From Head Coach Joe Birdsall:
“The Milwaukee Barbarians compete against the best teams in the United States. We earned the right to say that on Saturday.
It was 100% small-batch, local, prideful, hardworking, nasty gentleman who played the full 80 minutes without a lull. Very proud of our little club this week.
Aaron Young and Joe Gardener put together fun and valuable training sessions for the boys this which really enhanced our on-field performance. The field crew readied the pitch to perfection. Our fans were supportive, and the refs liked us! Starting XV delivered on all objectives for the day minus two tries and our reserves made a tangible impact.
A win would have been icing on the cake, but Metro is a top five/ten team in the United States; so, although a 12-48 finish isn’t what we strive to achieve, it is progress. We’re underdogs and it would probably be no fun if we weren’t. Players are helping each other get better every day and the vibe is contagious. Setting the roster and making substitutions is becoming almost impossible without injuries. We’re learning and growing every day, but Saturday proved if we work together, then its going to be an awesome ride.
If you love rugby and you’re not running with this squad right now, then you’re missing out. We’re gonna get it on with Palmer this coming Saturday. I look forward to another gritty performance by Wisconsin’s finest gentlemen.”
The Milwaukee Barbarians kicked-off their Fall 2019 campaign with a huge challenge at home against Metropolis. Currently ranked sixth in the nation for D1 men’s rugby, the team knew what to expect: big, fast, and concise attack.
“Playing Metro the first game of the season, we knew we had our work cut out for us” said captain Joe Grams. “They are very deadly with ball in hand and are able to pick apart a defense and attack space. Our game plan going into the match was to play conservative rugby and maintain possession. When we stuck to that plan, we went toe-to-toe with them.”
Strong ball carrying was the theme of the first half for both teams. Metro capitalized early with pushing the offense wide while the Barbarians struggled with sliding on defense. Once the corrections had been made in communication and defensive awareness, the rest of the first half was spent toward the center of the field.
Trailing at the half, Milwaukee knew they needed to get back to the game plan. Offense became more organized and purposeful which slowed Metro’s progress. Thanks to a strong recruitment campaign in the offseason, the bench was full of talent ready to make an impact. Multiple subs were made with twenty minutes left on the board, all of which stepped up to the plate. Attacking in the middle with support and waiting for opportunities to arise eventually led to two tries, both scored by flanker Kevyn Drago.
The Barbarians go into week two ready to correct issues at training in order to get a big win on the road against Palmer, along with the season opener for our second side against Wisconsin Rugby Club. Stay tuned for updates and results!