Monthly Archives: February 2013

Logistics for KSU and Georgia Tech Weekend

RoadTripDeparting:  Central at 5:00am Saturday AM – Central Parking lot

KSU (A and B)

Kick-off:  2:30

Field:  3200 George Busbee parkway Kennesaw, GA 30144


Trainer available on site

Social: Immediately to follow (drinks only). (We will bring Gatorade.)  Brewsters grille: 3595 canton road. Marietta, GA 30066

Team Dinner:

Hotel:  Ramada Marietta:  1175 Powers Ferry Drive Pl S.E.  Marietta, GA,  30067

Indoor Pool, bring shorts for swimming.  Breakfast at the hotel.


Georgia Tech (A and B)

Kick-off: 12:00 pm

Field Location: Austin T. Walden Middle School, 320 Irwin St NE, Atlanta, GA 30312

Referee: Vince Lucey

No Trainer

Social:  Immediately following  (Pizza and drinks)  Rocky Mountain Pizza, 1005 Hemphill Ave NW  Atlanta, GA 30318

We will depart for Memphis directly from the social.

Should be home before 10:00pm Sunday

MTSU Outlasts Memphis in Bruising Match

MTSUMurfreesboro, TN Memphis traveled to MTSU on February 23… a perfect day for rugby.  Wind was gently blowing from the west with a temperature around 50.  The only problem was the pitch which had become a bog.  Due to the recent rains, most of the middle and western side of the pitch was spongy and soft, resulting in poor footing.  However, the Tigers thought that we could use even the soft pitch to our advantage.  The pitch dimensions were in our favor with full 60 meter width.

Top referee Jerry McLemore had the whistle, and thought he has lost a step from his days as a national panel referee, he did an excellent job of controlling the match and letting the players play.

When looking at the size of the MTSU team we knew we needed to make them run.  Our plan was to use our speed and agility to make the larger forwards chase us all day long. (And dang, they were big.)  Three had played football and were free as seniors to play some rugby before graduation.

Though MTSU scored first, our lads were not deterred.  We felt good about our chances and know that we had a shot.  MTSU scored again bringing the score to 14 – 0 before we could stop the bleeding.  However, it was clear that the bog and fast pace was taking a toll on the larger MTSU players.

MTSU attempted to us the kicking game, but we were able to field and properly counter their efforts.  While Kyle Baker was countering from the fullback spot, he opted to set the ruck instead of kicking ahead.  Unfortunately, one of the footballers took out his right leg.  On sideline evaluation I thought he had broken his femur.  This was also the assessment of the trainer.  We opted to take him to the hospital for evaluation and treatment.

While I was getting the car, the Tiger forwards moved the ball slowly and carefully down the field with fast rucking and excellent phase play. The MTSU forwards were getting winded and leg weary.  As we got close to their line, Ian Curry fed Freddy Hodge the ball from the base of a ruck. Freddy broke three tackles and found himself in the try zone.  With presence of mind, he headed for the posts and just got down before he lost his head to a very motivated MTSU player attempting to jar the ball loose.  5 points for Freddy and a conversion by Phil Elliott.  However, the ball was blood soaked.  Who was bleeding?  Freddy.  Somehow, he badly cut his hand while breaking tackles.  The gash was so deep that he needed to be taken to the hospital for stitches.  So off to the hospital I go with Freddy and Kyle.

With 3 minutes left in the half, Phil slots a penalty kick making the score 10 – 14.  Not a bad position to be in.  We get the breeze in the second half and we trust our speed and agility.

Yes we did! In the sixth minute of the second half, Phil lofted a kick to Thomas Strickland on the wing. Thomas picked the ball up on a dead run and took his points in the corner.  Memphis up for the first time 15-14.

The Tigers fight hard with MTSU for 20 more minutes and are holding their own until MTSU picks up the ball on an errant kick.  They charge our line but are stopped by Scott Smith by a crushing tackle.  However, too many big players are too close to the line.  Despite our efforts the MTSU bruisers bash over the line.

MTSU then knew the proper strategy.  They were gassed and could not run or chase kicks.  They decided to keep the ball and power straight ahead.  The Tigers attempted to poach the ball, stop their momentum and do whatever they could to keep MTSU from moving forward, but physics won out.  With the ball perpetually in the hands of MTSU, they eventually scored again.  We could not mount an offensive attack since we didn’t have the ball.  Our players were exhausted from playing defense for too long.  We were starting to lose players to injury and everyone was feeling the effects of the punishment.

