PRO Rugby: San Diego v Denver Recap

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June 5, 2016

PRO Rugby: San Diego v Denver Recap

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Photo: PRO Rugby

Doug Coil

In a week 8 match, San Diego hosts Denver in a PRO Rugby match that will decide first place in the League. San Diego enters the match with a 4-1 record and 20 points, with their only loss to Denver earlier in the season. Denver has a 5-0 record and 23 points.

San Diego v Denver Recap

Kurt Morath kicks to begin the match and San Diego gains a penalty. Kurt Morath the leading point scorer in the League, misses the kick and San Diego misses an opportunity to take the early lead.

Another early penalty has San Diego deciding whether to go for points or kick for territory. The later was the decision. A third penalty to Denver has Morath slotting the penalty kick just outside the 22 for a 3-0 San Diego lead.

Denver has its first opportunity to attack and San Diego is pinged for not coming through the gate. Will Magie then missed a penalty kick wide.

San Diego swings the ball wide after a penalty, with a Mikey Te’o  break. Denver is penalized again and Kurt Morath misses just left.

A high ball from San Diego is taken by San Diego and another attack goes deep in Denver territory. Denver forces a turnover and clears. After San Diego kicks ahead, they are offside and Denver kicks to touch. From a lineout Denver attacks to outside San Diego’s 22. San Diego clears and Denver attacks again. A San Diego penalty has Will Magie going for posts to try to get Denver on the board. The kick misses wide right.

Denver uses quick hands from a lineout to attack wide. Bruce Thomas is pinged for being offside and Denver kicks for touch. Denver attacks from a 5 meter lineout, which turns into a maul. Another penalty has Denver moving forward, but an error has San Diego winning a 5 meter scrum. San Diego then turned this into an attack with quick hands and went to Denver’s 22.

Denver in turn attacks to within midfield. A San Diego penalty has Denver kicking to touch inside San Diego’s 40. Denver loses the lineout and Morath clears. Denver kicks back and Mikey Te’o takes the ball the rest of the way in for an apparent try. The referee indicates an obstruction  penalty by San Diego that negates the try. Denver then attacked to within 5 meters of scoring themselves, but lose the ball and San Diego clears.

Denver steals a San Diego lineout by Casey Rock, but San Diego forces a knock on and they will put the ball into a scrum.Andrew Suniula breaks and Tahu’s defense thwarts this attack. A scrum to San Diego continues the attack to Denver’s 22, but Denver obtains the ball and kicks to touch after a San Diego penalty. They however, lose the lineout at midfield.

Denver is pinged for coming in from the side. With the ball 40 meters out, but just left of the posts, Kurt Morath calmly slots a penalty kick and San Diego leads 6-0 with five minutes remaining in the half.

A Hanco Germishuys break off the restart results in a Max de Achaval try. Will Magie converts and Denver takes a 7-6 lead.

In a collision with Taku Ngwneya and Ata Malifa, Malifa is yellow carded for not wrapping and Kurt Morath retakes the lead for San Diego with his third penalty kick before halftime. San Diego has a 9-7 lead over Denver.

San Diego had two thirds of the possession during the first half and will start the second half with Denver a man down. Denver has had the majority of the penalties in the match and have had difficulty in getting their offense started. Denver will need to minimize their mistakes during the second half and continue to play stellar defense, especially while a man down.

San Diego had the lion’s share of the offense, but must feel snake bit with missed scoring opportunities. Their confidence remains high that they can attack from any position on the pitch, as an attack from their own 5 meters demonstrated.

Second half

Will Magie restarts the second half and quickly the ball is stolen by Denver. London goes into contact and Mackenzie and  Ngwneya were down. Denver tried to take advantage after the collision. Denver wins a scrum inside the San Diego 40 and the longest Denver attacks continues. San Diego is penalized and they take some time to decide whether to go for points. Magie slots and Denver reclaims the lead 10-9 four minutes into the second half.

A minute later San Diego has their own opportunity for points. Kurt Morath slots and San Diego leads 12-10 over Denver. Zach Fenoglio enters the match for Nick Wallace bringing in fresh legs.

San Diego claims the restart and attacks before clearing deep into Denver territory. Denver’s Chad London played the ball in front of Fenoglio and Morath adds his fifth penalty kick. San Diego now leads 15-10. Denver Ata Malifa is back from the bin and Dnver is at full strength.

