The Runner Sports

Boston Irish Wolfhounds Open Fall Season With Win Over Portland

Kicking off their first fall season in NERFU DII, the Boston Irish Wolfhounds launched their 2017 fall season with an empowering 41-17 win over Portland Rugby.

It was a perfect autumn weekend to open the rugby campaign; not too hot, not too cold with clear beautiful skies. A pair of eager clubs were anxious to start to chip into their nine-game seasons. The NERFU schedule, compressed by the icy claws of New England’s wintry grip, puts a stress on each outing and every point collected. That chippiness reared its head as these two sides clashed for the first time. Chirping at one another in abundance, the two sides nearly came to blow on a pair of occasions. But as quickly as tempers rose, level-headed colleagues were able to step in and keep things under control.

Match official Sean McKenna was hearing it from both sides, but by all accounts kept what was a quick-paced game under control. He did hand out two cards on the afternoon, including a red to Portland’s outside center. McKenna also admitted in a brief post-game comment that he might have been quick to hand out a yellow to Wolfhounds’ scrum half Lucas Pialat for playing a Portland penalty, resulting in a delay of game sin binning.

Portland seemed to have the early advantage; a pack that visibly packed a bigger punch than the Wolfhounds creating early pressure off set pieces, but each time they came a knocking, Boston held ’em at bay.

It was the Wolfhounds that cracked the board first on a quick reset off a penalty within the 22 that saw scrum half Lucas Pialat breach the line. Kicking his own conversion, Pialat would ring one off the post to keep the score 5-0.

Portland made quick work to get the points right back as they stormed down to break the line to the right by the Portland open-side flanker. The Portland #18, assumingly playing at fly half, missing his first conversion attempt of the day to knot it 5-5.

It was near the 20-minute mark that Portland outside center try scorer was sent off for a high hit that resulted in contact to the head.

After looking a little lead footed in capitalizing on the man advantage, the Wolfhounds pushed up the center until Tyler Ierardi tumbled to the sticks to collect the score on the right pole. Again, Pialat would miss the conversion, as Wolfhounds stood at a 10-5 lead.

Even down a man, Portland was quick to get the points back as the PRFC #5 lock crashed to the right of the sticks to tie it at 10, the boot working to take the 10-12 lead following the conversion.

Following Pialat’ yellow near the 30-minute mark, Portland streaked along the right to extend to a 10-17 lead following the missed conversion.

As time was expiring on the half, the Wolfhounds set up a final push. Off a lineout within the 22, a ground breaking maul pushed to the corner in the right where Portland stood strong. Swinging the ball out left and then back to the middle, it was again Ierardi to dot down. With Pialat off, Sam Grant overtook the kicking duties and put it through the uprights to send the match to half drawn at 17.

Where Portland hung around in the first, the action was all Wolfhounds in the second. An Arshan Tarrapore try and a try from Boston sub Tommie Walsh on a clean interception and open field sprint extended things to 29-17.

A great series of passes on the left that began with a gorgeous offload from Paddy Meenan to Tarrapore culminated in an Alex Verdauger try under the sticks, extending the lead to 36-17 after another conversion from Grant.

The onslaught wasn’t quite over as Meenan capped the day off with a crisp up and over to score down the right, pushing things to the final 41-17.

Ready to celebrate, Boston nearly took the foot off enough to allow a long streaking run down the left touch by Portland. A tackle at the try line and hold up keeping the try and bonus point from going Portland’s way.

The Wolfhounds pick up the confident building five-point bonus win while keeping a clean sheet for the visiting Portland side. They’ll head down to Connecticut to face the Hartford Wanderers next weekend.

Tyler Arnold

Tyler Arnold

I am the founder and editor-in-chief of The Runner Sports. I've been an avid sports fan since I was a child and have turned that love into a profession. I will watch, comment, and break down anything I can get my hands on, from football to white water rafting in the Olympics. Your visit means a lot to me, so thank you for your readership.
Tyler Arnold