On Saturday March 22, 2014, the men of the Arkansas Gryphons Rugby Club traveled, with a skeleton crew of 17 players, up to Kansas City to face off against Northland RFC. The line seemed to be in the favor of the Gryphons from the get go as they started off the week with ideal weather conditions for training. This allowed everyone to dial in to the match strategy laid out by Coach Jason Ayers. Ayers described his strategy as, “very simple…support in numbers at the breakdown and quick ball from the scrums and line outs.” Tuesday’s training consisted of fitness and live match play in order to simulate Northlands hard attacking offense. Thursday’s training had the same intensity but with a lot more focus on match situations from penalties. The week’s practice also involved the forwards changing how line outs were set and how scrums came together.
At the sound of the whistle, the Gryphons were eager to put points on the board within the first 10 minutes to dictate the pace of the match. Rookie winger, Billy Dyer put up three quick tries. Impressed by the Gryphons’ newest Zulu Warrior, Jeremy Marshall-Johnson added three tries of his own. The first half of the match was spent deep in Northland’s territory, with the Gryphons executing Ayers’ game plan perfectly.
The second half started much like first, with the Gryphons scoring quickly. The united play of the forwards continued to quickly send the ball out to the backs. With scrums won and line outs stollen, the ball made it to the backs, who burned Northland on the fringes. Dyer added one more try, as well as Dan Cook and Frank Masotto. The Gryphons won the match with a final score of 59-5 , with Cook 7 of 9 on conversions.
“We were aggressive at the breakdown, allowing us to control the tempo of the match against Northland” stated Flanker Matt Mathis.
“Having numbers at training really helped contribute to our victory today,” said fullback Mote Thumbutu
“The team played unselfishly and worked as a single unit to accomplish our goal,” added captain Kenny Cyr.
“The rookies are really starting to have more vision on field, hitting the holes, and being in the right place at the right time,” said 8-Man David Robertson.
Coach Jason Ayers: “I think we did an excellent job executing the game strategy laid out in training and practicing what we preach!”
The Gryphons would like to thank newly appointed Assistant Head Coach Steve Cooper for making the trip up to KC. In only his third week with the team, his insight has helped the team succeed.
The Gryphons look to build on their success as they travel to Columbia this weekend to play the Outlaws.
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