In the final two matches of the 2013 season while in tour in Hawaii, Stanford found another gear of aggression and passion and put in two strong performance against the Laie Lions on Thursday March 28th in Kahuku (North Shore), O’ahu, and then against the Hawaii Harlequins on Saturday March 30th at Kapiolani Park in Waikiki, O’ahu.
Against a formidable Laie Lions team, that included former international rugby players, college football stars and even NFL players, Stanford came out of the gates on fire, matching the physicality of the local side with much determination and grit. Stanford was also able to play with significant precision, moving the ball around the field and challenging the Laie defense in multiple areas. While possession and field position remained even through the half, Laie’s athleticism allowed them to score a few long range tries, while Stanford came close to the line multiple times, but was unable to push the ball over. At the half Laie led 15-0.
In the second half, Stanford exerted even more pressure, and while Laie was able to cross the line twice more, Stanford’s efforts were rewarded with a try mid way through the second half. A vibrant local crowd, expecting to see a demolishing, were impressed by the Stanford effort and applauded loudly when the students were able to cross the line. After the game, Stanford was able to take in some of the North Shore Polynesian culture by visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center for a meal and a show.
In the second game, it was Stanford who struck first against the Hawaii Harlequins, earning a quick 5-0 lead. The Harlequins stormed back to take a healthy 22-10 lead by the half. Nonetheless, there was no quit in the Stanford team who kept clawing back into the game exchanging tries with the hosts, coming close to leveling the score, but eventually succumbing to a 29-39 defeat.
Overall, while Stanford played two teams much larger in size and with more experience, the Cardinal played with great passion and aggression, earning the respect of their hosts and finding another level of play that they hope to take into next season.