Archives for June 2011

Four NORFC Players Help USA Rugby South Defeat Jamaica (52-5)

 by John Devonport…

Saturday June 25 2011
Kingston, Jamaica

Both sides were first-round knockout losers in the NACRA tournament, with Jamaica losing
narrowly to Cayman and the USA similarly to Mexico. The South, driven by their Mexican
experience, challenged Jamaica to play in Jamaica. This was accepted, IRB approval was given and
the game was on.

The South had four team changes from the Mexico game due to injury and availability. Mathew Hughson and Ty Elkins from Charlotte were drafted into the backs, with Jarret Falcon (New Orleans) and Dave Meehan (Boca Raton) joining the forwards.

Jamaica had not hosted a non-Caribbean touring team for over 20 years, so this was
new territory for them in an organizational and playing sense, and it was only the second
overseas journey for the South. The Jamaica RFU is also going through some major
restructuring under the capable hands of CEO Anne Shirley while having to compete for
playing resources with a well-financed (UK) Rugby League program on the island, so the
challenges were many and various.

The game was played in the beautiful setting of the UTECH grounds in Kingston, settled in
under the Blue Mountains with a temperature of 82 degrees offset by a nice breeze. JRFU had
prepared a great surface on close to a full-sized pitch.

The referee was none other than Scott Harland, NACRA’s Canadian development director,
who had also managed to jam in a referee course and a Level 1 coaching course into his two
days on the island!


Jamaica kicked off supported by a brisk breeze and the honors were even as each side felt
each other out. First blood to the South in the 10th minute as scrum half Anthony Alexander
(Little Rock) finished off some great approach work by the forwards. His try was converted
by club mate Chance Hugh, who had certainly brought his kicking boots with him. 7-0 10

The forwards continued to seek supremacy on both sides and Jamaica showed flashes of
brilliance with dangerous break-outs by their talented and fast backs, which asked many
questions of the South defense, but they were up to it.

In the 20th minute, a concerted drive by the South pack through multiple phases saw #
7 Tim Barford of Loughborough University, who had taken over pack leadership while skipper
Shawn O’Brien (Johnson City) was off for repairs, drive over from close in. Conversion by
Hugh took the score to 14-0.

Jamaica continued to press for cracks in the South defense and were eventually rewarded
with a break away try coming from pressure. 28 minutes, score 14-5.

The game ebbed and flowed both ways, before a game ending injury to hooker Owen Sharer (University of South Carolina) saw him replaced by Jarret Falcon of the successful D2 national champions New Orleans, with Barford moving to hooker. Some tight
exchanges up front saw Scott Terrell (Huntsville) gone for the game with an ankle injury to
be replaced by David Dave Meehan
(Boca Raton) on 39 minutes.

The pack stepped up the pressure on Jamaica creating more and more opportunities for the
South backs, who were becoming increasingly penetrative and confident. Then, man of the
match Mark Fulmer (Little Rock) delivered two killer blows with two tries in the final two minutes of the first half, with one converted. Half time score: South 26, Jamaica 5

Skipper O’Brien did not return for the second half, and was replaced by Rob Hoffman of New
Orleans at 8. The South also brought speedster Ty Elkins (Charlotte) on to add fresh legs to the
attack at the start of the second half. These impact changes were immediately effective
as South piled on the pressure. Jason Forseman was able to wriggle through for a try
14 minutes into the second half as Jamaica were pinned back with some great tactical
kicking from No. 10 Jeff Reuther, who continued to put Jamaica on the back foot. This try was again
converted by Chance to make it 33-5.

Jamaica would not lie down, soaking up waves of approach work by the rejuvenated South
pack, but the pressure told when Fulmer was able to score his third try of the game on the
hour through a well worked overlap. 40-5.

Jamaica made their changes and their strength in off-loads led to some anxious moments
as they penetrated the South line only to often lose the ball on turnovers coming from
resolute defensive tackling by the South backs.

A counter-attack saw the South go further ahead with an opportunist try ahead by New Orleans
sub Rob Hoffman, which went unconverted. 45-5

The South closed the final quarter by tightening the screws. They brought on their
subs — Abukuppeh of Little Rock and trainer Sean Borman of Boca — before delivering the final blow with a try from Mathew Hughson of Charlotte, the score again
converted by the impeccable boot of Chance, who was 6 for 8 on the day. Final score 52-5.

Considering Jamaica have had so little exposure to visiting teams they lacked for nothing
in spirit and defiance and at times showed the bursts of electrifying pace that have defined
their sevens success.

