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TRUE GRIT TOURNEY CONCLUDES WITH SUNDAY PLATE MATCHES

Rugby players from all over Guam gathered at Wettengel field this weekend to participate in the 20th annual True Grit Tournament. Teams flew in from Saipan and Japan to test their mettle against some of Guam’s best players.

By Nick Akimoto

Rugby players from all over Guam gathered at Wettengel field this weekend to participate in the 20th annual True Grit Tournament. Teams flew in from Saipan and Japan to test their mettle against some of Guam’s best players. After two days full of exciting rugby matches, it all came down to the final games in the U-19 Boys, Women’s, and Men’s divisions.

U-19 Plate Game – Ulutea vs Sharkpac

The final matches kicked off with the young and talented Ulutea and Sharkpac teams. Ulutea drew first blood after a chip over the defense brought them within Sharkpac’s 22-meter line, and Ulutea poached the ball and brought it in for the first score to make it 5-0. Sharkpac received the ball, but failed to make much ground. Ulutea swarmed the Sharkpac’s attack and ended up recovering the ball.

Ulutea then quickly swung the ball across the field to build their lead to 12-0. The Ulutea were sitting pretty looking to close out the half, but Sharkpac refused to end the half quietly as a Sharkpac player ran across the whole field to cut the lead to 12-7

Sharkpac rode the momentum of the try into the second half as they started with a breakaway run. The Ulutea fullback was just able to slow him down enough to prevent a score, but the Sharkpac team would not be moved. Sharkpac kept the ball on Ulutea’s half of the field, and eventually ran in the ball to comeback after their slow start.

Sharkpac comepleted the comeback as the Sharkpac wing broke out around the edge to score last points and make the final score 21-12, giving the U-19 Plate to Sharkpac

Women’s Plate Game – Little Blacks vs Hale-ta

The Women’s final game came down between Hale-ta and the Little Blacks. The Little Blacks flew in from Japan to participate in the tournament, and they managed to reach the plate game, but they were met with some of the best female rugby players on the island. Hale-ta could seemingly do no wrong, as they managed to score a try in the opening seconds of the match. This would set the tone for the rest of the match, as Hale-at would continue to dominate the visiting Little Blacks team.

The swarming Hale-ta defense would also hold the Little Blacks from getting anything going. Hale-at kept moving the Little Blacks back and then their counter-ruck would allow them to get the ball and give them an opportunity to score. All these elements built up to a 43-0 Hale-Ta shutout, securing them the Women’s division title.

Men’s Plate Game – Para Todu vs Guam Rugby Club

The tournament came to a climax in the final match of the tournament between the star-studded Para Todu and Guam Rugby Clubs. The sidelines came to life as the crowd was excited to see who would come out as champion of the weekend. Para Todu would put the first points on the board, as a their scrum half juked his way through the GRC defense and behind the try line.

After a successful conversion, the score would be 7-0. GRC would even the score right up however after some great runs from the GRC forwards brought them within scoring distance, giving them prime field position to pound the ball in to make the score 7-7.

The second half would start ugly for GRC after a fumbled pass flew into the hands of a Para Todu player, who grounded the ball to gain a 14-7 lead. As the time began to tick down, a Para Todu started to look more and more certain, but a long-arm penalty GRC an opportunity and they took advantage of it. The experienced players passed the ball down the line, drawing in defenders until eventually, they got it out to their wing, who willed his way to the try line to tie up the game 14-14 after they made the conversion.

The game then went into overtime, and tensions began to rise. Neither side would give in, and the big hits began to take a toll on the players. Both teams played their hearts out, but at the end of overtime, both teams had given all they had left to give. The two teams decided to end in a tie, and the title was split between The Guam Rugby Club and The Para Todu Rugby Club.

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