October 21: Blues vs Chicago Lions

By October 21, 2023Uncategorized

Results: October 21
Kansas City Blues 31 - Chicago Lions 15
Kansas City Blues D2 13 - KCRFC - 83


This past Saturday was a Rugby day for the ages in Kansas City complete with all the normal scenes from a Rugby day.  Players and coaches, Old Boys with Cigars, WAGS and family on the sidelines, a few dogs on leashes and a few babies.  Grill smoke rising and floating above it all.  The day was about as perfect of a day as we could ask for.  (got it just in time huh, we living in London this week?!)  70 degrees and the sunshine shining down on the beating heart of the Kansas City Rugby scene.  A whose who of Kansas City Rugby all in one place on one day. The Missouri State Girls 7s Championships (Congrats to Blues Alumnus Coach Klumpers and Coach Orth of Aquanas and Liberty North, respectively), The 2023 version of The Rivalry with Blues D2 vs KCRFC and a Defacto playoff game between Kansas City Blues D1 and the Chicago Lions.  What more can you want out of a Rugby Saturday?  And what a day it was.


Kansas City Blues D2 13 - Kansas City Rugby Football Club - 83

Growing pains.  That is the theme of the first game.  Credit to KCRFC, they came out fast and tough.  Sporting a 6 game winning streak the longtime D2 stalwarts came to 1 Teal Rising Way ready to play.  They started hot with 3 tries in the first 10 minutes and proved hard to slow down.  Our D2 boys played them physically tough, but struggled to maintain possession of the ball and to build phases.   Kicks from their 10 Ollie Jones pinned us back and made us pay for penalties.  Hard runs and a try from past Blues standout Afa Tapusoa was salt in the wound.  All in all, they proved to be a higher caliber team.  That is the growing pains part of all this.  Our D2 took a major step in moving from D3 to D2 this past year.  The Delta between D3 and D2 is much larger than between D2 and D1.  After moving up and finding success against Omaha, it was time to take our D2 medicine.  Onward and Upward with lessons learned.  We have a bar that needs lifted and we don't have to wait long for the next opportunity.  The D2 squad travels to NW Arkansas to take on the Gryphons this Saturday as part 1 of our road trip double header.


Kansas City Blues 31 - Chicago Lions 15

The finale started much like many of our D1 games this year.  A little slow going and in our own 22.  A few penalties pushed us back and the Lions took a penalty kick for points to make it 0-3.  A knock on gave them the ball back inside our own 22 but once again a goal line stand (that is a theme of this year) kept the Lions out of the try zone.  But the Blues would respond.  After a few forward phases in the middle of the field the ball went wide to Star Wing Osi (at this point, you can just use a single word name with Osi.  Like Pele.  Or Prince.)  who barreled into the try zone for a double try.  What is a double try you ask?  Well he ran out of the back of the skinny try zone on the first attempt (the things are skinny, honest mistake).  But after a Lions goal line drop kick, the ball was again sent wide to Osi who redeemed himself immediately with a try.

The next score was the best try of the season and possibly the coolest try in the last 5 years of Blues Rugby.  Blues beloved import Ezzy Fukokuka, who is a goddang prop, saw the defense pulled up and popped a chip kick over the defensive line.  It was chased down by Greg Fry, who stiff armed a defender and then popped back to a trailing Ezzy, who took another contact and popped again to Aren Martin who went around the corner and into the try zone for another Blues score.  The Lions were not going down without a fight however.  After a Blues yellow card the Lions marched down the field and scored before half to make the score 12-10 Blues.

Coming out of halftime the Blues got to moving the ball once again.  This time it was the second of the day for Aren Martin, who in the most important game of the season really stepped up and made his presence known.  He took a wide ball and hit an inside cut to score under the posts.  19-10 Blues.  The lions are a tough side and this is when things got dicey.  They drove down the field once again and caused a havoc with their lineouts and mauls.  Two yellow cards were shown to the Blues in rapid succession. Down two men the Blues could not withstand another goal line offensive and gave up a try.  19-15.

Then the biggest play of the game happened when Blues rookie Daniel Tapusoa picked off a pass (while still down two men) and took it back to the house for a try.  26-15 Blues.  It was truly our biggest time of need and the biggest play of the season.  There was over 5 min left on both yellow cards and it absolutely killed the Lions momentum.  The contest wasn't over, there was 15 more minutes of hard runs on both sides, but that effectively sealed the deal.  The dagger came at the end when Captain Jimmy Lillis fought through contact and offloaded to Osi for a long run and his second try of the game.  Blues win 31-15 and earn a berth to the Midwest Premiership Semi Finals.

This weekend D2 heads to Arkansas for another league match.  The D1 heads to St Louis for a rough draft of a possible Midwest Premiership final game.  To make that happen we need to come out victorious in the Semi Finals. The D1 will travel to the winner of the Eastern Conference, which you can take a look at the standings here: https://www.midwest.rugby/midwest-premiership/  Cincinatti sits in first place and Detroit in second.  However, they play each other in their regular season final this weekend with the winner earning home field advantage.  Cincinatti is in first place but lost a close one by 3 points earlier in the season at Detroit.  The Blues will anxiously await the results to see where the destination and opponent for next weekends semi final will be, but either way, we will be ready to play.  The Blues are in the Playoffs for the first time since 2019.  Dang its a good time to be a Blue.  LBO3!


Kansas City Blues D2 vs KCRFC

1) Jordan Gali 2) Charles Donnici 3) Jon Khalil (VC) 4) Andrew Ness 5) Onesi Pule 6) Carter Martin 7) Gabe Caldas 8) Tom Murphy 9) Luke Christensen 10) Gavin Kirk  (C) 11) Alejandro Echavarría12) Mona Faitau 13) Cameron Kirkland   14) Josh Watson 15) Ahmed Barro 16) Jay Estes 17) Tauivi Olamaleva18) Caleb Boyce 19) Juwan Peace 20) Hela Arbigail 21) Tommy Eads 22) JT Bergner 23) Fabi Bortolotti

Kansas City Blues D1 vs Chicago Lions

1) Isikeli Fukofuka 2) Stephen Lomas 3) Esylad, Seif 4) Jonathan Bloomfield 5) Matt Wirken 6) Chase Higgins 7) Danny Apgar 8) Jimmy Lillis (C) 9) Lavea, Tuuaga 10) Sam Chapman 11) Nick Hartley 12) Greg Fry (VC) 13) Aren Martin 14) Osi Nauer 15) Lewis, Ty 16) Omar Tapia 17) Mike Lillis 18) Zach Cohen 19) Konnor Thompson 20) Blakeston Bryant 21) Ryan Ellison 22) Daniel Tapusoa 23) Wayden Mosinkie

Scott Kram - Head Coach
Jamie Dever - Pack Coach
Darragh Leader - Backs Coach
Casey Cummings - Assistant Coach
Darlwin Nelson - Assistant Coach
Kyle Izard - Manager