Saturday’s a Rugby Day – 2/5/2022

We are excited to announce we will be providing weekly updates through the Chico Rugby season of how the teams fared on the past weekend. These will be written straight from the coaches of each team. These updates will be posted from youngest ruggers to oldest.

For those of you who don’t know, the Chico Oaks Rugby program will be fielding the following sides:

White Oaks (U-10), Gray Oaks (U-12), Red Oaks (middle school boys), Wild Oaks (middle school girls), Knotty Oaks (women’s club) and the Mighty Oaks (men’s club).

First up this week is Coach Ernie of the White Oaks:

I can say is that our team played in two intensive matches on Saturday. The games would go back and forth with neither team backing down. We were trying to establish a pattern of play, which was difficult to do against a tough opponent. Then the players switched to plan B, which was just to play Rugby, and they did. Our best half of the day was against the Sacramento club, Kellen and Kannon were able to find space and score. At the end of the day, we learned a valuable lesson in intensity. Moving forward, we’ll continue to work on the basics, such as tackling low, rucking, running low against the defenders, support ball carrier, and posting up on defense.  

Coach Ivan of the Gray Oaks

This weekend the Gray Oaks along with the some Wild Oak players, played an amazing game against Sac Pal.  No matter how much they were being beaten up on they stuck in there and ended up with their first win of the season.  During the game they never gave up and their heart showed in the way they played.  

Coach Mitch of the Red Oaks

The middle school boys are still searching for enough players to put out a full 15 against an opponent. We’ve been hit with the injury bug, but still adding players each week! Please pass it along.

On the pitch, the boys took on Sac Pal and Granite Bay from the Sacramento area. Both teams are well coached and hard running team. One goal was to try and establish a pattern of play as well and did a decent job in the beginning. As the match progressed, the boys got fairly tired and were not able to maintain ball long enough to work on our pattern. They did do a much better job on defense as they were lining up at last foot and launching at the “balls out” call. However we still need to work on overload recognition and spreading the field. The boys continued to play with heart and never quit! They are pretty inspiring to watch play! The coaching staff is very proud of these young men and look forward to getting them back out to practice this week and on the pitch this weekend!

Black Oaks by Coach Bill

The Chico Black Oaks High School Rugby Club took the pitch for the first time in two years at Gridley High School Saturday. The afternoon sun was warm on the grass, but the surface wasn’t too hard nor too soft. It was indeed a perfect Saturday for rugby! The format for the day was a scrimmage consisting of three twenty-minute periods. Chico supplied 16 players for the day, several of whom have never played and one who had never even been to practice. Nevertheless, the Chico side kicked the game off and went to work, the veterans supporting the team for most of the action.

Gridley made the first strike at Chico’s try zone in the early minutes of the first period, capitalizing on some of the uncertainty in the more inexperienced Chico players. Chico had good structure in the defense and intensity in the game and did improve as the game progressed with an eventual try in the second period off a lineout about ten meters out. The throw was called to the back of the line allowing the loosies to utilize the hammer to maul a few meters closer to the try line culminating in a deuce play to Nate who closed the deal with the strike across the line near the corner! The drop goal, however impressive; was unsuccessful, and so Chico settled for five.

Alas, that would be Chico’s only points on the day, with the Gridley numbers continuing to capitalize on the inexperienced Chico club. Gridley scored several more tries and clearly dominated the board; however, Chico (in this coach’s humble opinion), was clearly playing at a more advanced level with several plays in the back line and especially the forward pack. Coach Alex Triantafillou added play which was an up and over kick from center over the defense which resulted in considerable gain in field position, but Chico weren’t able to refine the play in time to get more points on the board. The final was 35-5 Gridley.

Overall Gridley with clearly more time on the pitch and numbers over Chico, had some very capable and strong runners who knew how to run and challenge inexperienced tacklers were dominant. Chico did show extraordinary promise with their ability to execute plays in the backline and in the pack. Chico won their share of lineouts and were crafty in many of the breakdowns. With a little more practice time under their belts the Chico Club promise to be formidable competition this upcoming season.

Mighty Oaks write up by President Pedro

On a beautiful 65-degree day in February, the Mighty Oaks traveled to San Jose, Ca. to take on the Silicon Valley Old Boys. The match started with the Mighty Oaks receiving the ball, but it was apparent early on that the Mighty Oaks would need all 20 of their players after losing Gabriel Galvan-Magana to what appeared to be a shoulder injury. After an exchange of runs, tackles, and kicks, the pressure of Silicon Valley broke the 0-0 tie in the twentieth minute with a try and a kick conversion to take a  7-0 lead. Silicone Valley would extend their lead in the twenty-seventh minute behind some unforced errors of the Mighty Oaks as well as some strong running by Silicone Valley to take a 14-0 lead. In the thirty-forth minute, the injury bug bit the Mighty Oaks again, losing Elijah Davis to an ankle injury. Silicon Valley would take advantage of the injury and cross the try line again in the thirty-sixth minute, extending their lead to 19-0. They would take this lead into the half. In the second half, both teams came out ready, and it showed, as both teams were able to stop some heavy pressure for their opponent. In the twenty-seventh minute into the second half, the force of Silicone Valley was finally able to break a branch of the Mighty Oaks defense to take a 26-0 advantage. The game’s final try was added in the seventy-fifth minute by Silicone Valley to give the game its final score of 33-0.

Overall the Mighty Oaks can take pride in their performance. They never gave up, even in the face of great adversity. They continued to put pressure on the defense of Silicon Valley and forced Silicon Valley to earn every meter gained. The Mighty Oaks will return to the drawing board this week at practice Tuesday and Thursday from 7-9 pm at Pleasant Valley High School. They will take their new lessons learned to Colusa for their second match on February 12.

Stay tuned later in the week for this Saturday’s schedule of match ups and where the teams are playing!


Coach Mitch

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