FloRugby's Top 5 Games Of The Past 365 Days

Before all this coronavirus madness, there was a time where, believe it or not, actual rugby was played by actual people. 

There were plenty of phenomenal games throughout the course of the last year, ranging from high school to collegiate, to club, up to the international level. 

Here are our five picks for the best games of the past 365 days:

High School: Penn High School vs East High School

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It didn't take long for a dramatic finish to take center stage at the 2019 High School National Championships, and with it an upset to send shockwaves through the tournament. 

In the quarterfinals of the Single School bracket of the tournament on Day 1, perennial powerhouse Penn HS (Indiana) took on under-the-radar local team East High School (Utah). Penn, who by many accounts were the #1 ranked team in the nation, came into the tournament as the #2 seed. East, meanwhile, were the #7 seed and were expected by many to see an early exit from the competition. 

It looked like that would be the case, as Penn showed its class and built a 33-14 lead with just ten minutes remaining in the contest. But East dug deep and and scored a pair of tries to put the pressure on the boys from Indiana. With time all but run out, East found themselves with the ball on their own five meter line. What happened next was simply remarkable. 

East HS Shocks Everyone


College: Life University vs University of California

2019 D1A Final: Life University vs Cal

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The best collegiate game of 2019 also happened to be the most important. The undefeated Life Running Eagles took on the Cal Golden Bears for the second consecutive season, and Cal had revenge firmly on its mind. 

A year prior, the two teams met in a game that fans all across the nation had been waiting years for. Since Cal had always participated in the now-defunct Varsity Cup ever since Life's undergrad program was started, the two juggernauts had not actually squared off. 

However,  the first meeting between the two titans of college rugby was anything but a contest. Life set a D1A championship record for largest margin of victory with a 60-5 thrashing of the Golden Bears. It was shocking result, but a humbling experience for the young Cal side. 

One year later, they earned a miraculous semi-final victory over Saint Mary's to set up a rematch with Life in the final. The rematch was a phenomenal display of grit, intensity, and skill, as both sides fought tooth and nail, leaving every last ounce of their blood and sweat on the field that day. 

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Cal erased a three score deficit to take the lead with just eight minutes to go in the game, but Life responded with a try of its own to reclaim the lead with under five to go. The game ultimately came down to a Cal shot at goal to send the game to overtime, and the kick sailed just wide. It was a final worthy of memory for years, and both teams were more than deserving of walking away champions. 


International: USA vs Canada 

2019 Women's Super Series: Canada vs USA

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Any time you get the United States and Canada together for a border battle, you know it's going to be a good one. Regardless of either team's form at any given moment, the contest between the two sides will always be hotly contested. 

However, the clash between the two teams at the 2019 Women's Super Series was an instant classic, capped off with a try for the ages. 

Having gone down three tries early, the United States had dug themselves a major hole against the #3 ranked team in the world. But, coming off of two prior losses in the Super Series, the Eagles were determined they wouldn't let themselves drop to 0-3. Not on their home turf, and certainly not to their arch rivals. 

The girls found a will and they found a way to turn the tide. Some timely turnovers, some incredible individual efforts and, most importantly, a unified team effort to stay in the fight saw them turn the tide and complete the comeback, 20-18. 

Highlights: USA vs Canada

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Club 15s: Doylestown vs Atlanta Old White

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The Division II semifinal game between the Doylestown Dragons (Pennsylvania) and Atlanta Old White (Georgia) was one of the wildest endings to a game of all time. 

The match had six lead changes, and a whopping three in the final five minutes of the contest. Neither team was willing to give up despite injuries, yellow cards, and fatigue. Considering it was both teams' second 80 minute game in as many days, it's remarkable they could find the energy to duke it out until the final whistle. 

Trailing 19-13 with five minutes to play, Atlanta scored a try and converted the ensuing kick to take the lead 20-19. But Doylestown responded, scoring a try of its own on what they thought may have been the final play of the game to go ahead 24-20. But the ref said there was time on the clock for one last kickoff, and Atlanta made the most of it. Old White slowly but surely drove the ball down the field, and after a series of crashes on the goal line finally crossed over. 

This time it was the final play, and it was Atlanta that would be heading to Ohio for the DII championship game. 


