In week 8 of the Rugby Super League, Life University defeated Old Blue 49-20, NYAC won over Boston 47-15 and San Francisco defeated Chicago Griffins 52-10.
In Georgia, Life University extended a 14-3 halftime lead to finish at 49-20. Life got the maximum number of points on offer while denying Old Blue any bonus points. The win consolidates Life’s position in second place in the conference, improving their record to 5-1 while dropping Old Blue to 1-4-1. The win means Life has secured at least the second place in the conference.
The first half began slowly for both teams. Four consecutive infringements allowed Life to have a shot at goal with barely a few seconds of rugby having been played, but the penalty effort was off the mark. Line-outs for both teams were misfiring, preventing either team from getting much started, Life’s Kris Headlee being particularly visible in disrupting Old Blue’s lineout. Old Blue’s Daniel Freed-Pastor started the visitors’ most promising first half attack with a nice line-break, but the support player knocked on near the Life ‘22’, stopping the threat. Later Life flanker Jason Davila started a break near midfield, leading to an attacking scrum near the Old Blue line. From the scrum, Tui Obsorne cut back through the defense to score the first try of the day. Aaron McMaster added the conversion for a 7-0 lead. Shortly after, a strong run by Life winger Shaun van Rensburg led to a try for Alfred Qaranivalu, and Life was out to a 14-0 lead. Old Blue clawed back an Ashley Moeke three pointer near the end of the half to leave the half-time score at 14-3.
Ten minutes into the second half, Davila ended a period of Life pressure with his side’s third try, and the conversion extended the lead to 21-3. A further ten minutes in, Benny Mateialona added another hard earned try, and Life was sitting on a comfortable 28-3 lead. Old Blue wasn’t done however, and, aided by a string of penalties, brought the score to 28-10 with a Steve Strydom try and Moeke conversion. Life quickly responded with Qaranivalu’s second try of the day to restore the lead. In the final fifteen minutes, the teams traded two tries each, Life converting their two, Old Blue missing theirs to bring the final score to 49-20.
“The first half was very messy, but we upped the pace in the second” said Life player-coach James Isaacson, “our scrum improved as the game went on….the heat took a toll on New York as the game went on - not to take away from what we accomplished - but we are still inconsistent and we need to improve in some areas if we are to contest in the later stages.”
In Boston, NYAC came away with the 47-15 win to move to 6-0 on the season, though Boston made NYAC work hard for the win and the game appeared much closer than the final score might suggest. NYAC did start very well, getting scores from James Denise and Steve Evans for an early 14 point lead. But much of the next twenty minutes belonged to Boston, who hammered away at NYAC. A lineout move appeared to have Boston on the board, but it was called back for a penalty. A quick break by NYAC in midfield followed by some crisp passing led to another NYAC try, somewhat against the run of play. Aided by several penalties, Boston marched back up-field, and Derek Wovumba took a quick tap and crashed over for a try to leave the halftime score at 21-5.
Boston started the second half as they finished the first, scoring a try, this time through prop Anthony Purpura. The penalties continued until the referee had enough and sent NYAC #8 to the bin.
Boston closed the gap to 21-15 before NYAC’s Mike Petri quick tapped a penalty of his own and went half the field for his side’s all important fourth try. In the game’s final quarter, NYAC added three more scores to stretch the win to 47-15. “We made tough work for ourselves” said NYAC’s Neil McMillan, “we scored a couple of good early tries and then took our foot off the gas a little…we scored heavily in the last ten minutes but that flattered because I think Boston was right in it and they were coming at us in the second half”. Boston’s Mike Diamantopoulos added “We played better in pieces, and although we ended up losing by a lot I’m happy we are progressing. We have a lot of work to do, and I feel like we are getting closer and at times we played some pretty good rugby today.”
In the East, Life University (5-1) visits Boston (0-4) next week, while Dallas (0-3-2) takes on New York Old Blue (1-4-1).
On Treasure Island, San Francisco Golden Gate moved out to a 40-4 halftime lead on the way to a 52-10 win over the visiting Chicago Griffins. John Thomas, Drew Hyjer and Volney Rouse were among the try scorers for SFGG in the first half. SFGG backs coach Grant Wells reported “we had a pretty good first half, we moved the ball quite well and the support play was there, a lot of good passing. In the second half we dropped off a lot, obviously, we had some unforced errors and stuff like that, and we couldn’t seem to get any momentum going in the second half. We did try to go out with the same mindset in the second half with playing our style of game, but some penalties and unforced errors and trying to force some things definitely effected us. But overall we seem to be hitting our stride late in the season which bodes well for us. We denied Chicago the ball in the first half so they were playing a defensive game. In the second half they played a lot better, held more possession and had better field position. They tried to move it around but we defended will and waited for our opportunities.”
San Francisco (3-1) travels to Denver (0-4) next week, while Old Puget Sound (3-0) plays in Chicago (2-3) in a pivotal week that should go a long way to determining the final standings in the West conference.