Wheeling Jesuit Gains Rugby Win Against Delaware

October 31, 2015

Wheeling Jesuit Gains Rugby Win Against Delaware


Logos: University of Delaware, Wheeling Jesuit University

Doug Coil

University of Delaware Men’s Rugby v. Wheeling Jesuit Varsity Rugby, Newark, DE, October 30, 2015

Delaware entered the match with a 4-2 record. They had wins against St Joe’s, Princeton, Rowan and Rutgers and losses to Kutztown and Penn State.

Wheeling Jesuit entered the match 4-3 with wins against Cincinnati, Iona, St. Bonaventure and Buffalo and losses to Penn State, Army and Kutztown. They also were ranked 10th in a recent D1A Rugby poll.

Wheeling Jesuit is part of the D1A Rugby East Conference, while Delaware was formerly part of this Conference and is playing this year as an independent. They hope to rejoin the Conference next year.

The stage was set for a match that did not disappoint in action for a packed crowd lining the Delaware sidelines.

Wheeling Jesuit kicked off to Delaware who attacked into Wheeling Jesuit territory with multiple phases. A knock on thwarted their momentum and Wheeling Jesuit won a scrum and began their own attacks which culminated in a try by Jamie Barlow in the corner. Brandon Stine converted and had a 7-0 lead. (7′)

Once again Wheeling Jesuit attacked with Brandon Stine racing down to within 5 meters before Chris Mattina made a saving tackle. A short time later Hugh McAllister punched in another try. The conversion was missed by Stine. (0-12, 10′)

On the restart, the kick went to Zach Reichenbach, who raced down the sidelines untouched for a try. Wheeling Jesuit was threatening to seal the match very early in taking a 17-0 lead. A difficult conversion was missed by Stine.

Seventeen minutes into the match, Chris Mattina would get Delaware’s first score with a penalty kick to narrow the score to 3-17.

Wheeling Jesuit answered back quickly as Killian Gause attacked to within 20 meters. A short time later, Wheeling Jesuit had numbers and Killian Gause touched down for a try. Again the conversion was wide by Stine. (3-22, 27′)

Delaware had another opportunity to score with 5 minutes to go before the half, but a Chris Mattina penalty kick went wide. Three minutes later, Delaware was able to attack and moved deep into the red zone. Will Baker dove in for a try. The conversion by Mattina went wide right.

Halftime Score: Delaware 8 Wheeling Jesuit 22.

Delaware kicked to begin the second half and won the restart. Tom Abrams was able to advance the ball to within 5 meters. Ivan Turner went into in goal, but was held up and a 5 meter scrum resulted. Wheeling Jesuit defended well, and was able to get the ball back for their own 5 meter scrum in defense. Wheeling Jesuit won the ball, but Mike Gorman was able to pick up a loose ball and off loaded the ball to Chris Mattina for a try. Tonight was not the night for kickers as Mattina’s conversion was off target. (13-22, 45′)

The next 15 minutes resulted in attacks from both sides in this fast paced match. Hard hitting was the norm and there was crisp passing from the backs.

Sixty minutes into the match, Ivan Turner was sent to the bin after deemed to have intentionally played the ball off the ground in a ruck.  Two minutes later, Michael Fitzpatrick found a seam and then centered the ball under the posts. Stine converted and Wheeling Jesuit increased their lead. (13-29, 62′)

Delaware answered back as Nick Jimenez scampered down the pitch hugging touch. After an ensuing ruck, Delaware had numbers which resulted in a Chris Mattina try in the corner, his second on the night. He then slotted a conversion from near touch. (20-29, 66′)

At seventy minutes, Delaware was back to full strength. Attacks form both sides continued on either side of mid field. With Delaware on the attack beginning inside their 22 meters, Joe Roberts advanced the ball and was tip tackled. Wheeling Jesuit’s Hugh McAllister was sent to the bin. (75′) Wheeling Jesuit would miss him for the remainder of the match.

Delaware was able to attack deep into Wheeling Jesuit territory, but the attack did not result in a further score. Wheeling Jesuit was also able to advance the ball, but their attack also did not result in further points.

The final score was Delaware 20 Wheeling Jesuit 29.

Both teams employed interesting forward strategy. Wheeling Jesuit when given an opportunity to choose between a Lineout and a scrum, chose the Lineout. Often they would be clearly able to win the ball with only a few exceptions. Delaware’s scrum functioned well all match. They also won most of their lineouts. Several lineouts were not straight by both teams.

The Wheeling Jesuit backs were able to swing the ball wide, but Delaware had good cover defense. Delaware’s sevens’ flair was often evident with crisp passes inside and out. Delaware is likely to field a very formidable sevens team in the Spring.

Wheeling Jesuit proved that they are a top 10 D1A Rugby team. Delaware proved that they are back playing high quality rugby this season. I think Delaware has sent a message this season that they are deserving of returning to the Rugby East Conference next year.

Delaware Squad

HC Struan Murray Starters: 1 Matt Hess 2 Jack Finnegan 3 Nick Lintner 4 Asaad Plummer 5 Justin Elliott 6 Will Baker 7 Michael Gorman 8 Ivan Turner 9 Matt Cilmi 10 Tom Abrams 11 Karl Malate 12 John McCurdy 13 Matt Ramirez 14 Nick Jimenez 15 Chris Mattina (c) Reserves: (18) Grayson Haynes  17 Dylan Duffy (23) Hunter Hastings (20) Tim Schroeder (16) Joe Roberts 22 Matt Romeo (21) Dan Budd

Wheeling Jesuit Squad

HC Tal Bayer Starters: 1 Cecil Rich 2 Lebo Ngwenya 3 Frank Rolf 4 Zach Reichenbach 5 Hugh McAllister 6 Orie Mann 7 Sam Weir 8 Andrew Waggoner 9 Dom Piazza 10 Michael Fitzpatrick 11 Brandon Stine 12 Chris Vakasiskakala 13 Jamie Barlow 14 Killian Gause 15 Aaron Gray Reserves: 16 Max Lum 17 Andrew Walker 18 Chris Ghering 19 Cody Gulasey 20 Marcus Pointer 21 Ryan Maguire 22 Carter Landry 23 Nick Iavivoli

DJCoil Rugby – You Tube Channel

I want to thank Tal Bayer who took the time to be interviewed prior to the match about the Wheeling Jesuit University Varsity Rugby Program.


Prior to the Delaware’s first match against Saint Joseph’s University, I interviewed Struan Murray, Head Coach, about the program and also Chris Mattina, Captain. Their interviews at that time, discuss program goals and aspirations.

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