YOUTH

The U16s travelled to San Clemente to take on the #1 Seeded and undefeated Gators. LARC was at a huge disadvantage as they took to the pitch without starters, Scrum Half Harrison Dulgarian, Inside Center Jhoinan Alvarado, Lock Gunnar Kissman and Wings Arron Kiefer and Sebastian D’Ambrosio. LARC found themselves down early as a penalty was converted for a 3 point Gator lead. The following 15 minutes had the LA side with their backs against the wall as was the case for the vast majority of the first half. However, extremely physical defense by Locks Justin Johnson and Jaysn Estell and Flankers Sione Tukutau and Fehoko Sulunga helped keep the Gators out of the Try Zone. Unfortunately, the LARC defense finally broke down and gave up a couple of Trys to make the halftime score 0-13. The

 

LARC side came out strong in the 2nd half. After getting pushed around the entire 1st half, the LARC Front Row Props Conor LaRouche and Rudy Sarellano and Hooker Chris Orana came out on fire and began driving the San Clemente side off the ball. Scrum Half Juan Lozano put constant pressure on a very good Gator #9. The San Clemente side used a very effective kicking game to continually counter the more physical LA side. Fullback Brandon Espeso and Wings George Holani, Andy Martinez and Raymond Garcia were under constant pressure countering the kicks of the opposition.

 

LARC finally began to move the ball on runs by Outside Centers Amanaki Veikoso and Devin Kelley. However, the day belonged to Team Captain and #8 Justus Tavai, Fly Half Johnny Higareda and Inside Center Jonah Tavai. The three were constantly on the ball defensively and made some impressive runs. The triumvirate was able to rally the LARC boys to a Try and thereby serving notice that the match was still in doubt. Unfortunately, it was a case of too little, too late as the Gators added another Penalty Kick to make the final score 5-16.

 

Despite the loss the U16s had a very successful year. They finished the 6-2 overall, their 5th consecutive trip to the playoffs, 3rd Semi Final appearance and all done with 1/3 of the team made of U14s playing a level up. The future looks very bright for LARC youth. Team Captain Justus Tavai was the heart of the unit and he will be missed as he graduates to next year’s U18s.

 

Special thanks go to Coaches Paul Breen and Sai’a Holani for their constant unselfish help as well as the LARC men who would come out early to their practices so that they could scrimmage against the boys.


YOUTH

The U16s traveled to Camarillo to take on ORCA in a Quarterfinal playoff game. The boys from LARC took control from the opening kick. The forward pack was led by Team Captain and Number 8 Justus Tavai. Together they managed to control the ball. Although ORCA was able to dominate the scrums that was the only aspect of the game that LARC was lacking. The 16s kept the ball in the ORCA half for the entire first half scoring 17 unanswered points. The last Try of the half came on a spectacular display of Rugby as the boys from LARC made seven consecutive passes with 5 different players touching the ball while matriculating the ball some 65 meters for the score.

 

The second half was more of the same with Scrum Half Harrison Dulgarian, Fly Half Jonathon Higareda, Inside Center Jhoinan Alvarado and Fullback Brandon Espeso using an extremely effective kicking game in a fierce wind to keep pinning back the ORCA side on the few occasions they were able to make progress. The score grew to 31-0 until ORCA was finally able to break through for a Try. However, it took six minutes on the LARC 5 meter line and 3 penalties against LARC before ORCA got on the board.

 

The final score of the game was 38-10. The 16s now advance to the semi-finals. At present, it looks like LARC will again be on the road and this time against #1 seed San Clemente. If you recall, last year’s LARC U14 playoff run came to an end against San Clemente following a double overtime and penalty kicks.

 

Los Angeles Rugby Club - Division 1

On a crisp, sunny and windy afternoon at Dodson, LARC faced off against San Diego Old Aztecs for the second time in two weeks. Coming off a stinging defeat on April 12th, which broke the nine game win streak, LA was determined to avenge the loss. Against the wind and uphill the first half, it was the Old Aztecs who drew first blood though. Off a handling error in the third minute, LA was caught out of position defensively and the Old Aztecs #10 deftly lofted a kick into open space, where the #14 craftily guided the kick with his foot into the try zone and beat the defender for a converted try (#10). LA soon responded with Adrian Ojeda powering through the Old Aztecs solid defense and reaching over for an unconverted try at the 9 minute mark. Another handling error 23 minutes in, again by LA, had the defense scrambling and poor tackling allowed the Old Aztecs #4 to break through the line and dot in 25 meters for,a converted try. Tala Gafa responded six minutes later with a huge drive over the try line, bringing LA within two points.

