RUGBY: Beasts of the East! MidState U-19 boys take divisional state title

CHESHIRE — The MidState Rugby Membership’s U-19 boys staff was challenged early within the spring season, shedding two of its first three video games.

Coach Carl Casper nonetheless had confidence in what his staff may accomplish.

“We knew we had a number of skilled gamers coming again,” Casper mentioned. “If we may play powerful, I believed we may have a superb season. We had a technique of how we wished to play and it took us a while to determine it out.”

Casper’s religion paid off. MidState gained its final 5 video games to seize the state Division II East Division title. To complete the season, MidState avenged its two losses, beating West Hartford and Fairfield.

“It felt wonderful,” mentioned Cheshire’s Jeffery Gonzalez. “They’re each powerful opponents that play onerous. I believe these final two matches says quite a bit about our staff. We realized from the losses and got here again robust.”

MidState defeated West Hartford 19-7 within the semifinals, a victory Casper believed created momentum for his staff.

“Going into the ultimate recreation, I don’t assume there was anybody who didn’t assume that we may win,” Casper mentioned.

That championship recreation was June 10 at Staples Excessive Faculty in Westport. The opponent: undefeated Fairfield. MidState claimed the crown with an 18-12 victory.

Fairfield had extra measurement than MidState, however Casper felt his staff was in a position to alter efficiently on protection.

“Rugby is an unpredictable recreation. You may have a plan, however then the protection can have one other concept,” defined Casper. “It’s like chess. You progress a pawn and when your opponent makes a transfer, you could discover one other approach to get to the rook and the queen.”

MidState Rugby was based because the Cheshire Rugby Membership in 2005, however since gamers are drawn from a number of cities in central Connecticut, the group was rebranded three years in the past. This season, the U-19 staff had 27 boys from completely different areas of the state.

“Loads of the groups we play are excessive colleges. They go on the sphere collectively and study in the identical school rooms, however I believe we do a superb job of bringing our gamers collectively, too,” mentioned Casper. “It’s good how our guys meet individuals who they wouldn’t have recognized in the event that they didn’t go on our staff.”

Casper additionally famous that this 12 months’s squad assorted in expertise.

“It’s a mix. I’ve some guys who’ve been on the staff for seven to eight years, after which some guys who picked it up this 12 months,” the coach mentioned. “These older guys took the opposite guys below their wing this season.”

To have success in rugby, Casper believes gamers must work collectively on the sphere.

“The sport consistently strikes,” he mentioned. “I believe that guys prefer it as a result of there’s a spot for everybody on the staff.”

In scoring 9 conversions, two penalty kicks, and 6 tries this 12 months, Nolan Kappus of Cheshire led the squad in factors with 72.

“He did the kicking for us,” mentioned Casper. “He had an amazing season.”

With key gamers graduating this season, MidState could have spots to fill in 2024.

“We’re shedding some good gamers, however we’ll see who comes out for the staff,” acknowledged Casper. “We’ll be mentioning some youthful guys in our program.”

“I hope to get the rugby identify on the market extra and positively wish to go back-to-back (as champions),” added Gonzalez.

Because the pandemic broke out in 2020, MidState has tried to extend participation numbers on the youth and highschool ranges.

“We used to have a reasonably large youth group, however after COVID, we misplaced quite a bit,” mentioned Casper, who has coached for 11 years within the MidState program. “It was actually onerous. We had gamers who determined to not re-engage after that handed, however we’re beginning to see a rise within the numbers now.”

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Revealed : 2023-06-27 03:03:00

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