Christian Weissing intercepts a pass and runs in untouched for a try. Magie converts and Denver regains the lead 17-15. Denver has benefited from opportunistic play in scoring their two tries so far this match.

Denver attacks again taking a maul to midfield. San Diego is penalized from coming in from the side and he referee has a talk with captain Phil Mackenzie about these infractions. Denver kciks to touch and has a lineout 30 meters out. Denver swings the ball wide. Wannenburg  bulls ahead. Denver swings again, but Te’o clears.

Denver is back on attack, but San Diego’s defense forces a knock on resulting in a scrum just inside Denver’s territory. Denver is penalized for coming in from the side. Morath chooses to go for points 47 meters out and he slots his sixth penalty. San Diego now leads 18-17.

Twenty minutes remain in the match. San Diego wins a scrum and clears just inside Denver’s 22. Denver wins the lineout, but after two attempts into contact, Denver clears and Mikey Te’o attacks before offloading to Kalei Konrad for a try. Morath misses the conversion and San Diego leads 23-17.

Wannenburg fields the kick and attacks into contact. A scrum to San Diego at Denver’s 22 is won, but San Diego is on their back foot. Another scrum to Denver, as Luke White comes in for Ben Tarr. A third scrum to San Diego , but Timateo recovers and clears. Te’o kciks back, but Ngwanya is penalized for hitting Wannenburg while in the air.

There are ten minutes left and Denver has the ball, but needs a converted try to win. Denver wins the scrum and London goes into contact. Dustin Croy moves down the wing and swings and Martin Knoetze takes the ball prior to going into touch for a try. Will Magie has the chance to retake the lead for Denver and converts. Denver leads 24-23 with six minutes left.

With players delivering punishing hits, Denver is penalized and San Diego kicks for touch. San Diego has a lineout 30 meters out and attacks , but Fenoglio tackles. Denver regains the ball in a scrum and after a couple of phases, Will Magie grubs ahead. San Diego will have a lineout just ourside their 22. Morath kicks deep. Tahu kicks and Croy takes. Magie pins San Diego within five meters. San Diego clears and Denver has a lineout 15 meters out. Denver wins and mauls. Denver is trying to seal the match with pick and goes by the forwards.

Will Magie kicks into touch and Denver will leave San Diego undefeated with a 6-0 record and a close 24-23 win over San Diego.

With Niku Krueger out of this match, I thought he might have a minor injury, and it was  was confirmed prior to the match.  I was surprised however, by  the announcer indicating that he will be out for the season with a knee injury. Niku is a dyanmic player and I wish him a speedy recovery.

In this match San Diego had most of the possession, but Denver was able to overcome San Diego’s primary threat Kurt Morath and also a few breaks by Mikey Te’o to gain the win. Denver produced three key tries, making the most from their opportunities and return home with another win.

Match Preview: San Diego Host Denver in Key PRO Rugby Match

San Diego Squad: 1 Hubert Buydens 2 Joe Taufete’e 3 Jake Ilnicki 4 David Dolinar 5 Tai Tuisamoa 6 Jean Baptiste Gobelet 7 Bruce Thomas 8 Sione Tuihalamaka 9 Charlie Purdon 10 Kurt Morath 11 Tim Stanfill 12Andrew Suniula 13 Phil Mackenzie 14 Takudzwa Ngwenya 15 Mikey Te’o 16 Mikey Sosene-Feagai 17 Mason Peterson 18 Brice Schilling 19 Ian Carpenter 20 Nikola Bursic 21 Kalei Konrad 22 Ben Leatigaga 23 Pono Haitsuka Coaches: Head Coach – Ray Egan Assistant Coaches: Matt Hawkins, Rob Hoadley Manager: Sean Lindersmith

Denver Squad: 1 Ben Tarr 2 Nick Wallace 3 Chris Baumann 4 Casey Rock 5 Christian Wiessing 6 Peter Dahl 7 Hanco Germishuys 8 Pedrei Wannenburg (C) 9 Mose Timateo 10 Will Magie 11 Timana Tahu 12 Ata Malifa 13 Chad London 14 Mike Garrity 15 Max de Achaval 16 Zach Fenoglio 17 Jake Turnbull 18 Luke White 19 Brodie Orth 20 Logan Collins 21 Bobby Impson 22 Martin Knoetze 23 Dustin Croy Coaches: Head Coach – Sean O’Leary, Assistant Coaches: Peter Borlase, David Williams Manager: Kieran Browner

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