 

The score at half was San Diego 14, LARC 12. At halftime, coach Barry Williams emphasized the importance of cleaning up the mistakes. Several handling errors, along with miscommunication on defense, were costing points. In the second half, LA responded. Flanker Josh "Booty" Campbell rumbled through the SD defense and scored a converted try in the 52nd minute (Raisch). With a 19-14 lead, LA got called for several penalties, backing them up deep into their own territory. SD managed to pound away until finally in the 61st minute, the #8 punched one in the corner, knotting the game 19-19. During the final 20 minutes, the tempo picked up. Both teams made substitutions to exhaust every last weapon in the arsenal. Fresh off the bench at 69th minute, Benny Weischedel took a beautiful pass from center Mitchell Riasch and scampered down the sideline and touched the ball down in the corner to help LA gain a narrow 24-19 lead. However, only moments later, LA allowed the #11 for Old Aztecs to create space off a kick. Weaving his way through a porous defense, the wing eluded several tacklers and ultimately went untouched up the sideline to score in the corner. Now less than 10 minutes left in the match, the score was tied at 24. The game was certainly living up to it's billing. Both teams were giving everything they had. In the 72nd minute, Player of the Match Mitchel Raisch single-handedly took control of the game and ran 40 meters through an exhausted defense to leap in for a converted try. Working with a narrow 7 point lead, LA defended valiantly. Play came to an end on a SD knock-on, and when the whistle blew, LARC walked away victorious by a 31-24 margin over the San Diego Aztecs.

 

The match was nothing short of brilliant to watch from the sidelines. The back and forth nature, along with multiple lead changes, created an exciting and tense atmosphere. Both teams were well deserving of this opportunity and although only one team is able to advance, LARC is proud to represent the Southern California Football Rugby Union at the USA Rugby Quarterfinals in Dallas, TX, on May 17-18!

 

LARCvAztecs

 


YOUTH

The LARC Youth finished the 2014 regular season in fine fashion on Saturday in a road trip to Santa Clarita Tigers. The day began with the U16s taking the pitch in what was a must win contest. Victory meant qualifying for the playoffs; defeat meant the end of the season. Once again, the U16s were a bit shorthanded however some stellar U14s stepped up to fill in the voids. The match was a well-played defensive struggle led by Captain #8 Justus Tavai and Flanker Naki Veikoso. The Tigers scored first and by halftime had a 0-7 lead. The clubs opened the score half in similar manner as the first by playing solid defense. Despite consistently moving the ball, the LARC side continued to find themselves victims of a very good Santa Clarita kicking game.

  

LA’s first break came about 10 minutes into the 2nd half when Inside Center Jhoinan Alvarado picked off a Tiger pass and returned it to the Try Zone. Unfortunately the conversion was on good. The situation began to look grim for the LARC 16s as they continued to drive the ball into the Santa Clarita 22 meter line only to have the ball repeatedly kicked back downfield. With only 8 minutes left in the match LARC exploded for two quick scores with the second coming at the 3 minute mark. Fly-Half Johnathon Higareda sealed the match with the final conversion right in front of the posts. Justin Johnson and Gunnar Kissman both were a constant physical presence that continued to pressure the Tigers.

  

With the victory the LARC 16s (4 and 1) finished in 2nd place and have qualified for the playoffs and will have a road game on the 26th of April…this marks the 5th consecutive year in which this group has qualified for the playoffs.

  

The next match of the day was the U18s in a similar must win situation. Victory also meant a playoff berth; defeat would result in a disappointing end to a very promising season. The Tigers kicked off and within the first two minutes of the match LARC found committed a penalty inside their own 22 meter line. Santa Clarita elected to kick for the posts and converted for an early 0-3 lead. Similar to the previous U16 match LARC was able to control the ball however, fell victim to both untimely penalties, unforced errors and a very strong Tiger kicking game. The Tigers managed to put up a Try and conversion as LARC found themselves down 0-10. The 18s began to show some frustration until Lock Greg Briskin restored order amongst his teammates. The match turned when the LARC Forward where 21 meters away from the Tiger Try Line and in a Second Phase Forward Drive Prop Joe Anderson took the ball and ran over and through 3 Santa Clarita tacklers to score LARC’s first Try. Flanker/Hooker Juwan Johnson constantly pressured the Santa Clarita offense by continually driving the ball down the pitch along with Mark Finau. LARC then exchanged Trys with the Tigers. As the game wore on and the temperature began to rise Santa Clarita began to feel the effects of the brutally physically dominating LARC attack. First year player Justice White sealed the victory by blowing through the Tigers defense to score his first ever Try.

