Cdr John Tolg, USN reports:

NATO LIONS RFC were hosted by the SARNO FIRC for the LIONS' second match of the Spring 2014 season Sunday 27 April in Srano, Italy. Hailing from the town of SALERNO, just an hour away from Naples, this was the third recorded encounter by LIONS against Sarno, an Italian 'Serie Two' league team. Sarno is a very large club that has U-6 through Men's. Sarno rugby is a professional outfit and a very social club.

The LIONS have had a hard time finding matches the last two seasons and so were excited to get on the pitch with many new faces having never played an actual Rugby match. The good thing was that there was a turnout of over 25 players this week, making the pre-season training an important part of preparations. The poor weather was conducive to the LIONS' heavy emphasis on the forwards but keeping control of the ball proved diffcult.

The LIONS got off to a good start scoring an unconverted try by David Greninger (USN PO). But things rapidly changed as the Sarno team lifted a gear and scored 1 converted try over the next 8 minutes leaving LIONS struggling at 5-7 after 10 minutes play. The LIONS hit back just before the half by scoring a converted try. A good piece of footwork by PO Edward Johnson (USN) took him through the breakdown, picking up the ball to run in under the posts. The score was now 12-7 going into locker room.

The first 20 minutes of the second half was a battle of wits and scrums in the centre of field. The LIONS scrum was not working well, being driven backwards or penalised too often. This forward's advantage was being utilised by SARNO and the LIONS were fortunate not to have more tries put against them. LIONS' line-out was also not working as well as it had at the end of last season. The backs were being starved of good ball and on 60 minutes of play Sarno took advantage of a fumbled LIONS ball to score their second converted try. Score now 12-14. LIONS had no substitutes and as fatigue settled in Sarno scored their third and final converted try to make it 12-21 at 60 minutes.

On 70 minutes LIONS struck back with a converted try making the score 19-21 which turned out to be the final score.  With two minutes left, LIONS' made the decision not kick for penalty and opted to go for touch with a lineout.  Team Captain believed the LIONS' were down three vice two points and wanted the win.  Had the LIONS' converted the penalty kick, the LIONS would have won 22-21.  Instead, the LIONS threw away the lineout and Sarno was able to capitalize moving the ball out their red area and then kicking into touch to end the game.

Despite the loss, LIONS thoroughly enjoyed the third half and presented NATO LIONS shirt to the Sarno Team Captain.

Team List


1.  USN Lt Cdr Gary Stevens; 2. USN LT Jimmy DeFazio 3. USN PO Dustin Owens; 4. USN CPO Andrew Boshnsack; 5. USN PO Zach Davis;  6. USN PO Corey Coleman; 7. FR MAJ Eddie Bizzeau; 8. GBR LCDR Mick Cowie; 9. USN PO Dave Greninger; 10. USN PO David Kaufeld; 11. USN PO Noln Hat; 12. USN PO Shane Anderson; 13. USN PO Kise Wisher; 14. USN LT Erik Paulson; 15. US DOS (Dep) Mark Gaulston.




Referee: Sarno Referee


 This match is part of the ‘You Play We Pay’ initiative.


The ‘You Play We Pay’ initiative
The ‘You Play We Pay’ initiative
The ‘You Play We Pay’ initiative