. The “halftime score” was 32-0. We tried to include more people in the annual “rookie donut relay” but it ended up being a bust, with people preferring instead to fling powdered donuts at each other! More player rotations and substitutions began the third period, and the Players were limited to a single converted try. Headed into the fourth period, the Alumni adopted a new strategy that better utilized their size advantage – the driving and rolling maul. From the opening kick-off, the Alumni took possession at about their own 40 meter line, and maintained possession and drove all the way for a well-deserved try. It was truly an impressive display of controlled mauling. I don’t recall know who touched (or rather, fell) down for the try, but the entire forward pack deserves. Unfortunately, the Alumni may have expended too much energy, as their efforts to replicate their Herculean feat, were not as successful. On the other hand, the Players managed to score three more tries to close out the day. Perhaps the most the notable was the last one, which was scored by Evan McKinney, a senior at Kirksville High School who is in his third season playing with the Truman Team. We hope he gets into Truman next year!
Tries: Tajkowski (2), K. Stephens, (2), Giubardo (2), L. Stephens, Foley, Swingle, McKinney
Conversions: “Make it – Take it” drop goals – Tajkowski (1 of 2), Giubardo (1 of 2), Foley, Swingle
Penalties: (not during an Alumni game!!)
After the match, everyone cleaned-up and met for a nice meal at the Journal Printing Building banquet facility that was catered by the Wooden Nickel. Alumni were provided a high-quality, textured polo shirt with the new Truman logo embroidered on the chest. Alumni donations currently total $1760, not including promised donations to be made online (go to Online Donations for directions). Any Alumni who were not able to attend, but who would like to make a donation do so online, or mail their donation to Truman Rugby, in care of Bill Sexton 1409 East Meadow Lane, Kirksville, MO.
We would like to extend our most sincere thanks to all the Alumni who traveled back to Kirksville this past weekend. We appreciate the effort that this takes, and we are glad you made the trip. We also appreciate your ongoing financial contributions to the club. Your donations are an investment in the program, and make it easier for players to afford to travel and participate in Truman Rugby.
Alumni Attendees and their residence: Archie (and Seth) Thomas (Gladstone, IL), Chris (and Kara) Geisert (Liberty, MO), Walter Jones (Del Ray Beach, FL), Jerry Ashley (Lenexa, KS), Bryan Lay (St. Louis, MO), Brennan Delaney (Oregon, MO), Richard Schuessler (St. Louis, MO), Brian Wilson (Kansas City, MO), Doug Bratcher (Santa Monica, CA), Matt O’Brien (Marthasville, MO), Chris Bell (Jeff City, MO), Jason Naber (St. Paul MN), Joe Donley (O’Fallon, MO), Justin Carley (West Des Moines, IA), Ryan Worth (Stillwell, KS), Paul Askeland (Lee’s Summit, MO), Luke Walczewski (St. Louis, MO), Nick Welchert (Kirksville, MO), Matt Strickland (Crestwood, MO), Kevin Hunn (Olathe, KS), Kurt Albin (Springfield, MO), Mark Dodson (Kansas City, MO), John Brooks (Seattle, WA).
NEXT GAME: Home on Sunday, October 30 at 12:00 PM against the Kansas State University
Fall Break Trip – Jonesboro, Arkansas
October 14: Truman play well to beat Arkansas State 25-17
October 15: Truman overpowered by nationally ranked University of Tennessee 8-50
(Index Article – 10/20/2005) (American Rugby News story)
Truman traveled to Ames, IA for a match with always tough Iowa State. The weather was cool and clear – perfect for rugby. ISU are always tough at home, and they are big and physical. For Truman to compete in this game, we were going to have to tackle well, control possession, and make the most of our opportunities. The first half was a see-saw battle of scoring. Truman received a penalty in the opening minute of play, but unfortunately Sean Foley’s attempt feel just short. Two minutes later ISU slotted a penalty goal to open the scoring (0-3). Tony Giubardo crashed into the ISU mid-field defense to score under the post at 14 min, and Foley converted for the early 7-3 lead. A Foley penalty at 23 min extended our lead to 10-3, but ISU pressure and a defensive lapse at 26 min resulted in a converted ISU try – and the score was level at 10-10. Foley slotted a second penalty kick just minutes later to take a 13-10 lead. In typical fashion, ISU powered down the field and executed a penalty play to score an unconverted try, and retake the lead 13-15. With time winding down in the first half, and Truman attacking within the ISU red zone, Foley put over his third penalty goal of the half, and Truman took a slim 16-15 lead into half-time.
The second half opened with more Truman pressure, leading to three long-range penalty attempts that were all wide. Quick service from scrumhalf Pete Swingle to the blind side of a ruck, permitted center Will Holleman to pin his defender and put Sean Foley away in the left corner for the try. The long conversion from the touch line was good, and Truman had a 23-15 lead after 53 min. A short time later, after some hard banging work inside the ISU 10 meters zone, saw Swingle drive through a tackle to score between the posts. Foley converted for a 30-15 lead with 20 min to play. ISU stepped-up their pressure, changing their game plan to use their large forwards more. At 64 min, their forwards executed a nice series of rucks that drove over 40 meters, and lead to a converted try to narrow the score to 30-22. ISU continued this mode of attack, and all Truman could do was be patient and continue to make tackles and challenge for possession. It paid off during two successive attacking series, as ISU players were either poached of the ball or penalized for holding-on. Truman took the run of play to the ISU end, and continued to pressure until the final whistle. This was a physically challenging team, that required everyone on the field to stretch themselves.
