May 1, 2016
PRO Rugby Denver wins 22-16 in San Diego
Photo: Bryan Ray
San Diego won their initial match at home last week against Sacramento 37-24. They shows a potent offensive attack by their backs and was able to capitalize on Sacramento errors with the accurate kicking of Kurt Morath.
After a home win against Ohio in extra time 16-13, Denver traveled to SAn Francsico last week and came away with a 35-18 win. They dominated the scrums last week and unleased an offensive attack of their own.
Both teams are undefeated with Denver top the standings with a 2-0 record and San Diego in second place at 1-0.
PRO Rugby San Diego v Denver Recap
The first half has been played at a very fast pace. San Diego’s forwards wanted to prove themselves in the scrum and they did the first three Denver scrums by gaining possession.
With Peter Dahl being warned for hands in the breakdown, Kurt Morath kicked San Diego into a 3-0 lead about six minutes into the match. San Diego cover defense has stymied the Denver attacks, disrupting the flow of Denver’s offense.
Denver was finally able to put their first points on the board at the eighteen minute mark after a 5 meter lineout. A maul ensued and Zach Fenoglio dove in for a try. Will Magie converted and it was San Diego 3 to 7 for Denver.
Six minutes later, after San Diego ran 15 phases with Denver defending well, Denver was penalized and Morath narrowed the gap to 6-7 in favor of Denver.
With both teams attacking in a sew saw battle, Denver attacked into San Diego territory and Phil Mackenzie was penalized. Will Magie increased Denver’s lead with his second penalty kick. The score after thirty minutes was San Diego 6 to 10 Denver.
In spite of some fierce action the remainder of the half, the score remained San Diego 6 to Denver 10 at halftime.
San Diego controlled the play for much of the first half, however Denver took advantage when it counted and the forwards pounded in for a try and a lead that Denver would not surrender. All San Diego could muster were two penalty kicks from Kurt Morath.
Denver survived San Diego’s offensive assault and had to feel good that their defense was up to the task and they had a lead entering the second half. Their confidence was high and it showed as Pedrie Wannenburg broke and offloaded for a Denver attack that reached to within 2 meters of in goal before Niku Kruger picked up the ball and was in for a try. Magie missed the conversion, but Denver now lead 15-6.
Two minutes later Magie had an opportunity to add additional points, but missed wide. San Diego did not waste their opportunity, as Kurt Morath slotted his third penalty kick of the match a short tie later.
The momentum was switching to Denver’s favor as Pedrie Wannenburg reached over in-goal, but was deemed to have knocked on in trying to apply downward pressure.
Denver would score soon after on a try that will make the highlights. Will Magie took the ball and chipped the ball to Martin Knoetze on the wing, who tapped to Chad London for the try. Magie converted and it was San Diego 9 to 22 for Denver.
With five minutes remaining, Wannenburg advanced the ball, but an errant pass resulted in Mikey Te’o motoring down touch to in-goal and then offloading to Phil Mackenzie for the try closer to the posts. The conversion was made and San Diego was within a converted try of potentially winning the match.
San Diego in fact reached within inches of in-goal before Denver’s defense held and they took possession with a 5 meter scrum. The ball was won and Ata Malifa ran for a few meters. Denver then kicked the ball into touch for a 22-16 win in San Diego to go 3-0 on the season. San Diego falls to 1-1 on the season.
In reflecting on the match, San Diego backs are an offensive threat at any time. They cover well and are quick to meet opposing players on attack. After the first three set pieces, Denver’s forwards had the edge on set pieces and the Denver team were quick to the breakdowns and poached the ball a number of times. It was an entertaining match for all.
Pedrie Wannenburg was all over the pitch and was selected as the Man of the Match.
Next week San Diego will be traveling to San Francisco, while Denver has a bye week before they travel to Sacramento in two weeks.
San Diego Squad: 1 Hubert Buydens 2 Mikey Sosene-Feagai 3 Sam Taungakava 4 David Dolinar 5 Brian Doyle 6 Nikola Bursic 7 Cecil Garber 8 Sione Tuihalamaka 9 Charlie Purdon 10 Kurt Morath 11 Tim Stanfill 12Phil Mackenzie 13 Ryan Matyas 14 Pono Haitsuka 15 Mikey Te’o 16 Tim Barford 17 Epi Kalemani 18 Kakalia Pule 19 Tai Tuisamoa 20 Chris Turori 21 Tom Bliss 22 Kalei Konrad 23 Ben Leatigaga Coaches: Head Coach – Ray Egan Assistant Coaches: Matt Hawkins, Rob Hoadley Manager: Sean Lindersmith
Denver Squad: 1 Luke White 2 Zach Fenoglio 3 Ben Tarr 4 Christian Wiessing 5 Casey Rock 6 Logan Collins 7 Peter Dahl 8 Pedrei Wannenburg (C) 9 Niku Kruger 10 Will Magie 11 Timana Tahu 12 Ata Malifa 13 Chad London 14 Martin Knoetze 15 Max de Achaval 16 Nick Wallace 17 Jake Turnbull 18 Bobby Impson 19 Brian Wanless 20 Chris Baumann 21 Mose Timateo 22 Mike Garrity 23 Gannon Moore Coaches: Head Coach – Sean O’Leary, Assistant Coaches: Peter Borlase, David Williams Technical Advisor: Andre Snyman Manager: Kieran Browner