Saturday September 7,
Randall’s Island, New York, NY

The Lions Men dropped their league opener to Gotham today, 53-19, in the D3 NYC Group of the Empire Rugby GU.

It was a tough Loss for a young, new-look Lions squad under new Coach Nic Clapinson, with poor fitness being a major performance factor. The match also kicked off the Lions 30th League season and saw fullback Grisha Rudensky make his debut in a Lions shirt, while Kimani Davis was the oldest serving Lion in the match day squad.

The match started with with a Gotham score at the 6th minute however the Lions quickly followed suit with a Julian Watts score at 15:52, 5-5.

Gotham answered back at the 17th and 21st minute with a pair of tries but the Lions came back with a Rich Parsley score at the 25th minute. Rich made a successful conversion to make the score 12-17 to Gotham.

The first half ended after Gotham scored from a penalty play. The score was 12-22 at the end of the first.

The Lions came out strong in the second half with Rashid Perkins carving up the pitch for a score on the 42nd minute, converted by Parsley, 19-22. But fatigue and fitness played a role as the Lions chased Gotham for the remainder of the game and did not score again. Gotham tallied 5 more tries and 3 conversions, including a penalty try for hands in the ruck and a try at the death.

Final score of the match was 19 Lions to 53 Gotham.

“Tough loss with the guys today from the standpoint of the score 53-19,” shared Coach Clapinson. “Got run up in the last 20 minutes pretty heavily. But its the first game and as I explained to the guys it was always the end of our preparation period. It’s about establishing and figuring out what we need to do to be successful this year. So disappointed of course for the loss like that.”

“Onwards,” Clapinson continued, “we have to get to work with Lansdowne next week. And the next third of the season I think well start to see what we can really. We’ll establish who are actual top 15 are and our systems and structures will really start to get in place.”

The guys stuck it in and kept trying to run. Coughed up a few tries at the end as they were trying to push to score. Looking forward to next week.

Captain’s Note (Video)

“We had them on the back foot coming out in the second half,” offered captain Mike Tagliaferro. “We just lost momentum. We’ll see these guys again later in the season, which is important. I’m proud of the boys, we just need to get the fitness back up and we’ll get there.”

The Lions face Lansdowne next weekend. Follow the match action live on Twitter: @villagelions

Training this week is Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30 to 10pm at KIPP Academy Elementary School, 730 Concourse Village West, The Bronx, NY 10451, USA.

Other Group Matches this weekend:
Lansdowne 10, Brooklyn 14
Old Blue vs New York

Lineup

1. Matt Marano (replaced by James Fermin)
2. Eric Han (replaced by Perez)
3. Eugene Aiken
4. James Johnston (replaced by Kimani Davis)
5. Chris Tite
6. Ryan Redican (replaced by Rob Young)
7. John Tublin
8. Mike Tagliaferro – Captain
9. Greg Alexander
10. Rich Parsley
11. Fernando Torija (replaced by Felipe Bezares)
12. Nick Alexander – Vice-Captain
13. Julian Watts
14. Rashid Perkins (replaced by Milo Hall)
15. Grisha Rudensky (replaced by Conor Devine)

Lions Scorers: Julian Watts (1T), Rich Parsley (1T, 2C), Rashid Perkins (1T)

Replacements:
16. Edgar Perez
17. James Fermin
18. Kyoshi Atkins
19. Kimani Davis
20. Felipe Bezares
21. Rob Young
22. Milo Hall
23. Conor Devine

Head Coach: Nic Clapinson
Assistant Coach: Steven Mendoza
President: JP Lindsey