American Rugby Premiership, Women's Premier League Week 1 recaps

The five-team American Rugby Premiership kicked off its inaugural season Saturday, Sept. 13, with New York Athletic Club and Boston Rugby securing wins against Boston Irish Wolfhounds and Old Blue of New York, respectively. The Women’s Premier League also got off to a strong start with four matches throughout the weekend in both the Blue and Red conferences.

USA Rugby AIG Men’s Collegiate All-American and recent University of Florida graduate Lucas Baistrocchi made his debut for Boston in a 21-16 win against Old Blue on Randall’s Island Saturday. Richard Lobb opened the scoring for Boston in the 20th minute with a drop goal and added two penalty kicks on the day. Men’s Eagle Luke Hume and Men’s Eagles Sevens pool players Nate Augspurger and Derek Lipscomb could not make a difference for Old Blue on the score sheet, with Samuel Scroggins accounting for the team’s sole individual try.

Despite an early 7-0 deficit to Boston Irish Wolfhounds, New York Athletic Club took a 24-7 lead into halftime at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton, Mass. Eagles Brian Doyle, Troy Hall, and Mike Petri pulled on the red and white colors of NYAC in the 58-21 victory, which saw the visitors score nine tries.

The Boston Irish Wolfhounds will host the other ARP team from New York, Old Blue, Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Irish Cultural Centre. Life University will get its first taste of ARP action the same day as the Running Eagles visit New York Athletic Club’s Travers Island. Visit the American Rugby Premiership website for more information on the newest club competition.

Photo: JD Black

WPL newcomer Oregon Sports Union hosted 2013 runners-up Berkeley All Blues at Fuller’s Farm Saturday and escaped with a 17-12 win in front of the home crowd. It was all All Blues in the first half, possession-wise, though ORSU managed to keep the match scoreless in the first 40-minute half. ORSU opened the scoring in the second half only to relinquish the lead to an All Blues try and conversion. ORSU eventually took control of the match and held on for the win.

The San Diego Surfers visited the Glendale Raptors at Infinity Park Saturday in a strong performance from the home side, a 52-14 win. “Player of the Match” Gedda Rodriguez-Howard set up multiple tries and scored one of her own in the victory.

“Her passing and decision-making, whilst not bad last week, were almost unrecognizable this week,” Raptors Head Coach Michael Fealey told infinityparkatglendale.com. “There was obviously a light bulb moment at some point during practice this week because she was like a different player.”

Reigning WPL Champions Twin Cities Amazons felt the pressure as defending title-holders from Atlanta Harlequins – a second-year team in the competition – at Eagan Community Center Sunday, Sept. 14, but proved their credentials with a 38-12 win. Stacey Bridges and Lynelle Kugler returned to the “’Zons” after a month in France at the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014, where the Women’s Eagles finished sixth. Kugler scored two tries in the win, while USA Rugby AIG Women’s Collegiate All-American Jacie Vonada kicked four successful conversions.

Continuing the home team trend, DC Furies defeated New York RC, 25-10, at Signal Hill Park in Virginia Sunday. After one try early, the Furies were forced into multiple substitutions in the first half and still managed to hold a 15-0 lead at the half. Two quick tries from the visitors brought the match down to the wire, but a late penalty kick and follow-up converted try stretched the final score.

Tied atop the Blue Conference with five points apiece, the Amazons and Furies will meet in Minnesota Sunday, Sept. 21, while Red Conference leader Glendale will travel to Oregon for a match against ORSU Saturday, Sept. 20. The other matchups for Week 2 include the All Blues and Surfers in an all-California, Blue Conference matchup and an East Coast battle between the Harlequins and New York. Click here for more information on the Women’s Premier League and to watch full match replays during the 2014 season.