Tuesday, August 28, 2018

South Panthers Victorious Over Hungary

USA Rugby South notched a decisive win in the first match of their central European tour, beating the Hungarian national team 35-12 in Szazhalombatta, just outside of Budapest.

The Panthers has an opportunity to take an early lead on a penalty kick, but the kick by flyhalf Lucas Baistrocchi went wide leading to a 22. The Panthers suffered a huge blow soon after when Colton Cariaga, the head coach of Life University and Panther fullback suffered an broken arm and will be out for the rest of the tour.

The Panthers got on the board soon after when outside center Zach Blalock, who replaced Cariaga at fullback, scored in the corner. The conversion went wide, making the score 5-0. This helped the Panthers overcome early match jitters, and their offense rounded into shape. Despite effective Hungarian counter-rucking, the Panthers spent the rest of the first half on the front foot, getting quick ball from scrumhalf Zach Miller. Miller capped off a series of successful phases, scored a try by snaking in just in front of the posts.

Take the jump to read more.
The Panthers were able to keep the initiative due to an effective defensive scheme. “Our line speed really was faster and more physical than it has been in the past,” send Panthers head coach Rene Daniel. “ The defensive scheme, implemented by player/coach Cariaga, “is designed to force the offense to make mistakes, and it really works.”

Outside center Irving Carcamo added a try in the corner in the 30th minute, making the score 19-0 in favor of USA Rugby South. Hungary maintained majority possession at the end of the half, putting the Panthers under pressure. The Panthers defense held in line, keeping Hungary out of the try zone out when the whistle sounded, ending the first half with the Panthers up 19-0.

Hungary maintained their initiative at the start of the second half, with their veteran, physical front rowers. Combined with some sloppy defense by the South, Hungary was rewarded with a try and a conversion 4 minutes into the half, making the score 19-7.

South regrouped after this, substituting their entire front row with three young players. “The youth movement provided pace that reinvigorated the team,” according to South backs coach Renaldo Arroyo. “That allowed us the platform once again for attack and defense.”
The defensive pressure continued to rule the day, stifling the Hungarian attack. Lucas Baistrocchi rewarded South attacking pressure with two penalties, pushing the score 25-7. Baistrocchi then added two tries, piercing the Hungarian defensive line multiple times on short breakaways, bringing the total to 35-7. Hungary added a late try in the corner with sustained attack at the final whistle, leading to a final score of 35-12.

“The bench really helped us today,” according to Coach Daniel. “In the past, we have had a drop off when we put our substitutes in— today they played as well as the starters. I’m really proud of their performance.”

Blalock 10 min, conversion missed
Miller 19 min Converted
Carcamo 30 min. Converted
Hungary, converted

Baistrocchi 66 min, conversion missed
Baistrocchi 74 min, conversion missed

Hungary, #23, conversion missed

Baistrocchi 4 of 9

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