Union County RFC Youth Tackle toured the United Kingdom this past Easter break. The club brought a U18 Boys, U16 Boys, and High School Girls teams for a total of 38 players along with 27 chaperones. All three age groups played games in Somerset and Devon counties. After visiting the Taunton Titans, a National League 2 South, team for their match against Redruth on April 8, the Mudturtles headed to their accommodations at Croydon Hall near Minehead, U.K.
The following day, the Mudturtles were hosted by Burnham-on-Sea for the day. The U18 boys lead the Burnham boys at the half 12 - 5. After a few strategic moves, the Burnham team took control with the score finishing 43 - 12. The Man-of-the-Match for U18 Union RFC was flyhalf Hunter Musson. In the U16 game, Burnham filled out the Mudturtles to put out a social side game. Captain Shayan Burns was the U16 Man of the Match. The Mudturtles High School girls were joined by the Somerset RFC in their social game against the Weston Hornets. Alison Bronander was the Woman of the Match
On April 11, the Mudturtles took on the local club Minehead Barbarians RFC. After a hard fought match, the U18 boys fell to a tough Minehead team. The Man-of-the-Match was inside center, Ryan Dones. The Barbarians loaned a few players to the Mudturtle U16 boys to fill out their side. Brendan Loder was the U16 Man of the Match. The Union County High School girls were joined by their previous foes from the Weston Hornets as well as some of the Somerset RFC ladies to take on the Minehead Barbarians Ladies. Faith Whitfield played a stellar match scoring 2 times to take the Women of the Match.
On April 13, the Mudturtles traveled to Barnstaple RFC to face a tough foe. For the U18 boys the match started out with hard-hitting tackling as the Barnstaple boys wanted to prove a point. The Mudturtle U18 boys rallied hard and played tough defense only to give up a few tries. Charlie Monzo demonstrated the tenacity of the Mudturtles by running successful crash balls, which seemed to cause the Barnstaple squad fits. In the U16 match, Zach Composto stepped up and garnered the Man of the Match honors with his tough play. In the final game for the Mudturtle Girls, they again were joined by Somerset RFC and Weston Hornets to take on a young Barnstaple RFC girls side. In the end, the Mudturtle Girls secured the only tour victory for Union County RFC on this tour.
"The tour was a great success for the club and the rugby community back in New Jersey," remarked U18 Head Coach Bill MacLaney. "We see touring with our young people as a means of giving back to our kids an experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
The defending NJ U18 Boys club division champions of 2016 are off to a strong start of the season going 3 - 0 in their first 3 league match. They defeated Bergen by a score of 29 - 22. The Rutgers University sponsored Man of the Match for the Backs was Hunter Musson, while Jorden Barham was for the forwards. The Mudturtles traveled to Ridge Rugby and defeated them 19-12. The Rutgers University sponsored Man of the Match for the back was Ryan Dones and the forwards was Sebastian Morales.Their latest league match saw them handle Jersey Shore 31 -12. The Rutgers University sponsored Man of the match for the forwards was 8-man, Cam Varnish, while scrum half Sean MacLaney was the Man of the Match for the backs. The Mudturtle match up this week will be against the always difficult side of Morris RFC in Danville, NJ.
U18 Boy Head Coach
Director of Youth Tackle Rugby
Union County RFC, Mudturtle Rugby
Rugby New Jersey