Key D1A Rugby East Match as Penn State Visits Kutztown

Key D1A Rugby East Match as Penn State Visits Kutztown

Doug Coil, Real-time Sports Oct 18, 2014


The last meeting between Kutztown and Penn State ended with Kutztown winning the ACRC title last December. Since then, when the D1A Rugby East schedule was released, this date has been circled by both teams as being critical toward winning the league. Both teams are highly ranked in all polls and no extra motivation is needed to play well. A large crowd is expected, as it is Homecoming and also the 30th anniversary as a club for Kutztown.

Both teams have excellent forward packs and will use them to attack. Kutztown Head Coach Gregg Jones indicated that the key for winning the match will be “winning the majority of contact and keeping our side on the front foot, same as any rugby game.” Ball possession is critical and teams can’t be back peddling in the scrums or not make the gain line.

Penn State Head Coach Alf Daniels is expecting a very physical match. “Our goal is to make tackles, run our structures accurately, and look for opportunities to apply as much pressure as we can, with the hope that we are still in with a chance at the end of the game.”

With that being said, the match is won on the pitch. With a record crowd of 650-700 people watching, the pre-match hype did little to disappoint. A physical battle ensued from the game’s inception.

Take the jump to read more.

After 8 mintues, Kutzown scored first from a Jordan Ghysal (#7) try, converted by Niku Kruger (#9). They would proceed to dominate all but 3 of the first 30 minutes of the match. At 12 minutes Penn State required a substitution from a huge hit. At the 18 minute mark Kruger slotted a penalty kick for a 10-0 lead. It appeared that with match could have broken open, however, Kutztown’s backs were often flat, dropped balls and had a number of errant passes.

The momentum swung at the 30 minute mark and within 2 minutes Penn State’s Sam La Palle (#12) crashed through the Kutztown defense for a try., converted by Jimmy Ronan. Score 10-7 Kutztown. The try energized Penn State and the remainder of the half was spent at mid field, except for Kutztown’s Vetekina Malafu speeding toward a seemingly try, only to be tackled high (possible horse collar) prior to in goal. A penalty try was then awarded, which was converted by Kruger. The half time score was 17-7 Kutztown.

The second half began with Penn State kicking off and Kutztown mishandling the ball. Penn State spent the next 5 minutes threatening to score. Only excellent defense prevented capitalizing. Kutztwon could not prevent another attack at 49 minutes as Selby Niumantaiwalu (#10) found a gap scampering 15 yards for a try. Once again Ronan converted bringing the score closer, 17-14.

After entering Penn State territory, Andy Decolli (#18, P/L?) returned a ball that bounced off a Penn State player in for a try. (57minutes) Kruger converted and the score was 24-14. Two minutes later Ghyzal took the ball from a ruck and sped 50 yards to increase the lead to 29-14.

The flood gates seemed to open as Duke Makina (#20), a wing, had a crushing tackle resulting in the ball being spun to Fullback Trent Hensley (#15) who won a long foot race for another try. At the 62 minute, mark the score was 34-14 Kutztown.

Penn State stepped up their game and attacked with numerous lines resulting in a Dan Metcalf (#5) try, converted by Ronan at 68 minutes. The score was 34-21. Within 4 minutes , Selby Niumataiwalu slipped in for his second try of the contest. Jimmy Ronan converted. Score then became a possible one score match at 34-28.

Penn State had opportunities to score near the end of the match, but good defense secured a Kutztown win. The final score was Kutztown 34-28 Penn State.

The win today by Kutztown sets up a Rugby East #1 vs #2 at West Point next week.. Expect another action packed match.

This is an excellent match to view later on

Kutztown Man of the Match: Niku Kruger (#9) often created attacking opportunities.

Penn State Men of the Match: Shelby Niumataiwalu (#10) for his scoring attacks and Joe Kelly (#15) for entering the back line and creating attcks.

Scoring recap;


Tries: Ghyzal (2, Malafu (penalty try) , Decolli, Henley

Conversions: Kruger 3

Penalty Kick: Kruger 1

Substitutions: 20 for 11, 18 for (P/L?)

Penn State:

Tries: LaPalle, Niumataiwalu (2), Metcalf

Conversions: Ronan (4)

Substitutions: 19 for 6


HC Gregg Jones

AC Larry Chester

1 Johan Van Wyk

2 Bilal Hassen

3 Alexis Goveo

4 Casper Huizenga

5 Adam Grieder

6 Dillon Smith

7 Jordan Ghyzal

8 Wesley Hartmann

9 Niku Kruger

10 Brad Frederick

11 Devon Somma

12 Nuulaiti Aiava

13 Alex Faison-Donahoe

14 Vetekina Malafu

15 Trent Hensley

16 Joey Kaufman

17Maxim Bennett

18 Andy Decolli

19 Connor Bryant

20 Duke Makina

21Enrica Riberio

22 Alex Duke

23 Evan Anderson

Penn State

HC Alf Daniels

1 Brian McKellar

2 Tommy Bashara

3 Zach Barnes

4 Joe Corrado

5 Dan Metcalf

6 Gabriel Tupper

7 Sean Mahon

8 Chris Burian

9 Jimmy Ronan

10 Selby Niumataiwalu

11 Michael Eife

12 Sam LaPalle

13 Rob Irimescu

14 Ryan Kilgallen

15 Joe Kelly

16 Andrew Iscaro

17 William Tietjen

18 Aubrey Shultz

19 Maxwell Klotz

20 Pat Cusick

21 James Haley

22 Rourke Struthers

23 Matt Hall


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