Undefeated for 3 straight matches, rugby rivalry heats up between Milwaukee & Chicago.

The South Side Irish have invested in a talented player-coach from South Africa as well as players from New Zealand. The result has been a winning spring season against some talented Division 1 teams.

With this in mind, a with 8 Harlequins from the previous week’s starting roster unable to play on Saturday, most teams would not be faulted for thinking the dice were loaded against them in this match-up.

But like any good life coach, head coach Mike Loader of the Milwaukee West Side Harlequins sees these obstacles and roadblocks as opportunities.

The first half of the match may have proved them right. The Irish may have travelled light to the game but demonstrated they had depth in the club and displayed controlled forward play in the loose that resulted in a half time lead of 29-12 for the irish.

Rather than allowing the downward spiral to continue, we got to see how far the Harlequins have developed in the last 12 months. This team had been developing cohesion in the first half and began to realize players were stepping up. This intensity lead to a phase of play I have to watch again on tape to believe. From the first scrum in the second half – which was an Irish feed – we advanced nearly forty meters down the field with out touching the ball. First a strong strike and push drove their scrum back. Then, solid tackling never allowed them to establish control of the ball.

After this drive, quick turn over ball lead to the Harlequins first try of the second half. The second half continued to be a battle and though the Harlequins remained on the attack for a large portion of the half, a tied game seemed justified with a 29-29 scoreline at full time.

I am proud with what we demonstrated as a club. The depth of the teams talent is increasing, with many players realizing they can play at the level we expect out of our flagship side. We learned that players will step up to the challenge and that we must remain intelligent in our decisions and follow our captain on the field.

Mike Loader
Mike Loader
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