This past weekend was a big and important weekend for the Scottsdale Blues .The Magpies from Tucson made the trip to the city to face a tough Scottsdale rugby club. The Blues looked to revenge their 1st round results against the division rival . This is the 2nd meeting of the year for the two clubs . They 1st played in February, in Tucson , where a newly rebuilt and hopeful Scottsdale team had their first real test against a well coached Tucson team. Back in February the game ended in favor of the Magpies . As everyone who follows Arizona rugby knows, the first game between the two rivals was one of the hardest fought games this year. After their defeat in Tucson, Scottsdale Club went back to the drawing board, regrouped and worked to come up with the winning formula for this weekend .
The Magpies traveled to Scottsdale confident their team is well prepared to face the Blues. The premiere Tucson club has been having a very successful and consistent 2023 campaign and according to coach Adolfo "Dolfo" Sanchez the team is prepared to do what it takes to make a run for the national title in the upcoming months .
The game was a spectacle from start to finish. Just like the previous encounter the two teams left it all on the field in a much tighter game than their previous one . Scottsdale blues showed much more discipline, especially in the forwards where players like prop 'Metro' , hooker Markley and number 8 Sperling shined and made a huge impact on the dynamic of the game. On the Tucson side, the magpies kept the same strategy and almost identical starting line up from February . The only notable change being the addition of Brody Wright at outside center who did a fantastic job defensively. Tucson relied heavily on the leadership and game skills of scrumhalf 'Bayou' Wright and fly-half Jeremy Hazen in the backs. In the forwards, Tucson rallied around their number 8 Rory McRae who had monster runs and punished his competition constantly.
There were no less than 70 points scored on Saturday by the two teams . The blue and white Side ( Scottsdale ) relied on individual talent to play the ball wide and have their athletic backs run into space . Big units like Markley , Macias and Wolfy carried the ball strong which opened up the space and created room for the athletic backs to craft spectacular runs.
The Magpies Made up for their lack of exceptional individual talent with strong team play, strategy and leadership . The Magpies looked like a well oiled team for 80 minutes. Strong team leaders kept the team focused and disciplined. Tucson was able to play great team defense which caused a lot of turn overs. On offense, they ware able to maintain possession of the ball for most of the game. The Magpies marched down the field with good fazes and ware able to keep the ball in hand without committing too many mistakes which proved to be too much for the Blues to handle.
Between Rory Mcrae's punishing runs, good rucking from his forward pack, Bayou's ability to get the ball out to the backs and Jeremy Hazen's ability to move the ball into space with few handling errors , the Magpies were able to score 43 of the 70 points and obtaining a well deserved team win against a very good Scottsdale Blues in Scottsdale. Final score Magpies 43 - Blues 27
The game was a hard fought battle that came down to team discipline , individual athletes will to overcome exhaustion and their desire to win. From this Saturday's game two players stood out for us in particular
For Scottsdale Blues hooker Merkley was strong in the scums and seemed to always be in position to carry the ball for for his team. He did a phenomenal job at moving his pack forward and put his body on the line repeatedly for his team .
For the Magpies, Number 8 Rory McRae came to play . He absolutely dominated his opposition and ran all over Scottsdale's defense . With huge runs and crushing collisions Rory scored tries, moved his team forward and most importantly gave his team confidence all day. For that we had to name this stud man of the match.
The drama is not over . The two sides might meet again in play offs later this year depending how they finish the regular local season .
Rugby : the best time you will have with your new best friends
Game day videos (Rated R)