RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --
The Ramstein Rogues roughed up Frankfurt 1880 31-17 in a Division-II home-opener rugby match at the Queidersbach SportPlatz Sept. 1.
After completing an undefeated 2011-2012 season in the Division-III German National Rugby-Bundesliga the team moved up to Division-II in the Southern conference.
There was some question whether this young Rogues' team could compete in the league, but after this battle with the seasoned Frankfurt team there is no doubt they are here to stay.
The Rogues dominated the first half 14-3 keeping the ball on their end of the pitch for most of the half.
The Frankfurt team fought back early in the second half while the winded Rogues tried to catch their breath. There were several hard defensive battles that ended in Frankfurt scores. Frankfurt turned the tables leading 17-14 with about 15 minutes left in the match.
The Rogues' caught their second wind and regained composure pushing the Frankfurt team back. With several long runs late in the second half the Rogues regained the lead and never looked back. The final score was 31-17.
"There was nothing they did wrong that will keep me awake at night," said Matt McKee, Ramstein's head coach. "These guys showed a lot of character despite not having about 12 of our starters today."
He said Frankfurt was a tough, experienced team and this win shows the Rogues are ready for this year's schedule.
"There are a few things we need to work on, but a win like this helps build our confidence," McKee said.
For one player this win was bittersweet.
This marked the final match here for Clive French, the out-going coach and one of the more experienced players on the team.
"I have been playing rugby for more than 25 years and this is the first time I have gotten emotional about leaving a team," French said.
He said the camaraderie and friends he made during his time with the Rogues will be something he will never forget.
"The team is looking great this year and they will only get stronger," French said.
McKee said he was very proud of the team's performance.
"I'm really proud of these guys, especially the younger guys," he said. "They earned their shirts today."
Their next match will be against Eintracht Frankfurt at Queidersbach SportPlatz Sept. 8 at 3 p.m.
For more information about the team visit their website at www.ramsteinrogues.com
or like them on Facebook.