Charlotte Women Win D2 National Title
June 10, 2018
Article courtesy of USA Rugby
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Glendale, CO.- History was made today as the women from Charlotte Rugby, were able to stave off a determined St. Louis Sabres side, 46-28 winning the first national championship in their club's history.
After the match, Charlotte's coach Brad Richard was full of praise for both his team and opposition, "It's a huge honor to represent the Charlotte Rugby Club...It's extremely meaningful... St. Louis are and awesome team and were great opponents."
The first half was a saw both teams dominate periods of play, but Charlotte were able to put themselves in the driver's seat early and ride it into a half time lead. The game started with strong running from both teams, but mistakes, and a failure to clear the ball from their 22 kept the Sabres on their heels for most of the opening stages of the game. Both teams looked to swing the ball from sideline to sideline and use their speed on the outside to burn their opposition; However, it was a perfectly timed line from Charlotte's number eight and eventual MVP, Sara Davis, up the middle of the field that led to the first points of the contest. Charlotte didn't have to wait long before adding to their early lead, as just five minutes later they extended their lead due to poor discipline around the rucks.
Charlotte's backs not wanting to miss out on the action started to show off their wheels down the sidelines, but opportunities went to waste and the Sabres were able to momentarily breathe a sigh of relief. Wasn't for long though as after winning a tight head scrum the women from Charlotte got right back up on the scoreboard and found themselves up by 15.
As the clock struck 20 minutes momentum seemed to shift and St. Louis's backs who had looked threatening all game long were now cashing in on their opportunities. Poor discipline from Charlotte assisted the Sabres in their quest to get back into the contest. They marched the ball down the field, mainly thanks to brilliant directional play from their fly half Kate Kloster, and were able to narrow the lead to 8. Charlotte took offense to that and struck right back through some dynamic play from their backline too, and blew their lead back out to double digits. A strong finish in the closing minutes of the half saw St. Louis claim another try back and narrow their halftime deficit to 6.
Like a bat out of hell, Charlotte came into the second half looking to put a nail in the coffin early, and it didn't take long for them to convert. They crossed in the first five minutes, and if it hadn't been for a couple of handling errors plus some brilliant pilfers it could have been more. The Sabres, despite multiple opportunities, continued, as they had all day, to struggle when clearing their lines. This hurt them as Charlotte was once again able to cross over after spending considerable chunks of time in the Sabres 22.
Second half action continued to be played in a similar fashion with Charlotte finding free real estate down the middle of the field. Charlotte was hitting hard lines all day long and they were rewarded continuously in the second half as St. Louis was falling off tackles as fatigue began to set in. By the 60th minute Charlotte's lead had been extended out to 25 points.
But Sabres weren't going down with a fight, and showed off the offensive flair that had got them this far into the season, scoring two tries in just over five minutes to be behind by only 11 with five minutes left, and given the momentum the Sabres had, it was more than conceivable that they could snatch it at the death. Charlotte determined to not let history slip from their grasp turned the heat up on defense and turned the ball over and marched back down the field to score and claim the first national title in their history.