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The Austin Blacks had a successful weekend in the Red River Rugby Conference, beating New Orleans 35-18.
The Blacks secured the season’s third consecutive win by stepping up the pace of the match on the offensive side of the ball. According to Tane Jericivich, coach of the Blacks, this element was the focus of training leading up to the weekend’s match and the preparation paid off.
“We looked at the ruck this week in training and tried to speed the ball up,” he said. “With faster ball this gave us more opportunities in the game which helped our offense substantially.”
Matthew Radzavich scored a pair of tries during the match. Ngwako Ralepelle, Seth Saunders, Stephen Jones and Zak Triplett all added tries to the Blacks’ total on Saturday.
New Orleans’ tenacity and unique play style put the defense of the Blacks to the test. During the match, the Blacks had some trouble adjusting and conceded a number of points in the later stages.
“NOLA are a team that don't give up,” Jericivich said. “They play from minute one to 80 and have a real competitive spirit. They like to come back against the grain a lot. It was important for us to scan before moving round the corner in defense.”
New Orleans’ competitive spirit kept the team fighting until the end of the match and resulted in two late scores that narrowed the deficit between the two teams. Allen Alongi put in a long-range effort to help close out the match; and Gerald Ross’ work from the tee helped keep his team in the match prior to the last-gasp efforts. Ross kicked over two tries early, which were the team’s only points for the majority of the match.
The increased speed of the match also hurt the Blacks during the proceedings on Saturday. Players pushing the pace of the game led to discipline issues arising. In all, the Blacks racked up 18 penalties to five for New Orleans.
The Blacks will keep trying to increase the speed of gameplay while cutting down on the errors at practice. Next week, the Blacks will try to add another win to the tally when the Huns visit Burr Field.