Brave Hearts and Brute Strength Kick Off Trans-Atlantic Tradition

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Oscar Wilde once wrote: Rugby is a good occasion for keeping thirty bullies far from the center of the city.

Far from the center of this city, Alexandrias Mayors Select First XV rugby team was bullied at least according to the score during a 76-0 loss to its sister city in the Inaugural Mayors Cup Challenge in Dundee, Scotland.

But Alexandria gave a bruising effort of its own in the August 9 matchup, which did not go unnoticed. The team from Dundee apparently lauded Alexandrias physical play after the game despite the lopsided loss.

They were all impressed with our approach to the game, especially our physical skills, said Bert Todd, committee chairperson for the Mayors Cup Committee. The other team talked about not having been pushed around like that even by some [European] teams.

The gaping deficit endured by Alexandria is common in American v. European rugby matches. Rugby has been played in Scotland for hundreds of years, while the New World is just becoming aware of the sport, rumblings of popularity emerging here in Alexandria and across the country.  

Still, scoring 76 points during a game in which the highest point denomination is 5 deserved cheers in Dundees direction.

Experience basically took over in the end, Alexandria Coach Owen Malone said. In regard to the score, the Dundee team was very happy. 

They didnt run through us as much as they ran around us, Todd said. They found our openings and exploited them.

Dundee sports journalists reported that Alexandria showed more of an attacking threat in the second half than in the first, throwing Dundee into a fierce 22-minute defensive bout with Alexandria on a drizzly and muddy Saturday. Prop Tomas Zuokas and quick-footed Brian Flinchum gave Dundee a scare, the Dundee High School Former Pupils Rugby Football Club (DHSFPC) reported, but in the end, the defense of Alexandrias Scottish counterparts proved too solid to score on.

The final score and a try tally of eleven dont fully reflect the work this Dundee team had to put in against a physically imposing Alexandria unit, especially up front, DHSFPC reported. The writer added that Dundee could not take Alexandrias physical ball carriers lightly.

A rematch scheduled for next year in Alexandria will provide the opportunity for Mayor Bill Euilles team to attempt redemption or retribution although Alexandria team officials said that off the field the Dundee team and city officials were absolute gentlemen during their stay, holding civic receptions, offering gifts and treating Alexandrians to drinks at local pubs.

Dundee really went all out for this, Todd said. Thats why were looking forward to them coming to Alexandria next year. The only way to get better is to keep playing them.  

Alexandria does not sustain a regular mens team. The team, assembled by the nonprofit Alexandria Rugby, comprises players from the Potomac Rugby Union, the league that covers Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Several players on the team live in Alexandria, however. When the sibling rivalry returns here next year, tryouts will again be held to determine who will have the opportunity to represent the city and mayor on the Mayors Cup team.

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