Woodlands Youth Rugby One Of The Nation's Best

Woodlands Youth Rugby One Of The Nation's Best

The Woodlands Youth Rugby scene continues to grow year in and year out, and the results on the field are demonstrating the strength of the program.

Feb 24, 2020 by FloRugby Staff
Woodlands Youth Rugby One Of The Nation's Best

If you don't know, well now you know: the Woodlands Youth Rugby club is among the best programs in the entire country, and if you need any more proof, look no further than its accomplishments over the past weekend. 

The boys varsity side played a double header against Strake Jesuit and the Kansas City Jr. Blues on Thursday and Saturday, while the high school and junior high girls teams traveled down south to Laredo and Alvin for a pair of tournaments. 

Welcoming Strake Jesuit To D1 Rugby

In the match before the “not so friendly” friendly with the Kansas City Jr. Blues, the Woodlands (TX) varsity boys took on two-time defending Texas D2 state champions Strake Jesuit in a Thursday night contest.

Having outscored their opponents 191-0 through two matches on the year, the Woodlands were always going to be a decidedly tough matchup for Jesuit. The Strake boys, who have moved back into D1 this year, won their first cup match since returning to the top flight two weeks ago when they defeated Lamar, 22-15. 

However, facing the reigning Division 1 champions presents an entirely different challenge. 

Jesuit’s goal was to hang with the Woodlands for a half. They would still need room to grow. Strake started the game well with a good defensive effort, but it wasn’t enough to stop the D1 state champions. The Woodlands galloped in for 9 tries, all of which were converted by fly-half Alexander Clarke. Clarke was key in setting up many attacking opportunities by kicking and passing with ease, and the windy conditions seemed to have no effect on his slotting the ball through the uprights. 

Leading the Woodlands from the front, both in defense and attack, was University of Cal Berkeley signee, captain, and eight-man, Tom Dixon.

Dixon had to say this about the game, “We were just trying to rack up a decent score prior to halftime in order to provide rest to key players before Saturday’s clash with the  KC Blues.” Dixon added, “We wanted to use our pace and good ball skills to work our way around the opponent”  

Dixon’s positives and negatives from the game were, “We managed to break the defensive line well and defended pretty well. We didn’t have the composure to keep the ball moving fast in attack, which wasn’t helped by the wind.” 

Going into the Kansas City Jr. Blues match Dixon stated that, “Our first priority is to play our brand of rugby (fast and expansive) while preparing ourselves for nationals later this year. But ultimately the goal is to achieve a strong win.” 

With a big game against the Jr. Blues just two days later, the Woodlands needed to have a fast turnaround. 

Kansas City Jr. Blues Rematch

Last year, both teams met in Dallas in what became a game of "who can hit the hardest?" The game was called off early after a fist fight broke out, as the coaches would not continue if the match was to persist in such a hostile manner. At that point in the match, it was the Woodlands who lead by a substantial margin. 

Fast forward a year later, the fisticuffs came off, but the result on the scoreboard remained largely unchanged. The Woodlands came away 55-0 winners on Saturday, taking their tally over the past three years against Kansas City to 2-1. 

Once again, key players did not disappoint. Tom Dixon crossed the line for a couple tries and was a beast all day on defense. Alexander Clarke used his boot to claim territory and points, as he's done in games previous. Cam Markle, the Woodlands' Man of the Match, carried the ball well and was a force on defense. These players had extreme work rate on and off the ball, and additionally did not disappoint on Thursday or Saturday with both their skills and their respect for the coaches, teammates, opponents, and referees.  

Dixon claimed that, “We were very happy with our performance but still see that there are areas to improve, especially in attack, as we left points on the field.” 

Katy, a division rival of the Woodlands, lost to the KC Jr. Blues on Sunday. 

Tennessee Tour

In part two of their Dallas weekend last year, the Woodlands narrowly defeated Germantown, one of Tennessee's best high school teams. This weekend, the Woodlands will make the return trip to face their Tennessee counterparts in a big rematch. 

Additionally, the Woodlands will also be facing against Memphis on the tour. Unfortunately, some of The Woodlands players will be missing the trip due to the LA Invitational tournament taking place this weekend as well.  

Big Expectations For a Big Club

The Woodlands varsity boys will continue their path to defend their state title and hopefully have a good showing at Nationals. The team has a lot to work on to build on what last year’s team accomplished, but the pieces are in place to see them notch a third state title in four years. 

The Woodlands, known as the “Wolfpack”, make up the largest youth rugby club in the state, and continue to grow numbers year in and year out. The teams range from 1st and 2nd grade touch to high school girls and boys teams. Alden Bridge is always buzzing on Tuesday and Thursday nights with hundreds of kids running around, enjoying the game of rugby. 

The Girls Have Been Dominant As Well

With girls rugby often overlooked and drowned out by all the hype surrounding the boy's game, there hasn't been much information about how the Woodlands girls are doing. 

The Woodlands high school and junior high girls teams recently traveled down to Laredo and to Alvin and came away with good showings. The high school girls are undefeated with two tournament wins, and are first with the most state qualifying points. 

The junior high girls, whom are combined with Katy’s junior high girls, came away with first and second place finishes in the two tournaments. The girls are headed to the home of the Dallas Reds along with the Division 3 boys this weekend to come away with more points to qualify for the state finals in May.