Despite the punishing attack, the Tigers played with heart to the very end.  Doing whatever they could do to control the ball and get back on top.  However, it was just not meant to be.

There was no B match due to MTSU being short of players.  They were very gracious hosts taking us out to feed us and revive us following the tough match.

Hospital Report:  Kyle did not break his leg but suffered a severe thigh bruise.  It was so severe that a Dilaudid injection did not help the pain.  Freddy got 11 stitches in his hand to close his wound.  Both were discharged to return home.

As I interviewed the players and coaches after the match to get a feel for how we played, it was clear that had played our best game of the season.  We played the top team in the SIRC north division and we held them close until the very end.  In fact, their coach was taken aback by our play and feared that we were going to take the match.   We have come a long way this season.  We are a better team each week.

With this match, we have finished the first half of the season.  We will play each team again and will add Old Storm as a friendly.  Five more matches to make this season right.  We go to Atlanta this weekend to meet Kennesaw State and Georgia Tech. Four matches in two days.  We need all hands on deck for this weekend.

Logistics for MTSU – February 23, 2013

MTSUMTSU only has enough players for one match. So, we are only playing our conference registered players in this weekend.  All club members who have paid their dues will be allowed to travel, but we can only play those registered with the conference in this match.

Players:  1. Jamie Perry 2. Ian Curry 3. Mark Williams 4. Jonathan Bauer 5. Kasra Koleini 6. Adam Hairston 7. Kian Koleini 8. Segen Marais 9. Tyler Mann 10. Phil Elliott 11. Thomas Strickland 12. Josiah Shipley 13. Cameron Wilson 14. Freddy Hodges 15. Kyle Baker 16. Eric Ofinowicz 17. Chris Lemons 18. August Myers 19. Scott Smith 20. John Elmore

(There will be 4 matches next weekend in Atlanta. Everyone gets to play.)

Meet at Central lot at 7:00am Saturday.  Non-selected players are welcome to travel if they have paid their dues.  We’ll set the car pool that AM based on who comes.

Field:  2111 East Main Street, Murfreesboro TN

Referee:  Jerry McLemore

There will be a trainer on site


Georgia Southern Bests Memphis Tigers

Georgia SouthernStatesboro, Georgia –  Last weekend, twenty-seven brave souls traveled 11 hours to Statesboro, Georgia to take on Georgia Southern.  Southern, known for its hard running forwards and big backs, was prepared to play this match.  Memphis also came prepared to play with a new game plan of fluid phase play and positional kicking.  Unfortunately for all involved, the weather turned foul the day of the match and we kicked off with the temperature at 43 degrees and winds at 35 miles per hour straight down the pitch.  The team with the wind had a definite advantage in field position and Georgia had the hill and the wind the first half.

Memphis kicked off and Southern immediately put the ball into the wind and over the heads of the wingers.  We were back against our goal line in two plays.  At the 2 minute mark, Southern plowed over from a 5 meter scrum to draw first blood. The Tigers fought up the hill time and time again only to give up the ball and watch Southern kick out of trouble.    It was a tremendous battle and the wind and hill proved too much trouble.  By the half, the Tigers were down 36-0.

But, now we get the hill.  And the hill proved to be a great asset.  Within the first few minutes of the second half Josiah Shipley broke free and put the Tigers on the board.  Phil Elliott scored the next points and Kasra Koleini took the conversion.

The strategy that seemed to work was to work the ball wide, keeping the defense stretched, and when they were too flat, to kick over their heads.  This led to Cameron breaking free for a score.  Phil took the conversion.

Georgia Southern could feel the momentum shift and smartly kept the ball in their hands.  They slowly and methodically kept the ball in their hands, working up the hill.  The Tigers were desperate to get  back on offense and put in some fresh legs.  However, Southern demonstrating excellent ball control made it all the way up the hilll and took another try.

John Elmore took the final points for the Tigers on a nice open field run.  Kyle Baker converted to give the Tigers 26 points on the day.  This was the most points the tigers had scored in a conference match this season, but it was not enough to take the match.  Southern won the day 41-26.

