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Milwaukee opens Division 1 spring rugby season with barn-burner in Cincinnati

The Milwaukee Barbarians upset the Cincinnati Wolfhounds today with a nail-biting victory on the road. 

Coming off a winless Fall campaign (0-10-0) and a lackluster pre-season performance, the Barbarians — sponsored today by Spectrum Wealth Advisors — headed to Cincinnati to play the Wolfhounds in a USA Rugby Division 1 league match.

With a .500 record in the Fall and a fresh win on the road versus the Kansas City Blues last weekend, the Wolfhounds were clear favorites at the outset. That confidence showed through very early in the match as the hosts recovered their own opening kick and proceeded to score at the two-minute mark.

A second try almost immediately afterward left the Barbarians trailing 12-0 just five minutes into the match. 

The match then settled into a more typical affair with both teams unable to take a commanding advantage.

Half-back Vigder slotted the first points for the Barbarians following a twelfth-minute penalty and narrowed the deficit slightly: 12-3 Wolfhounds. 

The determined teams then traded tries at the twenty-first and twenty-fifth minute with Vigder scoring and converting the try for Milwaukee and maintaining the 9-point deficit.

Neither team would score before heading to the sheds at the halftime whistle: 19-10 Wolfhounds.

High-scoring second half

Immediately after the break, Cincinnati looked to take control with a try just two-minutes after the kickoff that extended their lead to 24-10. 

But the Barbarians we're just getting started and kept the contest close with a try of their own five minutes into the second half. The score by winger Ash was converted by Vigder and narrowed the deficit to just seven points (24-17).

Cincinnati would score once more, but three tries by Leahy, Bartlett, and Grams in the final 23 minutes gave the underdogs their first lead of the match: 32-31 Milwaukee with seven minutes remaining.  

In the closing minutes, Cincinnati fought hard but could not ground the ball over the whitewash.

Defending hard to the final whistle, the Barbarians held onto the slimmest of margins and pushed back two challenges at the try line including a five-meter scrum.

With four second-half tries to Cincinnati's two, the final whistle blew and the visitors had captured their much-needed first win of the season: final score 32-31.

Coach pleased with team's effort

"It was all about effort and attitude today," said Head Coach Joe Gardener. "I couldn't be more proud of the way that we fought until the end. Every Barbarian deserves to enjoy this victory, as it's been a huge team effort from everyone at the club."

Roster

Match Stream

MINEVENTSIDESCOREDETAILS
1'TR score CIN5 - 0 #13 - Roche, Kyle
5'TR score CIN10 - 0 #15 - Grote, Ryan
6'CV score CIN12 - 0 #10 - Stapleton, John
12'PK score MIL12 - 3 #10 - Gardener, Joseph
21'TR score CIN17 - 3 #10 - Stapleton, John
22'CV score CIN19 - 3 #10 - Stapleton, John
25'TR score MIL19 - 8 #9 - Vigder, Nick
26'CV score MIL19 - 10 #9 - Vigder, Nick
40'TC sub MIL19 - 10Off: #5 - #5 - Ruys, Adam
On: #18 - #18 - Smith, Benjamin
42'TR score CIN24 - 10 #15 - Grote, Ryan
47'TR score MIL24 - 15 #11 - Ash, Timothy
48'CV score MIL24 - 17 #9 - Vigder, Nick
53'TR score CIN29 - 17 #15 - Grote, Ryan
54'CV score CIN31 - 17 #10 - Stapleton, John
57'TR score MIL31 - 22 #12 - Leahy, Keenan
60'IJ sub CIN31 - 22Off: #14 - #14 - finley, rashad
On: #19 - #19 - Frentzel, Ryan
60'TC sub MIL31 - 22Off: #10 - #10 - Gardener, Joseph
On: #22 - #22 - Boehnen, Maxwell
62'TR score MIL31 - 27 #15 - Bartlett, Robert
62'TC sub MIL31 - 27Off: #6 - #6 - Schwalbe, Ray
On: #20 - #20 - Cwiklis, Kyle
66'TC sub MIL31 - 27Off: #7 - #7 - Cebe, Jeffrey
On: #19 - #19 - Van Wey, John
66'TC sub MIL31 - 27Off: #4 - #4 - Bastian, Benjamin
On: #21 - #21 - Gray, David
67'TC sub CIN31 - 27Off: #6 - #6 - Calhoun, John
On: #17 - #17 - BETOMAKITA, LEMEKI
68'IJ sub CIN31 - 27Off: #12 - #12 - Mcaninch, Sam
On: #20 - #20 - slicker, chris
70'TC sub MIL31 - 27Off: #3 - #3 - Holstine, Benjamin
On: #17 - #17 - Smolensky, Eric
73'TR score MIL31 - 32 #2 - Grams, Joseph
76'IJ sub CIN31 - 32Off: #20 - #20 - slicker, chris
On: #14 - #14 - finley, rashad

The complete and official match report can be found on the USA Rugby website.