Sat 25 May


The Crusaders hosted the touring side from Bowling Green State University in what was to be a one-sided affair but as the ‘BG’s’ Director of Rugby, Roger Mazzarella, said “The tour is about exposing our players to the culture of the sport, it was never about winning. Some of our guys have never experienced rugby outside of the US and to come here to play in Rugby is a dream come true”.

Captained by Michael Rust, the team displayed pace that the Americans could not live with and scored within five minutes with Beau Carney touching down after a counter attack. The Bowling Green team stuck with what they knew by competing at the breakdown and looking to retain possession with their forwards. But they came unstuck in the 12th and 14th minute after Rust and Joe Bercis scored well-worked tries. More scores followed by Josh Andrews, Jack Young and Steve Goode to end the half.

No.8 Mike Ziegler said “We could not live with how fast you guys play, it’s a style of rugby we just don’t see in the US. We couldn’t believe the speed at the weekend when we watched Wasps play Saracens in London at a pro game, but to try and play against it here was amazing, and that’s not even your first team! We have learnt so much in just a few days.”

The second half turned into the Joey Shore show with a turn of pace and display of foot-work that left the US team gasping in his wake as he ran in three more tries. Jack Young added a second and Phil Davies rounded off the scoring for the Crusaders.

Despite the score line and nearly clearing the shop out of stock, the tour has been a massive success for the University team who have to compete for profile against the College’s American Football team which has a 24,000 seat stadium. “We could not of had a better time and we have made so many friends while we've been here” said Roger Mazzarella “It has shown us what Rugby is all about: Winning is nice but the sport comes first”.

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