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Clan stomp St. Albert's seconds

First loss after two wins to kick off Edmonton Rugby Union fixtures

By: Jeff Hansen

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013 06:00 am

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  • PLAYING CATCH - Billy Thomas of the St. Albert second division team challenges the Clansmen's fullback for a fly ball in Saturday's match at Airways Park. The Clan scored 26 unanswered points after trailing 8-5 in the first half to win 31-8.
    PLAYING CATCH - Billy Thomas of the St. Albert second division team challenges the Clansmen's fullback for a fly ball in Saturday's match at Airways Park. The Clan scored 26 unanswered points after trailing 8-5 in the first half to win 31-8.
    APRIL BARTLETT/St. Albert Gazette
  • TAKEAWAY ATTEMPT - Dave Granik of St. Albert protects the ball against a defender in Saturday's 31-8 loss to the Clansmen in the Edmonton Rugby Union's second division. The seconds are 2-1 in league play and the Clan are 2-3.
    TAKEAWAY ATTEMPT - Dave Granik of St. Albert protects the ball against a defender in Saturday's 31-8 loss to the Clansmen in the Edmonton Rugby Union's second division. The seconds are 2-1 in league play and the Clan are 2-3.

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Airways Park – Playing catch-up left St. Albert trailing the Clansmen on the scoreboard in second division men's rugby Saturday.

The seconds fell behind after grabbing an early 8-5 advantage and then watched in vain as the Clan pulled away with the 31-8 win.

“It was hard. They just got on top of us early,” said scrum-half Luke Richardson.

The seconds also couldn't match the Clan's girth despite some gritty efforts in the forwards.

“They were very intimidating in a roundabout way,” Richardson said.

In the opening minutes a deep push by the Clan ended with a kick for touch by Adam Higgins off a lineout to relieve the pressure.

Higgins later busted loose with a thunderous run from inside the 22-metre line but the British import was stopped short of the try line. On the following play James Brown fought his way into the try area with massive support from his teammates in the 19th minute. Richardson missed the conversion.

Less than five minutes after the try the Clan knotted the score with a run from inside the 22 against a defensive line short of players on the short side. The conversion was no good.

In the 26th minute the seconds regained the lead as Higgins split the uprights from the 22 after the Clan were penalized for beaking at the referee.

The Clan responded eight minutes later with a converted try to cap off a series of pick and goes that methodically drove the seconds back towards their try line.

The Clan ended the first half by blocking Higgins’ kick in the try area for a converted try to lead 17-8.

After the break the seconds withstood a pair of challenges deep in their end during the opening 10 minutes.

In the 60th minute the seconds received a break when a short and stocky Clan forward was sentenced to the sin-bin with a yellow card. However, the Clan stole a lineout ball outside of their 22 and rattled off some lengthy runs for a converted try in 68th minute.

The last converted try by the Clan with under 10 minutes remaining was also the second of the match by their eight-man.

Richardson, 27, was encouraged by the team’s determination after the break.

“The intensity in the second half was a lot higher,” said the Australian import. “The boys played to a bit of a structure in the second half as opposed to the first half where we were a little bit scrappy, so to speak.”

Both sides dressed their best second 15s available with their respective first 15s in Calgary that afternoon in the Alberta Cup premier fixtures, but a rash of injuries depleted St. Albert’s talent pool that was already thin of bodies to fill three separated men’s teams.

“We were short numbered but I’ve got to take off my hat to a lot of these younger fellas. They’ve stepped up and they played really well,” Richardson said.

The loss was the first after two wins in the Edmonton Rugby Union and the Clan improved to 2-3.

“We’re a young group and we can build from here. Everyone has been training hard and I’m sure you’ll see a lot better standards by the end of the season,” said Richardson, who played for the third 15s in their titanic 5-0 win two weeks ago in Cold Lake with only 13 players left on the pitch at the final whistle.

Thursday the seconds tackle the Pirates (0-4) at 7 p.m. at the Pirates Rugby Club.

SCRUM BALLS: Saturday the women’s team was shut out 66-0 by the Strathcona Druids (4-0) in the ERU’s first division spring league in Sherwood Park.

Tonight the women (0-3, with one loss by default for a lack of players) tackle Crude/West (1-2) at 7 p.m. at Ellerslie Rugby Park.

The thirds (1-1) scrum down Friday against the LA Crude (0-1-1) at 7 p.m. in Leduc.

The premier men improved to 2-2 with their second lopsided victory of the season against the Calgary Irish (0-4). After leading 21-17 at the break, the firsts poured it on to crush the Irish 54-17 Saturday.

Last month the firsts humbled the Irish 57-3 in Leduc.

This Saturday the firsts visit the Calgary Saints (2-1) at 3:30 p.m.


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