A strong bond has been formed between to two sides through the game and the hospitality
which was second-to-none.

Both teams look forward to further exchanges as Jamaica regroup and rebuild and the
South continue to benefit from their close relationship with their NACRA brothers in this
emerging partnership which can only benefit all.

























Katie Davies’s Wedding & the Tulane Old Boys

Jack “Big Daddy” Adams called for a ‘scrum down’ in Roanoke, VA ,on May 29, 2011.With the following slightly modified lyrics of a song many old Tulane players  belted  out decades ago,  “Gather yee drunkards give ear to my tale. I’ll tell you a story that will make you turn pale. About a fair maiden so young and so small,  she married a man….and had no father at all,” he challenged the teammates of Steve Davies to gather for Katie’s  wedding. This wedding was particularly special to so many former Tulane players because in 1989 when Katie was only 2 years old, Steve died of a heart attack.

Steve played for Tulane RFC from 1970-74 and was the 1973-74 captain. He played for NORFC in 1974-75. He was  a gifted athlete and an inspiring,  much loved, player who led quietly on and off the pitch. In 1992 when the Tulane Old Boys gathered for the 1992 reunion, Jack Adams (former Tulane club president and reunion organizer)  had the award the Old Boys  presented to a current player named in Steve’s honor. Chriss (Steve’s wife) and her new husband, Doug, were returning from their honeymoon and came to New Orleans  for the first presentation of the Davies Cup. Chriss and the award recipient fittingly chugged beer from the Davies Trophy Cup. In 2000 Chriss brought Katie who was then 13 to the Old Boys reunion.

As a side note let it be recorded that the 1970-74 Era Tulane Old Boys beat the existing Tulane RFC starting 15 five straight times (1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, and 1996) before succumbing to the ravages of time and gravity and suffering a defeat in 2000.

In 1974 Tulane traveled to Nassau over Spring Break. The team played the following schedule on the tour:

Saturday, April 6th – *Pensacola R.F.C.  *

“switch  game” – backs played in the scrum, and scrummies played back positions

Monday, April 8th – Florida State University R.F.C.

Wednesday, April 10th – Orlando R.F.C.

Friday & Saturday, April 12-13   Arawak R.F.C.(Nassau, Bahamas)

 Steve had the courage to invite the whole team to spend the night at his family’s home in Coral Gables before flying the next day to the Bahamas. Jim Richeson recalls playing 3 games in the Bahamas, as the team Tulane beat in the first game wanted a rematch on Sunday, April 14th . Tulane could only muster 14 players  to start the game and minutes before kick-off recruited a guy walking by who had never played rugby before.

In his challenge to attend, Adam’s magnificently explained the significance of rugby in so many of our lives and the goal of passing on to Katie the vitality that Steve brought to his life and those that knew him.

Jack Adams, “What did we love most about playing rugby? Where was our pride? It wasn’t how many games we won. It was the camaraderie, it was knowing someone always had your back, it was being with a group of crazy individuals that as a unit were unstoppable…never taking no for an answer, Always rising to the next occasion. Knowing strength in numbers and appreciating that sense of invincibility that we shared as a group of not just teammates but as friends.
I am the first to admit that the sense of purpose we shared, as bizarre and as decadent as it was is a cherished part of my life that has never departed or been forgotten. The reunions helped secure those memories and embelish the mundane to the phenomenal, as we all have a tendency to do, but we would be hard pressed to embellish the impact Steve had on each of us.
I will never forget Katie passing the trophy we created in Steve’s name to the Tulane RFC recipient in front of the Boot in 2000. Those moments are indeed priceless. A daughter whose memory of her father is dependent upon each one of us, a daughter who still remembers each of us from 2000 as her Dad’s friends–her fathers legacy.
We can laugh and joke that we are a sorry lot of mongrels that mothers should keep their daughters from rather than expose them to…but in all honesty ( I promise I won’t tell anyone) we are a fairly respectable lot. No, I would have never guessed it either but the fact remains that our past has influenced our success and we need to share that secret.
We need to show Katie that her Father’s past had a vitality that most only dream of… that it is possible to be free spirited, fun loving, and crazy, pushing the envelope everyday and still lead a life full of promise and success. I am sure you each taught that to your children and it’s not to late for us to teach that to Katie. She had a glimpse in 2000 but now is old enough to grasp the message.
So please join me, Jim and the handful of others that are planning to attend to make this moment special for a young bride wanting us to share our history of her father with her on the most special day of her life…not only is she getting married but she will be able to envision what her Dad’s life may have been like if he was still here to celebrate with her….and who can show her better how to celebrate than the Tulane Old Boys RFC. I hope to see ALL of you in Roanoke…..Big Daddy”

The following former Tulane RFC members were able to heed the call and attend the wedding of the daughter of a friend and teammate they had played with over 35 years ago:

Steve Sallman, Greg Eaton, Douglas Watkins, Bobby Preston, Jack Adams, Joe Hoffman, John Howe, Vincent Dobbs, Jerry Cave, and  Jim Richeson.

