Greenwich High rugby blasts Ridgefield on Senior Night, 72-5

It’s a time-honored tradition with the Greenwich High School rugby team that only seniors play on Seniors’ Night.

Fortunately, Big Red has the depth to pull that off, as 26 senior ruggers took their ceremonial bow Friday afternoon before the Cardinals routed their Fairfield County rivals Ridgefield, 72-5.

After a slow start owing to numerous non-regulars in the match, Greenwich gained the upper hand with five tries in running up a 31-0 halftime lead. Two touch-downs by center Russell Tanaka, and one each by prop Tommy Williams, center Dylan Carroll and flyhalf Federico Mato, enabled Kelly to open up the bench for the second half.

Things actually went smoother from there, as the overmatched and fatigued Tigers succumbed to the relentless Greenwich rucking.

Seven more tries, by Carroll (2), and one each by scrumhalf and captain Mateo Gowland (who also notched six conversions on the day), Mato, flanker Javier Rovira, fullback Eric Thakor, wing-prop Brechan Allison secured the final deficit against the Tigers, who showed great spirit in but their second season as a rugby program.

Greenwich, in its final tuneup before the titanic home match against Xavier on Mary 3, ran its undefeated record on the season nationally headed into the match.

Xavier is holding firm with Greenwich, already invited to the national championships on May 15 to 17 in Elkhart, Ind., to compete in the championship flight.

“There is going to be a lot at stake in that [Xavier] game,” said Greenwich head coach Joe Kelly. ” If we beat them or play them closely, we can get a top eight spot. It’s crucial that we win.”

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