June 21, 2016
San Francisco Rush Edge San Diego Breakers
Photo: PRO Rugby
The San Francisco Rush traveled to San Diego and emerged with a 24-19 win against the breakers on June 18.
This was the second week of the International Test window and the Rush missed Nick Blevins, who played for Canada. The Breakers also were missing four players to International duty, Jake Ilnicki for Canada, as well as, Taku Ngwenya, Joe Taufete’e and Mikey Te’o for the Eagles. Hubert Buydens was also considered for Canada, but injured his knee.
San Diego have been impacted by injuries and the Internationals. Both Tom Bliss and Andrew Suniula were unavailable due to injuries. During the match, three additional players left the match with injuries, Charlie Purdon, Zach Pengelinan and Tai Tuisamoa. Taku Ngwenya also was impacted during the USA vs. Italy match and will be subject to a concussion protocol.
With the loss, San Diego has a 4-4 record and is in third place in the League with 23 points. They have 4 remaining matches, all on the road. The Breakers have a bye next week before traveling to Ohio to face the Aviators the following week.
An achievement of note, found Kurt Morath becoming the first person to score over 100 points for PRO Rugby. He ended the match with 104 points. This is 28 points above Volney Rouse who is in second place with 78 points.
San Francisco is in fourth place with a 2-5 record and 12 points. The Rush have 5 remaining matches and travel to Ohio for a Sunday match against the Aviators. This will be a rematch from a 30-15 win against Ohio.
The Rush have been playing very competitive rugby and have a creative back line with Volney Rouse, Orene Ai’i and Mils Muliaina. The Aviators have averaged over 50 points for each of their three home matches. They are the top scoring team and have the top four try leaders in Spike Davis, Sebastian Kalm and Filippo Ferrarini and Dominic Waldouck. This should be match that should not be missed.
San Diego Breakers v San Francisco Rush Recap
San Francisco attacked early to begin the match, but it was not until the ninth minute that Jeremy Jaenaerts, a new addition from Central Washington University, took an off load after an Orene Ai’i dummy, in for a try. Volney Rouse converted and the Rush took a 7-0 lead.
This would be a day with injuries to both sides. Issac Helu was the first ten minutes into the match when he left with an ankle injury and was replaced by Siupeli Sakalia. Two minutes later, Kurt Morath tried to get the Breakers on the scoreboard, but missed a penalty kick from 38 meters wide right. He would do so 2 minutes later with a kick from 48 meters to narrow the score. It was now the Breakers 3 and the Rush 7.
Twenty minutes into the match, the Breakers lost their scrum half, Charlie Purdon. This was a key loss as Tom Bliss was injured and not available for the match. Kalei Konrad came on as a substitute going to Fullback with Zach Pangelinan switching to scrumhalf.
San Francisco took advantage of the disruption when Martini Talapusi offloaded to Mils Muliaina whose quick hands sprung Michael Haley in for a try. Rouse converted and the Rush increased their lead to 14-3.
Penalties then produced points for both teams. First, Kurt Morath slotted his second penalty kick. (28′) Two minutes later, Volney Rouse slotted one for the Rush after the Breakers were pinged for a scrum infraction. Morath then added a third kick and the score was Breakers 9 and Rush 17. Rouse would have another attempt prior to halftime, but the kick was wide left.
The second half started with San Francisco leading 17-9 over San Diego. San Diego needed to generate offense to get back into the match and would do so for the first ten minutes.
One minute into the half, found Zach Pangelinan down with an injury. San Diego played on with Ryan Matyas finding a gap and then Pono Haitsuka taking the ball to 10 meters out. However a turnover stopped their attack. Soon after, they were able to attack deep again with the Rush defending well.
During this time Kurt Morath stepped in as scrumhalf until Kalei Konrad took over that role a few minutes later. The Breakers played almost four minutes with Pangelinan being attended on the pitch. Finally, Tim Stanfill came in at wing shifting Pono Haitsuka to Fullback.
The Breakers would attack deep a third time as Phil Mackenzie rambled 45 meters and Cecil Garber would get them to within 3 meters of in-goal before a knock on allowed Rouse to clear.
The player attrition continued when Epi Kalamani left at the 48th minute for the Rush. Two minutes later, The Breakers were finally able to add points from a Kalei Konrad off load to Pono Haitsuka for a try. Morath missed wide right, but it was now the Breakers to within three points, 14-17.
The Rush attack finally came out of hibernation in the second half, when David Tameilau found a gap. Orene Ai’ then offloaded to Bill Fukofuku and then to David Tameilau for the try. Volney Rouse converted and it was the Rush 24-14 over the Breakers with twelve minutes left.
San Diego then lost another player two minutes later, as Tai Tuisamoa left with an arm injury. Despite the injury adversity, the Breakers did not fold and went through multiple phases before a no look pass by Morath to Haitsuka for a try. Morath missed the conversion and it was now Breakers 19-24 Rush with three minutes left in the match.
Ryan Matyas was forced into touch with a minute remaining by Mils Muliaina. In the ensuing Rush lineout, the ball was stolen by the Breakers for one last attack. After multiple phases, a knock on by Haitsuka thwarted the attack.
This match belonged to the Rush, as San Francisco won 24-19 over the San Diego Breakers.
Next week, San Francisco travels to Ohio for a Sunday 3pm ET match. San Diego has a much needed bye next week. They have to hope that the injuries are not serious to their players, and that an additional week’s rest will aid in their recovery. They do have three players returning from International duty, and a fourth Ngwenya, is a question mark. Will reinforcements be needed?
Preview Article: San Diego Breakers Host San Francisco Rush in PRO Rugby
San Diego Breakers: 1 Mason Petersen 2 Mikey Sosene-Feagai 3 Epi Kalamani 4 David Dolinar 5 Tai Tuisamoa 6 Chris Tuori 7 Cecil Garber 8 Sione Tuihalamaka 9 Charlie Purdon 10 Kurt Morath 11 Ben Leatigaga 12 Phil Mackenzie 13 Ryan Matyas 14 Pono Haitsuka 15 Zach Pangelinan 16 Kakalia Pule 17 Brice Schilling 18 Ian Carpenter 19 Nikola Bursic 20 Bruce Thomas 21 Derek Broussard 22 Kalei Konrad 23 Tim Stanfill Coaches: Head Coach – Ray Egan Assistant Coaches: Matt Hawkins, Rob Hoadley Manager: Sean Lindersmith
San Francisco Rush: 1. Codi Jones 2 Patrick Latu (captain) 3 Fancy Namulau’ulu 4 Brendan Daly 5 Jeremy Laenaerts 6 Isaac Helu 7 Sam Finau 8 Bill Fukofuka 9 Michael Reid 10 Volney Rouse 11 Michael Haley 12 Orene Ai’i 13 Mils Muliaina 14 Jake Anderson 15 Martini Talapusi 16 Jay Finau 17 Niko Lolohea 18 Mone Laulaupeaalu 19 Siupeli Sakalia 20 Tevita “David”Tameilau 21 Jack O’Hara 22 Junior Helu 23 Deveraux Ferris Coaches: Head Coach – Paul Keeler Assistant Coaches: Adriaan Ferris, Simon Fathers