For the second year in a row, Schuylkill River will have something to play for on day two at Nationals. And for the second year in a row, they’ll likely have to do so without their top playmaker – Greg Ambrogi.
He was knocked out of the tournament prior to Schuylkill’s finals appearance last year, arrived in San Francisco this year with an ankle injury, and he left after his first carry in the first half of Schuylkill’s first game Saturday because of it.
Ambrogi played sparingly in the two tournaments leading up to Nationals, so Schuylkill knows how to play without him.
“We’ve worked toward it all season, so that if we did lose him, we’d be able to play without him,” said Schuylkill coach Chris Ryan, “and we did OK in the first two games.”
Schuylkill won those over Olympic Club and OMBAC. In their third game, they came up two conversions short in a 14-10 loss to Old Blue.
“We played their style of rugby. We got out of our patient, work the field, playing our system, and we started crashing and hitting and playing really physical,” said Ryan, “and it’s not the kind of rugby we really want to play and it hurt us. When we played our rugby for about five minutes, we played really well.”
Up next for Schuylkill is Denver, who was impressive on day one. The Barbos went 3-0 and were dominant against the much ballyhooed San Diego Old Aztecs.
“They’ve got some good ballplayers out there this year,” said Ryan of Denver. “They’re much better than they were last year. If we can stay in our defensive pattern, we can create offense with our defense, and that’s what we did not do against Old Blue.”