April 26, 2016
Austin Huns lose 7-24 to Austin Blacks
Photo: Norma Salinas Photography
Austin Huns Press Release: April 26, 2016 by Thierry Daupin
The Austin Huns faced their crosstown rival Austin Blacks this past Saturday on a hot, sunny day at Nixon Lane. The Huns were looking to avenge their road loss to the Blacks earlier in the year in what was the final home game of the 2016 season. USA Rugby flew in national panel referee Jim Rogers to call the match, and the hosts had a professional film crew on hand to capture the action. The game itself did not disappoint, providing plenty of action and drama.
The Blacks opened the scoring with a successful penalty kick from center Patrick Sullivan three minutes in. The Huns were on the wrong side of the penalty count early, getting punished for infractions at the breakdown. Sullivan converted another penalty at the 9 minute mark to give the Blacks a six point lead. A few minutes later the Blacks hurt themselves when Tim Howard was shown a yellow card for foul play. Although it appeared he may not have been the guilty party, Huns received a deserved man advantage that they put to good use. Now trailing 0-9 thanks to another Sullivan penalty, the Huns stormed into the Blacks’ half. Flyhalf Lomani Tongotongo led the charge, breaking tackles and splitting the Blacks’ defense and appearing certain to score under the posts only to lose the ball in the try zone. Still, Huns dominated the ensuing scrum and kept the pressure on. “Mani” put the Huns on the front foot again with another strong run, dragging multiple defenders with him. Scrum half Shawn Cox picked up at the ruck and attacked the depleted fringe defense to score inside the right post. Fullback Thierry Daupin converted. As the Blacks sin bin expired the score was now 7-9 after 23 minutes of play.
The game now settled down into grueling physical contest. Having adjusted to the referee’s insistence on discipline at the breakdown, the Huns were winning the battle for both territory and possession. Both teams tested the others back three with high kicks, and the big hits drew cheers from the crowd. With about 10 minutes left in the half, Blacks’ center Sullivan went off with a kneed injury. A few minutes later, Blacks openside Seth Saunders went off with a shoulder injury after a massive clean out by Tongotongo. Still, the Huns were unable to convert their advantage into points, and the half ended with Huns trailing 7-9.
The second half began with more of the same. The Blacks looked to go wide, and several times threatened to break out only to be foiled by handling errors. The Huns played a more direct game, battering away at the Blacks’ defense with their forwards and the midfield of Tongotongo, Sani Taylor, and Sam Feldman. After 15 minutes, the Blacks finally broke through, with center Levi Kereti scoring a well earned try. Flyhalf Stephen Jones, kicking in place of the injured Sullivan, converted to give the Blacks a 7-16 lead as the game entered its final phase.
The Huns began to make tactical substitutions, bringing on Troy Spencer, Alex Liles, and Colin Bugge. The Blacks sent speedster Pierce Reed into the fray. Momentum changed when flyhalf Tongotongo picked up an ankle injury. Although he tried to play through it before finally coming off, the Huns began to struggle without his tactical kicking and bruising runs. With only 9 minutes to play, Reed delivered the telling blow, stepping his way through the cover defense to put the visitors up 7-21. Jones added a penalty at full time to close out the match 7-24.
Huns finish the 2016 season on May 7th with an away match vs. the Griffins, and will then start preparing for the 2016 7s season.
Huns 7 Blacks 24 (7-9 at half)
Tries: Kereti, Reed
Penalties: Sullivan (3), Jones
About HUNS Rugby Football Club
The Huns Rugby Football Club was founded in 1972 and is one of the first rugby clubs of its kind in Central Texas. Over more than 40 years, the club has developed an organization and a culture that have produced winning teams, first class coaches and players. The Huns’ training and competition fields are unmatched by any other in the region. For many years now The Huns Rugby football club remains one the largest men’s clubs in the United States, competing in all 3 National USA Rugby 15s divisions and the National 7s division.