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50 Greatest Games: 2011 U19 National Championships

Did you play, coach, or referee a game that should be counted amongst the 50 Greatest Games in women's rugby history? Submit it here!

We continue our celebration of the 50th Anniversary of women’s rugby with another installment of the 50 Greatest Games in women’s rugby history. We celebrate this golden jubilee today with a submission from Jackie Finlan: Fallbrook Warriors vs the Sacramento Amazons.

The game kicked off with the intensity and nerves that can be expected from a National Championship match. The two U19 sides had met a year previously and Fallbrook had taken a harsh beating from the much larger Amazons. In fact, they spent the next year training to tackle bigger opponents, and completely changing the way they played the game. This tactic would work in their favor, and when the two met again, the Amazons were facing a very different opponent.

The match would be one for the ages, with the speedier, technique-driven Warriors clashing with the Amazon’s fierce physicality and power. Fallbrook knew what they were up against, they had trained relentlessly and their hard work was proof that they meant business.

Sacramento made an attempt to wear Fallbrook down, keeping the ball tight and using their strength against the smaller team, but Fallbrook met them with fierce tenacity, and their speedy ball movement won the day.

“Everything worked out perfectly,” Pinnell said. “All the moves worked.” - Craig Pinnell, Village News

Hand to hand, the ball passed almost effortlessly through the hands of the Fallbrook players, who avoided physical confrontation and instead focused on spinning the ball out to their backs. Standouts include sisters Megan and Samantha Pinson, Tara Burke, and Bere Ruvalcaba who Jackie, our submitter, says was “, this tiny little thing, putting two square shoulders into a ballcarrier, and it tells the whole story.”

Not to be discouraged, Vaimoana Vailea, team leader of the Amazons, led an incredible effort to beat the Warriors, even with a score of 30-0. Joanne Faavesi got sent off with a yellow card as their frustrations rose. Despite some promising chances at a try, Sacramento was simply beat by Fallbrook’s powerhouse defense. In the end, Fallbrook came out on top with the game ending at a massive 60-0, an incredible comeback for the Warriors, and a harsh defeat for the Amazons.

A true David and Goliath match, this championship still impresses so many, which is why it’s part of our 50 Greatest Games in women’s rugby.

All images from Village News Fallbrook.

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