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Arizona Rugby: Red Mountain Warthogs Triumph Over Las Vegas Irish in Heated Rugby Season Opener

The 2024 spring rugby season in Arizona kicked off with a dramatic showdown as the Las Vegas Irish journeyed to Mesa, Arizona, to face the Red Mountain Warthogs. With a heated history between these two clubs, stakes were high for the Irish, still smarting from last year's playoff defeat at the hands of the Warthogs. This grudge match was a chance for redemption.

As Coach Bill Ellery of the Red Mountain Warthogs put it, "We have been training hard and the players are eager to take the field." This enthusiasm was mirrored by the several hundred spectators who turned out to witness the clash of these experienced teams. The match began with both sides engaging in tactical kicks and conservative attacks, focusing on error minimization and ball possession.

The Irish, known for their strong pack, sought to dominate the younger, smaller Arizona pack. However, the Warthogs, bolstered by notable additions like Jacob Hernandez from ASU in the second row, Isaac Browning from GCU at number 8, and Sam Jamieson from Red Mountain youth at prop, held their ground against the more seasoned Las Vegas pack.

While the Irish capitalized on some handling errors by the Warthogs, they struggled to keep pace with the well-coached Arizona team. The Warthogs maintained a calm, focused demeanor throughout the game, effectively countering the Irish's powerful runs. In the backline, the Warthogs were consistently threatening, applying pressure and forcing mistakes from the Irish.

Ultimately, the Warthogs proved too formidable for the Irish. After a series of rugby handshakes, the center referee declared the game in favor of Red Mountain. Looking ahead, the Las Vegas Irish will travel to Scottsdale to face the Blues, who are coming off a strong start with a win over the Tempe Rugby Club. Meanwhile, the Red Mountain Warthogs will host the Tucson Magpies in their next game, hoping to continue their winning momentum.


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