Today the Barbarians travelled to Madison for the Stu Daily 10s, the annual tournament held by the Wisconsin Rugby Football Club in commemoration of the late Stu Daily.
In the first pool match, the Barbarians met UW-Madison and had a confident display of skill and power. By controlling possession, and tackling and counter-rucking well, we ended the match with a 25-0 victory.
The second pool match was against Michigan Tech but the quality and pace of the Barbarians continued and we were rewarded with another win (42-5) and a trip to the knock-out rounds.
As luck we have it, we drew UW-Madison again. Having bolstered their ranks with fresh legs, opponents were much sharper and focused than the team we faced in the early morning.
Despite this, we maintained our defensive and counter-rucking prowess and were victorious by a scoreline of 7-0 and advanced to the semi-finals.
In the semi-finals, we met another college side for the 4th-straight match. This time it was UW-Milwaukee. As expected, the young players were a speedy bunch with good ball handling skills who held an advantage on the scoreboard for much of the match.
With 7 minutes remaining, the Barbarians trailed by 12. However, a late flurry of attack ended with a converted try to narrow the margin to just 5 points with 3 minutes to go.
As the surge continued, we were awarded an attacking scrum 10 meters from the goal line. After winning the scrum, we carried forward from the back and recycled well from the ensuing ruck. The Barbarians fly-half and some forwards who had positioned themselves between the centers then worked an impressive play, going against the direction of the ball to crash over for the tying score.
A successful conversion put the Barbarians ahead for the fist time in the match and we help on for the remaining moments for the win, 21-19.
We faced the hosts in the finals who fielded a strong and competent veteran side. They controlled possession and dictated playing style leading to a 19-0 half time advantage.
Our play in the second-half improved, including a try off an interception, but it was not enough as Wisconsin RFC extended their lead through to the final whistle.