May 1, 2017
Austin Huns D1 Red River Champs; D2 Play Richmond FC
Photo: Norma Salinas Photography
The Austin Huns are the Red River D1 Champions and advance to the USA Rugby Club Quarterfinals where they will play against the Pacific North Champion, San Francisco Golden Gate on May 21. On May 6, the Austin Blacks will play Life West Gladiators and Belmont Shore will play OMBAC. The winners of those matches will play in the USA Rugby Club Quarterfinals. The Quarterfinals winner will then play either SFGG or the Austin Huns in the Semi-finals on May 22.
There was some surprise expressed by journalists and other rugby enthusiasts that the D1 side did not play Richmond FC, part of the English professional rugby Green King IPA Championship, and the D2 squad did not take on Houston Athletic D1 side. The Austin Huns entered the match against Houston Athletic needing a win to secure the number one seed in the Red River. The Dallas Reds could have won the division with a bonus point win over the Austin Blacks.
Several weeks ago, Rocky Gorge played their D2 squad against Wilmington and were defeated, while their D1 squad play NYAC. This seemed like a lost opportunity to play their best side against a professional team from England, but under the circumstances with the League title at stake, the rugby community can understand this decision.
Thierry Daupin clarified that the Austin Huns wanted to finish their league season and rest a few key players and minimize any chance of injury with the USA Rugby Club Nationals on the horizon.
The timing of the Richmond tour precluded playing against their first side, so the D2 squad gained valuable experience against Richmond.
Austin Huns Release: May 1, 2017
Austin Huns Advance to National Playoffs: Huns Rout HARC 95-8 and Win First D1a Conference Championship
Austin, TX (May 1, 2017). This past Saturday, April 29th, the Austin Huns played host to the Houston Area Rugby Club (HARC) for the final D1 Cup match of the season and Richmond FC in a friendly exhibition match. The Austin Huns D1, on a quest to make history, dominated HARC with a decisive 95-8 victory, and won the club’s first D1a XV’s championship in the Red River Rugby Conference.
With only one blemish on the Austin Huns D1 record this season, after underestimating HARC at the beginning of the year and scheduling the D2 to take on HARC’s D1 side, the Huns didn’t want to make the same mistake again.
The Austin Huns rested some of their regular starters, like team captain Lomani Tongotongo and vice-captain Hanco Germishuys, to allow for some much-needed recovery after a long season. Nevertheless, the Austin Huns didn’t lose their stride and came out on fire. Within the first 3 minutes of the match, outside-center Giovanni Bonilla broke two tackles and scored the Austin Huns’ first try of the match. Just minutes later, winger Justin X. Hale scampered through the defense after scooping a counter kick, scoring the Huns’ second try on the day, and one try closer to his hat-trick. The Austin Huns ran away the first half, scoring 28 points before HARC would see their first points from a penalty kick in the 32nd minute. Before the half could end, scrumhalf Aaron Boan and Hale both dotted in their second tries of the half, giving the Austin Huns a 40-3 lead after fly-half Timothee Guillimin successfully kicked his fifth conversion.
Both teams made minor lineup adjustments to start the half, but the Austin Huns were still in full control from beginning to end. Minutes after the opening kickoff, Bonilla found a break in the defense and managed to offload to insider-center Joedee Reyes, who scored his first of two tries on the day. HARC was able to gain momentum and put the Huns on their back foot midway through the second half, after pounding their way into the try zone and scoring their only try of the game. The Austin Huns seemed to take offense and went on to score seven more tries before the final whistle blew, winning 95-8 and taking the Red River Rugby Conference Championship.
“Going into this game, we knew it would not be easy. HARC played with heart and intensity the entire match, which is very positive for rugby in Texas. I think the boys that were put on the field did a great job, and it shows the depth and the commitment to good rugby at the Huns club. Now all the previous accolades are history as we go into the playoffs; we only have one opportunity, one chance to win. We have not achieved our goals yet; we are a step closer to getting to the ultimate goal of winning the National Championship. Nonetheless, I am proud of what the club has achieved in just one season. Our mental preparation, not just our physical abilities, is what will get us to the end of the season,” said Eugene Eloff
Austin Huns will join 39 teams from five divisions of senior club rugby that will be competing for a National Championship in Tucson, Arizona, May 20-21. The divisions will see two quarterfinal matchups and a semifinal matchup played at each location before the weekend winners advance to the National Championship event in Glendale June 3-4.
Tries: Justin X. Hale (3), Aaron Boan (2), Giovanni Bonilla (2), Joedee Reyes (2), Deon Minnaar, Mason Pederson, HP Moore, Peter Malcolm, Martin Knoetz, Brian Welborn
Conversion: Timothee Guillimin (8), Martin Knoetz (2)
Austin Huns D2
Austin Huns D2 had the opportunity to compete against Richmond FC in a friendly exhibition match. Richmond is one of the oldest clubs in the world, having been formed in 1861. Currently playing in the second tier of English rugby, the Greene King IPA Championship, they have five men’s teams, a veteran’s side (The Heavies), three women’s teams, and a thriving minis and youth section. It was a physical match, and many of the club’s amateur players got a chance to experience high-level rugby. Richmond won 52-0.
Upcoming Austin Huns Elite 2017 Season Games
May 13: Austin Huns vs. Rugby Utah
About Austin Huns Rugby
The Austin Huns Rugby Football Club was founded in 1972 as one of the first rugby clubs of its kind in central Texas. For more than 40 years, the Huns have developed an organization and a culture that have produced winning teams, first class coaches and players, and a training and competition facility that is unmatched by any other in the region. The club is dedicated to developing athletes for national and international rugby competition, who are also constructive and contributing members of the community. The Austin Huns take pride in their contributions to improving the City of Austin and the culture of athleticism in the United States. Visit www.austinhunsrugby.com for more information.
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Photos provided by Norma Salinas Photography