At kick-off for the “B” match, the temperature was below 30 and the wind continued to blow.  A decision was made to play two 15 minute halves.  The weather was brutal.

The Tiger B’s proved tough again, scoring their first points up hill.  Josiah took the points on a nice long run.  In the second half the Tigers used the hill to their advantage and scored in quick succession.  Kyle lifted the ball in the air and August Myers caught it on the hop… taking it in for a score.  Kyle made the conversion.  Shortly, Brandon Worley barreled over several tacklers to get a tough try under the posts.  Kyle chipped in the kick.  In the final seconds Southern put a try in the corner to end the friendly.  Tiger B’s win big in a 30 minute match, 28-7.  (The future looks bright.)

It was a tough trip, but there was no bitching by the players.  They stayed loose during the trip, took on a tough team and kept their heads up high.  Now that the long trip is done we have easier weekends ahead.

We’re off to MTSU this weekend.  I’ll keep you posted.

Logistics for Georgia Southern February 16, 2013 (Away)

Georgia SouthernMeeting at Central Ave parking lot Saturday AM at 5:30

Match site:  2687 Bunny Akins Blvd  Statesboro, Ga 30458.

Match kickoff:  7:00pm

Referee:  Kurt Franciskovich

Hotel: Baymont Inn and Suites  425 S. Main Street  Statesboro, GA  PH:1-912-489-7368

If we get there early, we will check in the hotel and change.

After the match, we will have time to clean up and eat before we go to the social.

Starting side:  1. Jamie Perry 2. Ian Curry 3. Mark Williams 4. Jonathan Bauer 5. Kasra Kolieni 6. Adam hairston 7. Kian Koleini 8. Segen Marais 9. Tyler Mann 10. Phil Elliott 11. Thomas Strickland 12. Josiah Shipley 13. Cameron Walton 14. Freddy Hodges 15. Scott Smith 16. Chris Lemons 17. August Myers 18. Kyle Baker 19. John Elmore 20. Trey Copeland 21. Anthony Smith

Second Match:  Brandon Worley, Rob, JC Russell, DJ


Memphis Tigers Fall to Georgia Tech


Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech

Memphis, Tennessee  The Memphis Tigers hosted Georgia Tech on February 9 at Memorial field and came up short.  Well…. we just ran out of time.  If the Tigers would have had a few more minutes we might have come out on top, but it was not to be.

The Georgia Tech pack outweighed the Tigers by 20 plus pounds per man, but the Tigers could not resist the temptation to run at them.  This certainly was not the tactic that was in our best interest.  The larger but less fit players were not forced to run, allowing them to conserve their energy.  They came to Memphis hoping for a forward match and we gave them one.  We just needed more time to win that battle.

The wet field made ball handling difficult for both sides and the referee (Eric Fleming) had his hands full dealing with the unsettled and sloppy play.  However, the lads put together a rather entertaining display of rugby with some nice runs and solid tackling by both sides.

The Tigers demonstrated that they had learned their lessons and only had a few offside calls.  We’ve been working on phase play and the benefit of our training was to learn how to remain onsides.

High kicks were tough to handle by both sides due to the wet ball.  We may have set a record for scrums.  I believe there were close to 40 on the day.  Despite the poor footing and being outweighed the Tigers held their own in the scrums, winning most of ours and a few of theirs.

Lineouts were much improved in this match which was a great relief to the coaching staff.  We have counted lineout play as one of our stronger assets.  We need that platform for our attack.

The Tigers did get on the board this game with a nice breakaway run by Freddy Hodges.  Phil Elliott converted the kick.  Phil notched penalty kick at the 26th minute in the first half for three more.  Captain Kian Koleini scored late in the second half and his brother Kasra converted the try.  The final was Georgia Tech 31-17 but the play felt much closer than that.  We allowed two easy tries early in the second period that put us on the back foot.  Despite being behind, the Tigers demonstrated that they were not going to give up until the final whistle.

When the Killer “Bs” took the pitch they had an entirely different attitude.  They played a free flowing game and racked up 49 points to nil.  (The future is bright!  I keep saying that.) The scoring was as follows.