 

The 26-17 victory puts the 18s into the playoffs and they will have a road game on the 26th as well.

 

The final match of the day had a very tired group of U14s playing in what was for many the second game of the day. Jonah Tavai, Chris Orana and George Holani led the way. Unfortunately the boys fell short but Coach Holani’s side was extremely strong and just like they did all year they played some super rugby. Although the boys did not qualify for the playoffs, they no doubt had a fantastic year and the future is very bright for the LARC youth.

 

LOS ANGELES BLUES - MENS DIVISION 3

On Saturday the D3 team played their hearts out against a much stronger Old Aztec team. It was reminiscent of our first match of the season against Riverside with dwindling numbers due to injuries and attrition. However, the D3 Blues now, stand head and shoulders above the Blues from the first of the season. The heart and courage of the Blues were undeniable against the Old Aztecs. The game started off for the first 15 minutes as a defensive/offensive draw when the OA #13 dotted down for an unconverted try. 5 minutes later Brandon Joseph kicked a penalty to make the score 5-3 for the OA. That was it for the Blues first half with OA dotting down twice for converted tries. Halftime score OA 19 Blues 3.

 

An unconverted try by OA in the 3rd minute of the second half looked as if the Blues were in for a long day but, Brandon Joseph made a drop goal 4 minutes later to put the score at 24-6. At the 50th, 54th and 56th minutes the OA again crossed the Blues goal line and with one conversion led 41-6. At the 60th minute rookie Russell Gruener scored a try converted by Brandon Joseph to give the Blues a shot in the arm. Score 41-13. With no substitutions left, the OA ran three more tries in but, brilliant tackling by the Blues and injuries being ignored the Blues managed a final tri in the 72nd minute by an injured Josh Everett, to close out the Blues scoring at 18 points. The heart and guts shown by the LA Blues bode well for the LARC for the remainder of our D1 drive for the National Championship and next years teams.

 

In all my years of playing and coaching rugby, I have never been prouder than I was Saturday, watching LA D3 play this magnificent sport. Kudos Blues. 

  


LOS ANGELES GODZILLA - MENS DIVISION 4

Although we lacked Dan who went back to Japan last week and Bozho who suffered a car accident, we had many former D1 players and young talented new members and hoped that we should win the game today. With lots of sunshine and the comfortable temperature of 70F, it was a great rugby day.

 

The game was kicked off at 12:30 PM. Yoshi was the captain today who started as center back. From the beginning, Rebellion’s forwards keep attacking around rucks and mauls together with their muscle man fly half as in the same manner as the previous match. Godzilla knew how to defend these guys now by tackling hard. Godzilla defended well; however, Rebellion scored a try and conversion at 14 minutes (Godzilla 0 – Rebellion 7). Right after this try, Godzilla’s #15 Brice caught the ball in the half line. He ran through the defense with his brilliant steps and made a try in the center. Conversion was made, nobody could catch him! Godzilla tied the game (7-7). Godzilla and Rebellion kept the equation for 20 minutes; however, Godzilla gave away a try at 39 minutes (7 – 12). However, at the last play of the first half, Godzilla #6 Mike ran through the defense and made a try to center. Yoshi made conversion. Godzilla turned around the game at this play (Godzilla 14 – Rebellion 12). Mike just came from UK lately and the newest member of LARC. He knew how to play rugby better than anybody else at the field!

 

2nd half was started with Rebellion’s try at 42 minutes (Godzilla 14 – Rebellion 17). However, at 47 minutes once again #6 Mike made a try and turned the game around again. Godzilla couldn’t take the advantage of a sin bin by Rebellion. Godzilla gave away two tries subsequently at 15 and 20 minutes (14 – 27). Godzilla #9 Satoshi was injured and #10 Andy replaced him. #12 Yoshi filled in fly half position. Yoshi pointed out that Godzilla played 20 minutes just 7 forward members; no wonder, we couldn’t keep up with Rebellion. #1 Paul, #7 John Yuhas and #8 Zach rushed into the goal line of Rebellion; however, couldn’t score a try. Godzilla further gave away a penalty goal at 69 minutes and a penalty try at 75 minutes with conversion (19 – 37). Godzilla fought back well nevertheless and #15 Brice made his second try of today at 75 minutes. Conversion was made. The game ended with the close score of Godzilla 26 – Rebellion 37.

 

Although we lost the game today; however, we made tremendous improvement from our game earlier (Godzilla 14 – Rebellion 55) by defending Rebellion’s forward and fly half by hard tackles. We are improving game by game and definitely will defeat Rebellion in the next season!

