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GECKOS REPEAT AS ALUMNI RUGBY CHAMPS

For the second straight year, the GW Geckos are Alumni Rugby champs!

By Robert Balajadia

For the second straight year, the GW Geckos are Alumni Rugby champs!

The GW Gecko Alumni rugby team won a hard fought physical battle 22-12 against the FD Phoenix Alumni Saturday afternoon at the Leo Palace Field in the championship game.

GW used a strong start to race out to a 19-0 lead while holding off the comeback efforts of the Phoenix Alumni.

Taylor Taitague scored the games first two tries, breaking free on the left side of the field on both occasions in the first half for a 12-0 lead with Tevin Santos converting on just one of the conversion goals.

“If it wasn’t for my team moving the ball around then I wouldn’t have been open on those tries. As a team, we came out here ready to win and ready to attack the ball at all times,” said Taitague.

Gecko Taylor Taitague in high spirits after scoring the teams first two tries. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

GW then got a big score from Manny ‘Never Lose’ Cruz also on the left side of the field to jump out to a 19-0 lead with the physicality amping up on both ends. With tension high, Geckos TJ Ada had to make sure his team didn’t fall apart mentally.

“It has a lot to do with our heart and the heritage of rugby. All the emotions and old feelings of high school come back. I credit the refs for being able to reign the players in at times because it could’ve gotten worst out there,” said Ada of the amped up physical play.

Instead of rolling over, the Friars responded with a score just before the half by Noah Argallon, and a conversion kick from Chris Sgro cut the lead 19-7.

Playing inspired, the Phoenix rose in the second half after Carlos Rosario broke the Gecko back line for the teams second try. A missed kick put the score 19-12 with FD trailing by just a try and conversion.

“It became a mental battle in the second half and that got to us. But we regrouped well and held it down on defense when it mattered,” added Taitague.

Late in the second half, Santos made money on a penalty kick to give GW the 22-12 lead.

With two Alumni Rugby titles in the books, the Gecko Alumni give credit to their two main foundations of success.

“Our foundation is built on two things; physicality and putting work in. FD is the most organized team on the island and we have to rely on our work ethic and physical play to win,” added Ada.

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The Guahan Junior Barbarians represented Guam well in Singapore. The girls U18 took first place in their division in the 13th Centaurs International Youth Rugby Tournament while the boys captured second place playing ironman rugby with no subs.
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