Krewe Gets Southern Pride Back
By Alex Goff
The Tampe Krewe continued their run into the playoffs Sunday with a convincing 32-5 victory over Brandywine to make the men’s DII club semifinals.
Certainly the heat was a factor in the game. Playoff matches played in Columbia, SC were played Sunday in 90-degree heat with high humidity. For the boys from Florida, the humidity was nothing more than a bracing dampness in the air, rather than the energy-sapping stuff it is to regular folk.
In addition to that, the Krewe received significant support from their South counterparts. Members of Life University, the host club Columbia Olde Grey, and the South DIII qualifiers all cheered the Krewe on.
“It was great to get that support,” enthused Krewe head coach Dai Morgan. “I think South rugby doesn’t get enough credit for the level of rugby played here. We want to change that perception. It was good to see the South clubs come together.”
There were factors on the field, too. The Krewe’s fitness, in the heat, sure, proved crucial and so did some big plays. Matt McGinnis was effective kicking goals, and scrumhalf Agustin Pombo de Erezcano scampered in for a try at 29 minutes and set up a couple of others. Wing Shane Stewart scored on two long-range runs – one where de Erezcano saw him mismatched against a rpop – to take the score from 10-5 to 22-5.
And center Jeff Herron was monstrous, including laying in a massive hit on a Brandywine player, knocking the ball loose. The ball rolled ten maters backwards, and Herron bounced up, nabbed said ball, and went in for a try.
“That was a great play,” said Morgan. “Saturday we didn’t feel like we played our best, but against an experienced Brandywine club Sunday we played the way we have been playing. Brandywine threw the kitchen sink at us in the first 20 minutes, but our guys weathered it.”
In fact their first three points came after their first foray out of their own 22 – at 18 minutes.
The first South club to make the DII club semis since Boca in 2005, the Krewe are looking to carry some South rugby pride into the national semis. And there’s a personal aspect to the match, too. Morgan played one of this first rugby games in the USA just a few weeks after moving from Wales. It was in a 7s tournament that he was knocked out with a rib injury in a late tackle against Snake River.
Now, many more years later than he’d care to acknowledge, Morgan coaches a team against Snake River, and perhaps gets a measure of revenge.