Thanks to our spectators, Dr. and Mrs. Ralph who traveled from Eureka, MO and Mr. and Mrs. Tajkowski who traveled up from St. Louis. In addition, Justin Carley and Tony Sauceda were there. They appeared pleased at what they saw, especially a “little Pieper”. However, it didn’t stop them from talking about how they were going to give some lessons at the Alumni Game!!
Tries: Giubardo, Foley, Swingle
Conversions: Sean Foley (3 of 3)
Penalties: 3 of 7
NEXT GAME: Mid-term break trip – October 14 against the Arkansas State University and October 15 against the University of Tennessee in Jonesboro, AR
After last week’s disappointing performance against Missouri, the Truman players realized that they needed to improve their fitness and on-field execution if they are to achieve the performances everyone desires. We had three very good training sessions, specifically addressing continuity at the tackle and improving our rucking technique. In addition, we shifted personnel to clean-up our lineout execution and our scrummaging. The team also worked extensively on defensive patterns and improving communication on defense. Well, it seemed to help immensely and we achieved a much better performance in defeating University of Nebraska-Lincoln (there) by 37-12. The team that took the field Saturday against UNL had 8 new faces from our last game in spring 2005. Of note are four freshman who played rugby while in high school and who have stepped into positional opening; Mike Firtgerald (hooker), Pete Swingle (scrumhalf), Will Holleman (outside center) and Dustin Ralph (wing). In addition, two starters were new players who had yet to ever play a full game yet performed like veterans; Tom Jayne (lock) and Justin Lacy (flanker). Of note was the combination of Fitzgerald to Jayne in the lineouts, and the fact that we won every one of our own throw-ins! Holleman and Ralph both scored tries, while Lacy played like a man possessed (perfect flanker material!). Based on his performance, you would never suspect that Swingle was only in his second game at scrumhalf for Truman.
Captain, Sean Foley opened the scoring with penalties at 3′ and 19′ to take the early 6-0 lead. Following a nifty 1-2 loop inside the UNL 10 m zone, Foley dropped a soft pass to a crashing Holleman (his first Truman try), and the Foley conversion made the score 13-0 after 26′. At 30′ Tony Giubardo exploded through the UNL midfield defense and several tackles to go 40 meters for a converted try. Giubardo repeated this effort just six minutes later, to take the halftime score to Truman 27 – UNL 0. After halftime, UNL got the wind and the elevation, and worked hard creating pressure that resulted in a try at 63′ to bring the score to 27-5. However, minutes later Truman executed a perfect driving lineout from five meters, with Tom Tajkowski touching down to bring the score to 32-5. The near sideline conversion looked good, but was judged “wide” by the touch judge. At 37′ after a lot of sustained pressure, UNL exploited a gap for a converted try (32-12). With time winding down, Dustin Ralph burst up the far sideline at midfield and outran the defense to score a try (we didn’t know he was that fast!). The conversion was directly over the posts and disallowed. Final score: Truman 37 – UNL 12.
Tries: Giubardo (2), Holleman, Tajkowski, Ralph
Conversions: Sean Foley (3 of 5)
Penalties: 2 of 2
NEXT GAME: October 8 against the Iowa State University in Ames, IA
Truman took the field at the University of Missouri holding a winning record that had held for several years. That is no longer the case, as Mizzou exploited Truman for four converted tries in the second half. Truman responded with two converted tries, but it was too little too late. In fairness, Mizzou has been improving noticeably the last couple of meetings, with more experienced and athletic players and better coaching, and better overall performances. Mizzou entered this game with five matches under their belts so far this season, including a 3rd place finish at the Royals’ Tournament in St. Louis the week before. They were clearly more prepared for this match than Truman. The officiating was decidedly pedantic and often appeared to be one-sided, yet there is no excuse for not responding to the official and making the most of our mostly squandered opportunities. On the bright side, Truman fielded four freshman players with high school experience (Peter Swingle, Will Holleman, Dustin Ralph and Mike Fitzgerald), and a rookie second row (Tom Jayne) and a replacement flanker (Mike Pieper – Matt’s younger brother). It will take some time to gel, so we are not getting too concerned at this point. Fitness was unanimously identified by the players as a problem after the match, and there was a consensus to focus on conditioning in coming weeks.
The “B” team played with great enthusiasm, and ran and tackled hard. They were undone by more experience on the MU team, and their lack of match fitness. There is great athletic ability in this group of new players (11 of 15 were new freshman or sophomore players) and we expect them to begin to push hard for starting positions in weeks to come.
A huge thanks to Dustin Ralph’s parents and friends who turned up with a two barrels of drinks, a grill and lots of food for the players. Thanks to all the parents who made the trip to MU, and who withstood the confusion of a match that was marred by an all to frequent and often inexplicable whistle. It was good to see Chris Bell (who has a job in the real world) and Matt Pieper (who will be graduating from medical school, with fellow alumni Turk Satterly and Paul McQuillen, in June 2006). Matt was in town to see his younger brother, Mike, play … we can’t call him a “little brother” …).
Tries: Kevin Jones (2)
Conversions: Sean Foley (2 of 2)
NEXT GAME: September 24 against the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Lincoln, NE
Welcome back for Fall 2005! (Index Article – 8/21/2005)