Grads June 3

Regina Men’s Rugby:

Grads vs. Highlanders
Monday Morning Report… Sort of. I composed this in my head yesterday…

Anyway, as you probably know by now the HRFC started the season with a tough loss to a very strong Grads side. They were able to capitalize on a couple of missed tackles, and showed some of their trademark passing skills to take advantage of a large playing field. The Highlanders showed great promise for the season, with solid scrums and the beginnings of a decent line out – with their Kick-Offs once again proving very strong.

The team will definitely be working on back-line defence and individual tackling this week as they prepare for the Condors on Friday. The Condors are riding the high of a stellar win against the Rogues (29-28) – breaking a nearly two year winless streak. The relatively young Condors have had a few building seasons and now have a great base for what is sure to be a strong season for them.

The Grads showed a couple of familiar faces and some new ones in their 27-17 win over the HRFC, including former Roughrider Stu Ford, who strapped up for the final quarter of the game to test his legs. Peni Lutu also put on the boots, and Casey Leonard made an early season appearance. The speed and hands of the Grads was on display early and often, but the Highlanders still managed to control much of the close game. The Grads quick-lineouts were contained – they usually manage to squeak out at least some great field position or a try in the early games with the quick line outs.

The Grads scored first at the 3:00 mark, slipping around the outside and scoring in the corner, which proved outside of their kickers range. They got a second tally five minutes later around the same corner, forcing Coach Perkins to consider making a substitution early. Justin Kendrick was forced off the field with a dislocated shoulder, bringing Jarek Roteliuk in at the 11 minute mark.

Jarek made an immediate impact around the pitch, but the Grads were able to find paydirt around the far corner one more time, prompting a substitution for the Rookie, Jayden Hansen, who put in a solid 20 minutes on offence but identified some work to be put in on Defence. Nathan Sgrazutti replaced him, squaring off against his former men’s club. Sgraz returns to the Highlanders program, having graduated from Winston Knoll several years ago, and then putting in some time with the Grads before moving to Calgary. He’s back in the city and decided to put his rugby skills to work for the Red and Black due to work scheduling. We’re happy to have him back!

With the substitutions the game levelled out and the HRFC managed to score with a great bit of rugby – the ball moving through the hands of Tim Kent, Callum Mills, Josh Howe, back to Callum, and then Kim Korchinski finishing strong. Billy Howden converted, bringing the score to 15 – 7. This would be the score at Half time.

The HRFC scored first in the second half, closing the gap with a Tally from Jarek Roteliuk who finished off a great run by Jonny Clifford. The convert was *just* missed, making the score 15-12. 65:00 mark saw Levi Moore in for Time Kent and Scuba Steve in for Matthew Davies.

Fullback Jazzy Singh put a shoulder on Slippery Stu Ford, but Ford managed the offload in the tackle and the ever dangerous Wade Lavallee finished off under the posts. 22-12.

Having had a stormer of a game, Captain Callum Mills subbed off, putting Bryden Carr on the pitch. As the game wound down the Grads would use superior fitness to score one more time right up the guts. As the clock approached the final minute, Joel Briere would hit beast mode and finish the game with a tally. Billy Howden was unable to convert, making the score 27-17. The Highlanders would control the ball for the remaining seconds – but it was too little too late.

All in all, a very good indication of the level of Rugby the city can expect to see this summer, with hard hitting action and exciting running. Lots of areas to improve and you can expect a very different game against the Condors in this week’s game – the first in the “2016 Shower Cup” series of HRFC v. Condors.

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