In the first half Bert Milam scored his first try for the Tigers.  Mark Williams took a try just before the first half.  Both were converted by Kyle Baker for a score of 14-0 at the half.  The second half was a track meet in the mud.  In quick succession, Jonathan Bauer, Willie Lacey, Brandon Worley, Chris Lemons and Tezman Mosley scored tries.  Kasra Koleini converted all kicks and some were at a tough angle.  Final score 49-0.  (The future is bright.)

We will re-group and head for Georgia Southern this weekend.  We’ll be traveling for three weeks and will host Georgia Southern at home in a few weeks.  Come on out and support the Tigers.

Logistics for Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech

The University of Memphis hosts Georgia Tech this Saturday, February 9.  Kick-off is moved up to noon.  We will be playing two matches so we need all hands on deck.

Field: Memorial Field

Referee:  Eric Fleming

Starting side:  1. Jamie Perry 2. Ian Curry 3. Eric Ofinowicz 4. Jonathan Bauer 5. Kasra Koleini 6. Adam Hairston 7. Kian Koleini 8. Segen Marais 9. Tyler Mann 10. Phil Elliott 11. Freddy Hodges 12. Josiah Shipley 13. Cameron Walton 14. Anthony Smith 15. Scott Smith

Reserves: 16. Chris Lemons 17. Mark Williams 18. August Moon 19. Kyle Baker 20. Thomas Strickland 21. John Elmore 22. Bert Milan

Social:  Ubee’s Restaurant, after the matches

Tigers Fall in SIRC Opener

Adam Hairston

Adam Hairston


Memphis, TN. Memphis took on Kennesaw State University (KSU) on Saturday, February 4 under cloudy skies and 45 degrees.  Other than a brisk wind from the west, this was perfect rugby weather.   KSU, fresh from a loss to Georgia Tech, was itching for a fight.  They brought emotion, passion and some good solid rugby skills to the match.  However, early on it was clear that we could play with these boys.  If Memphis had any concerns about whether we belonged in the SIRC, they were dashed within the first 10 minutes.  Memphis ran, rucked and handled everything that KSU could dish out.  We just could not get our offense going.

Due to some technical problems our time of possession was severely curtailed which eventually led to us losing the match.  We had serious problems with the 8/scrumhalf/flyhalf connection that we will have to sort out.

The final score was 24 – 0, but the match was actually closer than that.  We held them to 24, we just couldn’t score our normal 30 to 40 points.  Once we correct a few technical and mental errors, this will be a different match.  The good news is that we get another crack at KSU in a few weeks… an opportunity that we look forward to.

There were plenty of bright spots in the match.  Scott Smith distinguished himself with several bone crushing, try saving tackles.  Some hits were on players twice his size and he took them down like scythe cuts wheat.  Anthony Smith, Ian Curry, Jamie Perry and Josiah Shipley were also aggressive at the tackle and the ruck.  Jonathan Bauer made sure the KSU scrum half was on the ground after every lineout (I was afraid someone was going to punch Bauer.) and Adam Hairston ripped a beast out of a ruck so hard I

Cameron Walton

Cameron Walton


thought he killed him.  Cameron Walton distinguished himself as a hard runner and tough defender.  It is clear that he loves this game.  Eric Ofinowicz stepped up and started at prop for the first time.  He did an admirable job and got better with each scrum.

In the second match, the Killer Bs avenged the loss and helped salve the wound of the loss.  They also proved that the future of Tiger Rugby is bright.  We have a lot of depth that we can develop and once they are fully trained we will be in really good shape.  The Bs took the match 14-8 with scores from Jamie Perry in the first period and Tezman Mosley in the second.  Kasra Koleini converted a tough kick and Kyle Baker converted a nice chip shot to take his first points as a Tiger.   Welcome to the party, Kyle.

We take on Georgia Tech this weekend.  They are supposed to be bigger than KSU, but that just means that they fall harder.  We are working on a game plan to use our speed and fitness.  We will be ready.

Come out and support the Tigers this week.  Kickoff will be at noon on Saturday. You will not want to miss this match.

Final Score A: 24-0 (KSU)

Cameron and Josiah Shipley gang tackle

Cameron and Josiah Shipley gang tackle


Final Score B: 14-8 (Memphis)

Match Official:  Eric Fleming


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Kian Koleini on an 8 break

Kian Koleini on an 8 break



Scott Smith

Scott Smith