The University of South Florida (USF) Bulls RFC hosted the Valdosta State University (VSU) Blazers Saturday afternoon on the USF campus in Tampa, Fla. The two clubs played three 40 minute periods.
This playing time allowed the Bulls to recalibrate their minds and bodies from the long winter break, and helped the club to prepare for the Southern Independent Rugby Conference (SIRC) Division I-AA competition on Saturday, Feb. 2.
USF Coach Dai Morgan took time to speak with his club and the Tampa Bay Rugby Examiner on Monday afternoon about the Bulls’ performance in Saturday’s scrimmage.
Coach Morgan’s commentary on Saturday’s scrimmage
The Bulls hosted Valdosta State from Georgia. They are a mixed club of senior men and students and play at the university. It was great to for our boys to play against a big physical pack of forwards after being off for a month due to the holidays.
We played three periods of 40 minutes. The first period started off with the A side as it stands and went really well with a lot of structure and shape. This lead to space opening up and we ran in 5 tries most of which came after we held onto possession and went through a number of phases.
The defense kept Valdosta out of our in zone as well which was the reward for the hard work put in at practice and during the game. Some massive tackles were put in and the freshman pairing of Hercule Porier and Nick Dale were again in devastating form.
I really enjoyed the handling and coolness under pressure from the pack especially Josh Faille and Nate Clubb, both of whom had outstanding afternoons. Austin Brautigam was everywhere and his smart decision-making and leadership was a key during this first period.
Coach Morgan continues his commentary for periods two and three
The second period saw a whole group of Young Bulls make play their first game of rugby and it was mouth-watering to see the Benson Brothers play like they both had been playing for years, with Joe Benson scoring on his debut and Matt making some great tackles and playing smart rugby. Both are true freshmen, and we are really excited to see them join the club.
The Bulls won this period 19 to 5 which was hugely encouraging for the coaches as the youngsters bolstered by some senior players to keep them together played some structured rugby against the much bigger GA side including one counter attack which resulted in Joe Benson's try. This was one of the best tries we have seen all year.
The third period was used to try out different combinations of players as the coaches look to identify the makeup of the 22 to 25 players which will make up the A side squad for league play. The visitors won this period 15 to 5, and the Bulls group looked disjointed most of the session. But as we talked about it afterwards, lots of changes, some of which are positional others involving personnel, always make for a lack of consistency and continuity.
Upcoming events for the USF Bulls
The USF Bulls will participate in a scrimmage against the Tampa Bay Krewe RFC this coming Thursday night, Jan. 24, on the Krewe’s home pitch at Cuscaden Park in Tampa.
The following weekend, on Saturday, Feb. 2, USF officially kicks off SIRC Division I-AA competition against the University of Central Florida (UCF) Knights.
This match, which will be played at the Nike and Hercules Fields on the UCF Campus in Orlando, Fla., is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. To learn more about this game and to RSVP for the match, please visit the Facebook event page.
Learn more about the USF Bulls RFC and rugby action around Florida
For more information on the USF Bulls RFC, please visit the club website and Facebook page. To learn more about rugby action across the state of Florida, please visit the website for the Florida Rugby Union, and the website and Facebook page for Rugby in Florida.