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O’Dowd Rugby Visits Las Vegas


LAS VEGAS NV-The Bishop O’Dowd High School rugby team played in the Las Vegas Invitational over the weekend, with 48 players and seven staff taking the program on the road for three days of playing and watching rugby.

The O’Dowd men’s team played two ferocious matches – first versus East High School, one of the top sides in Utah, and then versus Barrie North from Toronto Canada. As expected, East High was huge and physical, but despite the size difference the Dragons had much of the run of play. But East pulled away in the final quarter to win the match 20-5, the lone try coming from fullback Luke Ionin.

The Barrie North Vikings were typical of Canadian rugby – big and fast, dominating the transitions, playing quick ball and putting O’Dowd’s defense under immense pressure. The Dragons represented well but went down 27-7. O’Dowd’s 8th man Joshua Mannix scored the try with the conversion by Prop Enrique Moreno.

The women also had their hands full with storied rugby club Belmont Shore’s under 19 women. Our ladies played hard throughout, it was an open running game and Belmont Shores back line looked to have the measure of pace out wide. The ladies lost 38-0.

“We go to these kinds of tournaments to play tougher, faster teams. As we start to look at the business end of our season, the scorelines are not as important as playing hard for the duration. We will never see a team as big as East High, and Belmont Shore had serious pace to spare, when they moved the ball into the wide channel it was hard for us. The Canadians were great guys, they were hard and uncompromising during the match and absolute gentlemen afterwards. It was good for our kids to be a part of it,” said O’Dowd Director of Rugby Ray Lehner.

The Las Vegas Invitational is a youth, high school, college and club tournament alongside the International 7s competition. After the O’Dowd teams played Friday, we attended the International tournament at Sam Boyd Stadium. This year was a milestone as the USA men’s 7s team beat South Africa in the quarters, New Zealand in the semis and Samoa to capture the 2019 title.

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