Week 4 Rugby Super League Review
Life University defeated Boston RFC 46-22 in the first of four games on Saturday. Dallas Harlequins and New York Old Blue played to a 40-40 standstill, while San Francisco Golden Gate triumphed over the Denver Barbarians 40-24. And in the last game of the day, Old Puget Sound Beach defeated the Chicago Griffins 27-15.
Life University v. Boston RFC
In Georgia, Life University got the scoring started through a penalty kick by Tui Osborne. A Boston penalty attempt was off the mark as the two sides were finding their stride early. Midway through the half, a sweeping backline movement was finished off by Life’s Jason Bloom. Three minutes later Shaun Van Rensburg notched another try for Life. Both tries were converted by Osborne for a 17-0 lead. Boston clawed a few points back through the boot of Kyle Marshall, but with five minutes left in the half, Life flanker Chris Truss pushed Life further ahead with another try. Boston quickly responded with a try from Terry Quick and the Marshall conversion had the halftime score at 22-10.
In the second half, Boston was first on the board, Will Haydock crossing the line to make the game a one score game. Life responded with a Jason Bloom penalty, followed by an Osborne try, which Osborne converted himself. Life continued to press, and were rewarded by a brace of tries from Alfred Qaranivalu, both converted by Osborne. Boston refused to quit and scored the final try of the day, Terry Quick getting his second. The conversion made the final score 46-22 in Life’s favor. Despite the loss, Boston coach Mike Diamantopoulos said “there were periods where the boys played well, and we were within 25-15 midway through the second half. It was a better effort, we built some momentum going into our next game”.
Dallas Harlequins v. New York Old Blue
In Dallas, I don’t think anyone could have predicted the final outcome as New York Old Blue stormed back from a seventeen point deficit in the final ten minutes to tie up the game against the Harlequins. Indeed Old Blue had a conversion attempt to win the game, but the kick was off the mark.
The game started ominously for Dallas, a team looking for their first win of the season. Just a few minutes in, a grubber kick bounced perfectly for Old Blue winger Fitzjames Adams for the opening try. A chip kick penalty from Ashley Moeke brought the score to 8-0, before center Spencer Cameron brought Dallas back into the game with a try. Another Moeke penalty brought the score to 11-7, before an interception and long run had the ‘quins knocking on the door. Repeated penalties earned an Old Blue flanker ten minutes rest in the bin, and Shawn Begg closed to gap to one point with the penalty. Another Quins line break led to a try and the first lead of the day for the home side, the score now 11-17. Old Blue responded with a well worked try in the left corner, and Moeke nailed the sideline conversion. More infringements from Old Blue earned another yellow card, and Begg kicked the penalty for the Quins to regain the lead and bring the halftime score to 18-20.
In the second half, another try from Spencer Cameron and accurate placekicking stretched the Dallas lead to fifteen points at 18-33. Old Blue scored a try through Will Brazier, but Dallas replied with a converted try. With less than fifteen minutes left, the game seemed in the bag for Dallas, but Old Blue had other ideas. First a close range try from Mark Griffith narrowed the gap, then Old Blue were awarded a penalty try after repeated penalties by Dallas. Those penalties also resulted in another yellow card and suddenly Old Blue were only five points adrift. The restart after the penalty try went directly into touch, and Old Blue opted for the scrum center. Old Blue went on the blind side, and simple hands sent Fitzjames Adams free down the touchline. Adams went around or over would-be tacklers to score in the corner to tie the game. The sideline conversion fell short and the game ended in a 40-40 tie.
San Francisco Golden Gate v. Denver Barbarians
In San Francisco, another high scoring game was on the cards, with San Francisco Golden Gate squaring off against the Denver Barbarians. SFGG was first on the board with an early try by Tevita Okusi, followed soon after by a score from SFGG second row John Thomas. Volney Rouse’s conversions make the score 14-0. Denver hits back with scores from scrumhalf Ben Nichols and winger Jake Humphrey. Max DeAchaval converts the second to bring the score to 14-12. Center Dean Cummins adds a third try for SFGG and the halftime score was 19-12 in favor of SFGG.
With SFGG enjoying numerical advantage due to Denver yellow cards, substitute Jone Naqica scores a try shortly after half time and the Rouse conversion makes the score 26-12. Denver quickly hits back with a long run, finished off by Andy Post. DeAchaval again converts, narrowing the gap to 26-19, but the evergreen Naqica soon scores again to restore the 14 point lead. DeAchaval keeps Denver in touch by notching the team’s fourth try of the afternoon, but with less than ten minutes left SFGG reserve Mosese Atiola scores SFGG’s sixth and final try. Rouse’s conversion ended the scoring at 40-24. San Francisco takes maximum points from the encounter, but Denver salvages a bonus point for scoring four tries, which could become very important later.
OPSB v. Chicago Griffins
In Seattle, Old Puget Sound Beach came up with a 27-15 win over the visiting Chicago Griffins in the final game of the night. OPSB had the best of the opening scenes, repeatedly pressuring the Griffins’ line, but at least three penalties for holding on cost the team scoring opportunities. Finally after fifteen minutes scrumhalf Ratu Emosi Vucago makes a break from the base of a ruck and goes half the length of the field to score under the posts. Minutes later OPSB center Nicholas Hawkins comes close to scoring a second for OPSB, but the defense recovers in time. Shortly after that, a break by Alipate Tuilevuka enables Filimoni Botitu to score in the corner for a 12-0 lead. With OPSB enjoying a man advantage after a yellow card issued to the Griffins, Botitu makes another break and dishes off to Hawkins for the third OPSB try in the first half.
The Griffins finally start to get their hands on the ball and make inroads into OPSB territory. With a lineout near the OPSB line, Chicago’s best opportunity goes to waste with a missed throw. With OPSB’s winger now serving time in the bin, the Griffins press on, coming close on a couple of occasions. A muffed restart from OPSB gives the Griffins a scrum ten meters out, but on the ensuing ruck, overly aggressive use of the boot relieves the pressure on OPSB and the half finishes 17-0.
In the second half, the Griffins continue their much improved play, and after ten minutes get on the board with a try near the corner. Shortly after, a kick and chase by the Griffins is rewarded with a try in almost the same place, and suddenly the score is 17-10. But OPSB manages to turn up the tempo once again, and hits another try to move ahead 22-10. Ten minutes later Tuilevuka finishes off a wave of OPSB attacks, scoring in the corner to give the team some breathing room. With time winding down, the Griffins score again to narrow the gap to 22-15. The hurry up conversion attempt is off the mark and there would be no more scoring in the game. OPSB takes the maximum number of points on offer in their first game of the season, while the Griffins have a couple of weeks off to prepare for the arrival of Denver.