HEAD TO FIRST NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP JUNE 3RD AGAINST NEW YORK ATHLETIC CLUB (NYAC)
The Huns Positioned to be First Team in Texas to Bring Back a D1 National Championship
Austin, TX (May 25, 2017). The Austin Huns head to their first National Championship on Saturday, June 3, 2017, in Glendale, Colorado, for a highly anticipated match against 2015 National Champions, New York Athletic Club (NYAC). The Huns are coming off of a successful weekend at the USA Club National Playoffs, where they racked up a total of 102 points over two games, with wins over rugby powerhouses San Francisco Golden Gate and Belmont Shore, 48-38 and 54-15 respectively.
It was a precise and tactical weekend of games for the Austin Huns, who were playing in the club’s first division 1 national playoff. It was a complete team effort. The most impressive aspect of the Hun’s game was arguably the forwards pack, who dominated all facets of scrums and lineouts. However, it was Danie de Villiers backline who accounted for 62 points during the weekend. Power and fitness played a major role over the two-day competition, and the Huns looked to be miles ahead of their competitors, thanks to the work of James de Lacey, Strength and Conditioning Coach.
“What a great weekend for Austin Huns Rugby Club, making history by winning the Western Conference Finals of the Division 1 competition. This weekend further proves why I and others have so much respect for the club. The team, including the players and coaching staff, approached this weekend with a professional attitude,” said Austin Huns Head Coach Eugene Eloff. “The boys played amazing in Tucson, and were able to grind out two great wins against two stout sides. I’m very proud of how far we have come as a team, a club and as individuals,” said Austin Huns Captain Lomani Tongotongo.
Day 1 vs. San Francisco Golden Gate
The Austin Huns started the knockout with a competition against San Francisco Golden Gate (SFGG). Golden Gate was undefeated in conference play this year, beating teams such Life West Gladiators, Olympic Club, and Oregon Sports Union. The Huns looked to run away with the game early, amounting two tries within the first six minutes of action and taking an early 10-0 lead. Golden Gate answered within minutes by scoring a try after a Hun mistake, and converting the try put them within three points of the Huns. Austin Hun’s fly-half drilled through a penalty kick after a Golden Gate high tackle, but a knock-on by the Huns put Golden Gate in attacking position, which they capitalized on and took a 14-13 lead. A couple of back-and-forth tries, and a penalty kick by the Huns ends the half 21-21.
The Austin Huns opened the second half with three uncontested tries before San Francisco Golden Gate could find a bandage to stop the bleeding and close the gap to 38-28. Huns and Golden Gate each answer with a try in the last 15 minutes, but Golden Gate ultimately falls to the Red River champions. “Going into the first match against San Francisco Golden Gate was very hard, but our team stuck to our structure and got the results we wanted,” said Austin Huns Head Coach Eugene Eloff.
Day 2 vs. Belmont Shore
Surprisingly, the Austin Huns fielded the same 23-man roster for day two of competition despite having a fresh bench and five alternates on the roster. Nevertheless, the Huns looked refreshed, focused, and more dominant than the previous day. The Huns were off to a quick 10-point lead after a try by winger Giovanni Bonilla and a penalty kick by Guillimin. Belmont Shore dotted down their first try in the twenty-fourth minute. The Huns and Belmont traded penalty kicks, and the Huns went into halftime up 16-8 in the tightly contested competition.
Neither team made halftime substitution, which benefited the Huns who were clearly the fittest team. The Huns stole the opening kickoff, put together a couple of quick phases, then vice-captain and flanker Hanco Germishuys opened the floodgates for the Huns with a try in 38 seconds of play. Filled with adrenaline, the Austin Huns went on to score four more tries before Belmont Shore would squeeze into the try zone in the 69th minute. The Huns closed out the game with yet another try and routed Belmont Shore 54-15 in the national semi-final to solidify their spot in the national championship.
TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!
The Austin Huns now must prepare for the first National Championship appearance in the club’s history. “When we started back in October, we set ourselves a goal, and it was to win the national championship. Now we are one step away from achieving that goal. Just one more step to climb, and we will do that together,” said Tongotongo. Fortunately, the team has no serious injuries, only bumps and bruises. Austin Huns will face the 2015 National Champions New York Athletic Club (NYAC) on June 3, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. MT in Glendale, Colorado. The Huns look to be the first team in Texas to bring back a national championship. The Championship game will be streamed on therugbychannel.tv