 

LOS ANGELES BLUES - MENS DIVISION 3

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, the LA Blues faced a Temecula team that would not give up nor rest on it's laurels. Temecula struck first at the 10 minute mark with a converted try. At 20 minutes in, LA's Abe Waziri scored a try and Alfredo Campos posted the conversion to make the score 7-7. A penalty kick by Temecula three minutes later made the score 7-10 in favor of Temecula. The Blues' Morgan O'Keefe struck back two minutes later with a Campos Conversion making the score at the 26th minute of play 14 -10 with a four point Blues advantage. This lead was short lived as Temecula's #10 broke free of several tackles to score for Temecula taking the lead 15-14. Prior to the end of the first half, Israel Fuente received a pass from inside center Bryan Villa and threaded his way down the right sideline to score the go ahead try for LA to make the score LA 19 - Temecula 15 at the half.

 

LA Blues' Alfredo Campos drew first blood 4 minutes into the second half with a move off the ruck to make the score 24-15 In the next 15 minutes Temecula's #8 & #23 both scored with only one try being converted by their kicker to again take the lead 24-27. At minute 64 Jose Aguilar scored his first try of the season for the Blues to again take the lead 29-27. The next 15 minutes saw Temecula score three unconverted tries to lead LA by 29-42. At the 76th minute Josh Everett bulled his way across the goal line for a Brandon Joseph converted try to bring the Blues within 6 points of Temecula at 36-42. The last two minutes had LA knocking at the Temecula goal line but before we could score again, time was blown up by the referee and we lost the match to a gutsy Temecula side 42 to 36.

 

This gives the LA Blues Two points (one for 4 tries and 1 for losing by less than 4) in our race for the playoffs and places us solidly in 4th place.

 

LOS ANGELES RUGBY CLUB - MENS DIVISION 1

A hungry LARC Division 1 side started off the day looking to keep their undefeated record and improve to a 9-0 season against a strong OMBAC side that was looking to prove a point and stop our winning streak. After a shaky start to field a kick LA found themselves backed into their own 5 defending OMBAC in the opening minutes which led to an early penalty opportunity that OMBAC missed just to the left. The ball was cleared out by full back Stuart Sharpe, and after a few plays Mitchell Raisch returned the favor of an early penalty and converted the kick (3-0). In the 21st minute OMBAC would strike and score a converted try (3-7). LA was slow to wake up and get their heads in the game, but after OMBAC’s soft try, LA’s Stuart Sharpe answered back with a try, converted by Mitchell Raisch (10-7). In the 28th minute after some good set piece play and ball movement the ball made its way to the hands of winger Benny Weischedel another try and Mitchell conversion (17-7). With 10 minutes left in the half LA started to pick up momentum and after a strong goal line stand by OMBAC, Captain Kevin Kusiak took it upon himself to pick and go bulldozing over the defense for the final try of the half (22-7).

The second half was a kick-off by LA, with solid defense leading to a turnover and into the hands of reserve player Abe Waiziri in the 53 minute, crossing over for a try (27-7). After kicking for plenty of extra points Mitchell had a great 50 meter break down the sideline and converted his own try (34-7). But he wasn’t done yet, as he would strike back immediately for another unconverted try (39-7). In the 68th minute Tala Gafa scored a Mitchell converted try (46-7). LA’s fitness kept them striking for the rest of the day, forcing OMBAC mistakes almost every time they touched the ball and allowing LA to focus on their set plays. After some forward set pieces, Ryan Campbell strolled through the defense under the sticks for a Mitchell converted try (53-7). In the 78th minute which seemed to be the final plays of the game LA turned the ball over but continued applying pressure forcing another OMBAC mistake—throwing a forward pass that went to ground. The ball was gathered by Nate Heiselt which ran 50 meters to score but would eventually be called back by an accidental whistle on the referee’s behalf. LA would pack down for one last scrum of the game, the forwards continued to do their thing, setting up a final try in the 79th minute by Josh Campbell and converted by Mitchell. Final score (65-7). Man of the match went to Mitchell Raisch

 


LOS ANGELES GODZILLA - MENS DIVISION 4

In Div IV action, Godzilla finally harnessed it's potential and unleashed on San Diego Armada, winning by a score of 55-14.

 

LOS ANGELES BLUES - MENS DIVISION 3

LARC DIII Blues, meanwhile, couldn't close things out against Belmont Shore DIII and consequently, fall into a three-way tie for first place with a record of 6-3-1.

 

LOS ANGELES RUGBY CLUB - MENS DIVISION 1

LARC is now 8-0 on the season after a strong all around performance against Belmont Shore. Final score was 45-14, with seven different players scoring for LA.