Round Six Recap
Last week’s games were defined by drama, while this weekend it saw offenses running wild across the league. A few teams ran off to huge wins, while one 93-point back and forth cracker proved to be the match of the week.
Read along to catch up on all of the Week Six matches.
Early Lead, Late Run Enough to Sustain Atlanta over New Orleans
Atlanta came out aggressively in the second round of this backyard bash with a chip and chase recovered by Marno Redelinghuys. The big lock offloaded to wing Rory Van Vugt to put the home team in attacking territory in the opening minute. Atlanta capitalized a couple of phases later with #14 Jeremy Misailegalu scoring the game’s first points 80 seconds into the match.
In what almost looked like a repeat just over two minutes later, Atlanta again chipped and recovered down the left-hand sideline. This time no additional phases were needed as Van Vugt recovered himself and scored between the posts.
New Orleans struck back at 12 minutes as prop Dino Waldren broke through after some sustained play in Atlanta territory. ATL was right back on the attack again with Bautista Ezcurra slipping through would-be tacklers and taking it in for Atlanta’s third score in the opening 13 minutes. Waldren then stripped off of the back of one of his NOLA teammates, spun and scored his second try to tighten things up once again at 18 minutes.
After an Ezcurra penalty kick, NOLA notched another try to take its first lead 26 minutes into the match. Another Ezcurra PK put Atlanta back on top 23-21 and the defenses finally stood up from there; that score held for the final ten minutes before halftime.
New Orleans struck first in the second half with one of Cam Dolan’s signature timely plays. The big eight man picked up an errant Atlanta pass and returned it between the posts to put his team up 28-23. It looked like the hosts might let another golden opportunity for a big win slip away, but it came through to score the final 15 points of the match and secure the 38-28 victory.
The win moves Atlanta back to .500 and into second place in the Eastern Conference as it hits its much-needed bye week. NOLA Gold is now a point behind its rivals in the standings, though does have the game in hand.
LA Giltinis Roll to Big Win Over San Diego
The LA Giltinis left little doubt as to who would win the first iteration of this backyard Western Conference brawl. LA scored three tries in the opening five minutes enroute to a 45-17 victory.
Johnny Ryberg got the scoring started off of a well-designed lineout play that fed the muscly winger at pace. LA was right back with a give and go off some simple phase play that put flanker Angus Cottrell through. The Giltinis attacked again, this time from the other flanker, #7 Christian Poidevin, on his way to a Man of the Match performance.
San Diego did fight through with a couple of first half tries, but the LA offense was relentless. It went into the break up 38-12, and this one was pretty much over.
The Legion came in down several key players and left this game even worse for the wear. Star scrum half Nate Augspurger was carted off the field early on in just his first start since returning from injury as a reserve last weekend. The misfortune comes a week after Dylan Audsley was carted off.
This is a proud San Diego team that will hope to get a few healthy players back for its home match versus New England and work to get back to .500 on the year.
Utah Wins Wild West Coast Clash with Houston
The Utah Warriors snapped a two-game skid to get back to .500 via a 50-43 win over Houston. An early attempted grubber from Utah fly half Hagen Schulte was blocked and recovered by the Sabercats’ #12 Sam Windsor for an opening minute try that set the tone for this wild affair.
Houston scored again three minutes later with a break finished by Nick Boyer. Then it was Utah’s turn to strike back with a try in the corner from wing Joe Mano. In what’s proved to be an explosive combination in the back three, Mikey Te’o found Mika Kruse, who went back to Te’o through the gap for the score and first Warriors’ lead, 14-12.
Te’o, who had a brilliant game, showed some of his sevens skill with a step and shimmy to create space and score his second just moments later. After a Houston PK it was the Te’o and Kruse show once again, with the fullback returning the assist to Kruse out wide. Houston fly half Robbie Povey then found his way through space to notch a try against his old team and close the gap to 26-22.
With five minutes to go before halftime Te’o decided to distribute the wealth, and this time found his scrum half Michael Baska, who snagged the ball with one hand and finished the score. The 33-22 Warriors’ advantage held until halftime, then the bulky Utah fullback struck again just after halftime with another assist to Kruse.
