USA Rugby South Release
Austin Outlaws 38 – 34 USA South Panthers, Austin, Texas, Dec 4, 2021
After a significant Covid layoff, USA Rugby South Panthers traveled to Austin Gilgronis Outlaws where 10 players earned their first South cap. Richard Shore, (Rugby ATL 404) captained the team with Jamal Hadley (Old Blue) as vice captain.
Austin showed its intent early to be aggressive at the defensive breakdown and happy to have their forwards offload after contact.
Austin utilized a 5-meter scrum to set up a forward pick and go for the first points of the day. Minutes later after punishing the Austin defense deep into their territory a dropped pass led to an 80-meter scoop and score by the Austin back line. After 10 minutes the score was 14-0 to the Outlaws. The Panthers were quickly back into the Austin red zone for a brutal series of forward ground and pound rugby. After 13 phases within the 5 meter zone the Panthers cracked the strong Austin defense with flanker Austin Grant (Old White) pushing over with help for new cap David Truxal (Macon). At the 14-minute mark Austin once again turned defense into offense with crisp offloading between forwards and backs for a 40-meter 5 phase try (21-5). Again, the South countered by driving to the goal line with club teammates Jamal Hadley pushing James Sheridan (Old Blue) over for the pick and go try. Rookie fly half Matt Mairowitz (Miami Tridents) was able to hit a high hook to sneak the ball over for the conversion (21-12). After the 20-minute mark the Austin wing powered through multiple missed tackles to complete a 6 phase 60 meter try in the corner (26-12).
Some second half replacements for USA Rugby South included Germain Jalil (Miami Tridents) and Bryan Todman (Palm Beach) at prop for Sheridan and Zach Jessell (404), Ryan Rey (Golden Gate) for David Truxal at lock, Zach McAfee (Old White) at flanker and player coach Zach Miller (Old White) at 15 with David Coleman (Rocky Gorge) moving from 15 to 11 replacing rookie wing Gonzalo Torres Garcia (Miami Tridents).
A scrum penalty allowed 8 man Maciu Koroi (Old White) to quick tap and pass to Mairowitz who put through a beautiful grubber just missing Panther hands in goal. Austin managed a clearance kick to give Miller his first touch which led to an immediate folding of Austin’s scrumhalf and Panther ball back within the Austin 22. After consecutive deep runs off turnover ball by both teams, outside center Sam Trammel took an inside ball, fended two Outlaws and beat two others with his feet for a score between the posts (26-19). Matt Fontana (Atlanta Renegades) took over at hooker and had an immediate impact. Another scrum penalty allowed for Koroi to rumble for 20 meters, carrying Outlaws with him. Ill discipline allowed for Mairowitz to nudge over a kick bringing the score to 26-22. The last 20 minutes turned out to be the most dynamic and exciting of the day for both teams with a tight scoreline and fresh legs. Austin pushed over the line with forwards but could not convert leading to a 31-22 score with less than 10 minutes left. Austin had a sublime turnover and an 80-meter run that saw Coleman complete a try saving tackle. A number of phases later an old school tap and go from inside the 10-meter line saw the Outlaws over the line (38-22). Directly from kickoff, the ball was worked to the Outlaw line where Austin Grant returned the favor with a tap and go try himself (38-29). The last 5 minutes was the grittiest and most representative of Panther rugby. The South took a scrum at the opponent 22 and worked the ball to the touchline in two passes. Rookie scrumhalf Mauro Pettenari then fended two defenders for a 30-meter gain. After 10 phases inside the Outlaw 22 with 4 injured Panthers being tended to by trainers, it was Pettenari to Mairowitz, passing behind two dummy runners in McAfee and Fontana, and over Austin defenders to the hands of Coleman who dots it down in the corner (38-34). Champagne rugby but just short.