The San Diego Mustangs Under 16 and Under 19 Rugby Teams continued their Southern California Championship quest, with semi-final playoff matches held on Saturday. The Mustangs U16 took on a powerful South Bay side with the U19 team up against inter-league rival San Clemente Gators.
In the U16 match the Mustangs battled hard against a large and physical South Bay team. Both teams pressed the goal-line throughout the game and the Mustangs clung to a 3-0 lead late in the second half. An opportunistic South Bay turnover ball saw their nifty fullback scamper 60 yards to score a try and go ahead 5-3. With a full sail of confidence, South Bay roared back to score another unconverted try making the scoreline 10-3. In an impressive and dynamic last surge, the Mustangs continually attacked South Bay’s goal-line and came close to scoring a potential equalizing try. However, South Bay eventually proved too strong, holding the Mustangs out and now advances to the final.
The U19 game started with Gators choosing to use the wind at their back and with successful penalty kicks took an early lead 6-to-0. The Mustangs, led by Captain Brent Sander fought back with a try following a multi-phased attack to retake the lead 7-6, following the successful conversion by David Lederer. Play continued with both sides trading tries and at half time the Mustangs led by just a point, 19-to-18. In the second half, minor adjustments in the game plane by the Mustangs worked to perfection and confidence built quickly as the Mustangs took every opportunity and cashed them in, scoring 34-points in the second half. The Gators scored one more time for a final score of Mustangs 53, San Clemente 23. The San Diego Mustangs U19’s now take on Back Bay Rugby Club in the Southern California Championship final this Saturday at Cal-State Fullerton’s stadium at 4 p.m.