Many more who were unable to attend contributed to a present for the bride and groom. 



Katie Davies & Tulane Old Boys

Jim Richeson wrote in with the following additions to the above article:  The reunion & picture on Steve’s bench and making a copy of the poster at his funeral was all my idea, although Jack made it clear that he was in from the beginning. I also asked Jack for a call to arms and he responded with the fine letter which you quoted, that I emailed to the group. I was Steve Davies’ best man and we were lucky that Southern RR transferred him to Wash., DC for about half of my dental school years at Georgetown and first several years of practice. Even when he got transferred to Roanoke, we managed to visit one another at least several times a year. I have known Katie all of her life and have been her touchstone for her dad all through the years.  
Katie’s husband has a job in Chicago, where they moved last week after returning from their honeymoon on June 6th. Katie asked me several months ago how often I traveled to Chicago, and I told her was there 8 weekends last year, as the Amer Dental Assn headquarters are there, but was just elected Chair of my ADA Council for next year, so would likely be there 9-10 weekends next year. She then said well I hope I will be able to see you each and every time that you come to Chicago, and I assured her that we could do that.
Katie, her husband, and I have a meal scheduled together in July, another in August, and then again in Nov & Dec.
Since Jack preceded me by one year as Treasurer of the TU RFC and has always been the money handler for our reunions, I asked him to collect the donations for Katie’s gift and he kindly did so.
Again, the article is fine. Just wanted to fill in some details.
Best regards, Jim

USA Rugby on NORFC National Champs Div 2 Match

David Halvorson Jr.
June 5, 2011

New Orleans and the Tampa Bay Krewe went toe-to-toe in the Men’s Club DII Final on Sunday in Glendale, Colorado.  New Orleans came away with a 27-21 victory and their first ever national championship.

The Krewe from Tampa opened up scoring in the 7th minute behind a try by prop Joe Hillbush and a conversion by Matt Mcginnis.  A missed penalty kick and poor offensive continuity by New Orleans kept Tampa in the lead for the first twenty minutes of play, but the lead would not last long. 

To the delight of the New Orleans team, winger Mauricia Urrutia found his kicking form in the 21st minute on a penalty kick and opened up scoring for the challengers from the Big Easy.  Just five minutes later, Sean Malek rumbled into the try zone and gave New Orleans a lead they never lost.  

Urrutia was given multiple opportunities to score on penalty kicks and he was able to record his second of the day in the 32nd minute, which extended their lead to 11-7 at the half. 

The second half of play was one characterized by scoring runs by both teams. 

Patrick Kennedy of New Orleans scored a try in the 42nd minute and was complimented by a conversion by Urrutia.  This quick score made it 18-7 and allowed New Orleans to gain strong momentum early on in the half.    

The forward pack for New Orleans dominated the scrum all day long and set the tone for their speedy back line to make breaks that seemed to wear down the Krewe.  Big lock, Ben Benvennuti, punished Tampa ball carriers on multiple occasions and created substantial energy for his team.  The New Orleans energy turned into Tampa penalties that gave Urrutia more kicking opportunities.  Urrutia was able to kick two penalties through and bring the score to 24-7 through 55 minutes.  

Faced with a three score deficit, the Tampa Krewe found themselves in dire straits with just 25 minutes to play.  Like a champion, they fought back.  Alex Pellicier scored a try in the 60th minute and Matt McGinnis was able to convert and bring the score to 24-14.  

The Krewe were not to be denied their repeat and found new life in the last quarter of the game.  Dustin Frank found the try zone in the 66th and Matt McGinnis booted the conversion through to bring the score to 24-21 and realign the status quo.  

Now the men from New Orleans found themselves in front of a Tampa Bay train of momentum.  With just 14 minutes to play, New Orleans scored the final points of the game, and were able to stamp out Tampa Bay in the end.


Tulane Rugby 1971

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