More than 40 men shared bruises, songs, food, and booze in the backroom of Fitzgerald’s Irish Pub downtown last Saturday. They had earned their feast earlier in the day during the battle between the Chapel Hill Warriors Rugby Club and Greensboro’s Triad.
The Warriors were celebrating a 48-17, vengeful victory in their first game of 2014. The battleground had been the newly laid artificial turf field at Cedar Falls Park.
Drew Zabor, club president and team captain, enjoyed the win because the Warriors lost to Triad by seven points last September in a close game. “This was very sweet revenge,” said Zabor, “we came out very strong on offense.”
The home team scored their 48 points through eight tries in 80 minutes, four of them converted. Triad’s 17 points came from two converted tries and one field goal. (Touching the ball to the ground in the end zone scores a try.)
In an uneventful first half, the Warriors touched the ball down twice and Triad kicked one field goal for a half-time score of 12-3.
The second half was decided by the superior fitness of the Warriors.
The Warriors scored early and in quick succession, increasing their lead to 26-3 with a kick block, recovery, chase and try from winger Charles Clark, and then a line break followed by a half-field footrace from inside-center Corbin Mosley. Triad responded with a converted try as flanker Taylor Gentry broke the line from 10 yards out to make it 26-10. The Warriors scored next for 31-10.
Triad’s final try saw their fullback leave the field holding his shoulder. The Warriors owned the game from there. They took advantage of Triad’s injury to score three tries and go ahead by 31 points, to 48-17, an impassable lead in the 10 minutes remaining.
One of the final tries came from a smart pop-pass from eight-man Ryan Murphy to Zabor, his former collegiate rugby teammate, which left Zabor with the space and pace to cross the line untouched.
The game ended as Triad, undeterred by the odds, built on a strong offense to power over the try-line, only to see Warrior inside-center Will Teague block the ball from the ground.
The home team rejoiced after the referee signaled “no try given” and blew the final whistle.
The Warriors’ season continues on Feb. 8 with an away match against Southern Pines.
Visit www.chapelhillwarriors.org for more information.