Up 40-22, it looked like Utah might stroll to the win, but Houston rallied to make it a full 80 minute effort from both teams. The Sabercats’ back-to-back converted tries tightened things up, 40-36 at 58’. Utah was right back at it, stealing the ball from Houston and banging it down the field on the ensuing penalty kick. The Warriors mauled the ball in, then a penalty kick from #10 Hagen Schulte made it a 14-point lead once again, 50-36.
Covey struck once more for Houston between the posts to make this a dramatic finish with six minutes left. However, in an explosive offensive performance it was Utah’s defense that finally won it, holding the ‘Cats out of the try zone for the final six minutes to make the game’s final score 50-43.
Arrows Light up Scoreboard for Second Straight Blowout Win
The Toronto Arrows put 50+ on the scoreboard for the second straight week, this time putting the screws to Rugby United New York. A close game early was blown open by back-to-back tries from Manuel Montero. The first was off a brilliant piece of heads up rugby that caught New York sleeping on a penalty, and the other saw Montero shoot the gap just before halftime to make it 19-5 to the visitors.
A Mike Shepperd charge down and recovery in the try zone hurt any comeback attempt for New York. A spark was created when Andy Ellis entered the match and immediately connected with fellow reserve Kyle Sumsion; Ellis scored shortly after. That was about as bright as things got for New York as Ellis’ try was the lone second half score for the home team enroute to the 53-12 defeat.
Toronto now shoots to the top of the standings in the topsy turvy Eastern Conference, tied in league points with Rugby ATL. With the third through fifth place teams having a game in hand on the leaders, next week’s clash versus NOLA Gold, just a point back in the standings, will prove to be a pivotal one for the Arrows.
Old Glory Acquisitions Prove Key in Victory Over Free Jacks
Old Glory DC has been hit by a run of injuries in the backline, and put new acquisitions Osea Kolinisau and Thomas Morani right into the starting lineup as a response. Both proved key in the team’s 35-22 victory over New England.
New England fly half Harrison Boyle put his team on the front foot with a nifty little chip through, recovered by Dougie Fife for the game’s first score, 7-0 Free Jacks eight minutes in. DC fly half Jason Robertson then banged two penalty kicks through before New England was pinged with a yellow card. It didn’t take long for Danny Tusitala to capitalize with a pick off the back of the Old Glory ruck, and the Robertson conversion made it 13-7.
Mike Dabulas then followed up with the play of the game, exploding through a hole to extend the lead to 20-7. Mikey Sosene-Feagai notched another try just before halftime, and it was all DC heading into the break, 27-7.
New England proved there would be no blowout, scoring the first two tries of the second half to just one Robertson PK to make it 30-22 in the final moments. Renata Roberts-Tenana’s interception would seal the deal, however, as Kolinisau scored out wide moments later to make the game’s final score, 35-22.
Austin Overpowers Seattle to Notch Four-Game Win Streak
The Austin Gilgronis were tested early, but in the end were able to run through Seattle for the team’s first four-game win streak in franchise history. The combatants felt each other out through the opening moments before Austin fly half Mack Mason notched the game’s first points via penalty kick at 14’. Seattle’s Ross Neal showed the team’s championship spirit with a well-paced line and big fend to come back and put his team on top, 7-3.
Austin’s Isaac Ross found a gap moments later at 24’ and dove across the try line in spite of what appeared to be some banged up ribs to put the Gilgronis back on top before the teams exchanged penalty kicks. Austin kept the pressure on as Ned Hodson made a huge break and found Zinzan Elan-Puttick, who took it the rest of the way to score just before halftime and make it 18-10 Austin.
The close game was blown open early in the second stand with Ross and Elan-Puttick’s second respective tries to make it 30-10 Austin. Seattle captain Riekert Hattingh fought through to the end to put one in at 71’, but any cause for drama was thwarted with Christian Ostberg’s insurance try. The Gilgronis put the pedal down all the way into stoppage time, as Hodson dove across the line to make the game’s final margin 42-15.
Austin remains in second place in the league and has emerged as one of the true contenders for the crown. Seattle will regroup with a new coaching staff in place led by Ireland legend Rory Best.
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Toronto Arrows leader honored with inaugural postseason award recognizing the player who
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Following their victories over Houston and New England respectively, Brad and Will
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