Club 7s: Schuylkill River vs Park City Haggis

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After a year off from 7s competition, 2016 and 2017 Club Rugby 7s national champions Rugby Utah made a return to Club Nationals in 2019, this time branded as Park City Haggis. They came back looking as strong as ever (defeating eventual champions WAC in the tournament opener), and headed into the quarterfinals looking like one of the teams to beat. 

Their opponents, the Schuylkill River Exiles, were the absolute surprise of the tournament. The boys, who labeled themselves "12 Scumbags From Philly", only finished fourth in their own qualifying region but won the Eastern Super Qualifier in June to earn an automatic bid to Nationals. In their first game of the tournament, they were defeated 38-0 by Belmont Shore, but still managed to make it to the quarterfinals by beating the Chicago Lions and then erasing a 19-0 second half deficit to beat the hometown Kansas City Blues. 

The game with park city was a defensive struggle, but Bruce Dolan's try and Danny Giannascoli's epic sideline conversion as time was up saw the 12 Scumbags defy the odds and reach the semifinals. 

Rugby Rules 101: What Does "Ruck" Mean?

For new players to the game of rugby, the concept of a "ruck" can be a tricky one to apprehend, as there is no other sport that involves rucking. However, once you've got a clearer picture of a ruck, also known as a "breakdown", it's a relatively easy thing to understand. 

Premiership Rugby Eyes Mid-August Return

Following the league shutdown due to coronavirus in March, the Gallagher Premiership looks set for a return to action on August 15th. One week ago, UK government officials announced that elite-level sports would be able to resume on June 1st behind closed doors. 

The 5 Best Women's Rugby Shorts

Having a comfortable pair of rugby shorts can greatly impact one’s performance during training and games. When choosing shorts, you want to take into consideration the fit and the durability, especially if you’re going to be in the scrum. The last thing you would want is for your shorts to rip during a scrum because the fabric was not durable enough. In addition to the durability, you want to make sure the shorts are breathable and comfortable for tackling, running, and potentially kicking. If you’re in the market for a new pair of shorts, here are five different types of shorts that you can check out:

Rugby vs Soccer: Former SEC Soccer Player Compares The Two

One of the great things about rugby is that it's a multi-skilled sport which lends itself well to crossover athletes. Particularly in a sports-mad country like the United States, we see tons of players seamlessly make the transition from other sports to rugby. 

How To Throw A Great Rugby Pass

Throwing a great pass can carve up a defense unlike any other facet of the game in rugby. A well-timed, well-placed ball puts a defense under enormous pressure and causes fractures in the defensive line. As long as the ball is placed accurately, on time, and in a position that the receiver can catch the ball on the move without breaking stride, it doesn't matter what it looks like. Heck, if we're looking at football, think of Peyton Manning's passes. One of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game rarely threw a spiral, but he did tick the boxes of accurate, on time, and in stride. 

Some Useful Rugby Passing Drills

Here is a quick, easy passing progression that will help you and your team sharpen your distribution skills and carve opponents up on the weekends. Even the best defenses in the world cannot defend near-perfect passing, so having the ability to run-catch-pass is one of the most lethal weapons in the book. 

We Stand With You

The events of the last week have been tremendously painful to us all.

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As of June 1st, many rugby teams have been granted the option of getting together to conduct practice. However, the practices must adhere to the six feet social distancing rules and players are not allowed to use any equipment. Therefore, options for a practice plan are going to be extremely limited, but that doesn't mean you can't still get some good out of having the team together. 

Bring Em Down: How To Tackle Big Guys In Rugby

For many of rugby players out there, especially us smaller ones, we're all too familiar with the sight of a large, rampaging big man or woman lined up across from us about to get the ball. Our fight or flight instincts kick in, and in that moment of instinctual reaction we dictate the likelihood that the tackle does or does not get made. 

Step By Step Guide: How To Break Tackles In Rugby

One of the best ways to completely unhinge a defense is to beat your defender one on one with a step or a tackle bust. While not all of us can step like Cheslin Kolbe, we do all have the ability to break a tackle and get our team on the front foot. No matter your size, speed, or strength, you can always bust out of a tackle with some clever use of footwork and a trust in your balance.