Nashotah, WI–For all the blows the Chargers and the Bruisers have delivered to each other in 7s rugby, they’ve rarely met in the 15s format. Hamilton lost their first WGR-sanctioned game in team history, a pre-season match in 2017, but were able to knock the Bruisers out of the 2019 15s playoffs with a 44-7 win. This weekend’s game played out more like that playoff contest, as Hamilton dispatched the Bruisers by a final of 31-7.
The wet morning grass led to a slew of knock ons, especially by Hamilton players, that slowed down both team’s offenses in the first half, but Hamilton was able to strike first with the Bruisers pinned back deep in their own end. The ball got loose in the in-goal area, and Olivia George (12) was able to get her hands on it for the try.
The first half closed out with a try-saving tackle by Hamilton fullback, Caitlyn Diemen (10), one of many she made during the game.
Rachel Rank (12) but the team up 14-0 by returning the opening kick off of the half. Not long after with the Bruisers driving, Hamilton won a defensive ruck. Izzy Niebler (12) had a tough run, offloaded to Camille Torres (12) who sent a pass to Paige Smolik (11) for a long run and score.
The Bruisers used some “ground and pound” to get back in the game with a try, bringing the score to 21-7.
The Bruisers had the ball deep in their own end and were facing a relentless attack from the Chargers. Rachel Rank was able to pull a Bruiser out of bounds to create a lineout. Ronny Ruedinger (12) passed the ball short to George who was able to score her second try.
Maja Desai (11) used the advantage earned after a Bruiser knock on to score her first career try in 15s rugby and the last points scored in the game.
Out of respect to the developing players on both sides of the ball, we traditionally don’t report results/scores of exhibition matches, but we wanted to make a special shoutout to Luci Hauser for scoring in the JV game, Peyton Krenz for making a conversion, and to all of the other JV players who became the first Hamilton JV side to win an exhibition game in the team’s six-year history.