The Frisco Griffins are ready for the Division II USA Rugby National Championships after finishing first in Texas with a record of 9-1 and a staggering average margin of victory of 45 points. Known as a hard-hitting defensive unit, the Griffins are looking forward to a challenging match against Pasadena.
A key player this season for the griffins is No. 8 Gonzo Ruiz, who joined the team this season from the Dallas Harlequins. He provides the team with an athletic body and, “rugby intelligence that we desperately needed,” said Griffins captain Kevin Harrell. Ruiz’s combination of athleticism and intellect makes him good at reading defenses, running lines, and creating gaps.
The Griffins’ only loss of the year came against Shreveport, and it was a significant moment in the growth of the team. In the match, their defense was more disorganized than usual and it became a focus for the team to improve on. They went down 15-0 early in the game and were able to close the gap to 15-14, but were not able to complete the comeback and the loss helped to identify problem areas in their game.
Through the early part of the season, the Griffins were destroying their opponents and had yet to face adversity. Finally taking a loss caused the team to realize that although they started off their season with many impressive victories, they still had a lot of room to improve especially on defense.
Looking forward to the upcoming match, Harrell says that he has had the chance to watch some film on Pasadena. He expects an intense matchup between two strong forward units. “We’re a hard-hitting team,” said Harrell. “If we focus on that, we should be in good shape.”