The Runner Sports

USA Club Rugby Report: Life West Crowned Women’s DI Club Rugby Champions; Elizabeth Cairns Player Of The Match

The Life West Gladiatrix are champions again defeating the Raleigh Venom 39-17 to claim the Women’s DI Club Rugby Championship. Gladiatrix’s Number 8, Elizabeth Cairns, was named Player of the Match after a dominating defensive performance and skilled attacking game; running with power, creating space, and opportunity for teammates the entire match.

First Half

Raleigh’s timely defense and miscues by the Gladiatrix kept the score close despite Life West’s dominance early. Flanker Meme Taumoefolu scored a quick 5 points for Life West but Raleigh’s determination turned the Gladiatrix away time and time again to avoid a blowout early. A converted Cerrin Eldridge try put Raleigh ahead 7-5 but Life West struck back quickly on the outside where they had success the entire first 40.

After 20 minutes, the score was tied at 10 and Raleigh fans had to be thinking upset but a high tackle by Raleigh flanker Kayla Thompson received a yellow card and Life West never looked back. Wingers Mirelle Raza and Megan Foster and fly-half Atumata Hingano each dotted the ball down giving the Gladiatrix 27-10 before the sin bin time expired. Center Hali Deters closed out the first half scoring sending the clubs to the shed 34-10.

Second Half

After an explosive first 40 for Life West, the second half was a clinic in eating the clock as they pounded the middle. Fatigue induced penalties and handling errors only aided the Gladiatrix’s second half strategy.

Raleigh had several bright spots during the match via a defense that frustrated Life West early. A Megan Gilmore try in the second half gave them hope, and the magnificent boot of fly-half Chelsea Garber loomed ever-present but none of it was enough.

Developing Dynasty

Life West are two for two as champions in two years of existence, they have dominated their opposition since day one, and don’t appear to be slowing down. Will they join the Women’s Premier League next season? Can anyone step up and stop this juggernaut? Are we watching the next great dynasty in women’s club rugby? Only time will tell but for now, the Life West Gladiatrix stand atop the rugby mountain and no one appears ready to knock them off.



-By Jason Graves