Austin Elite Rugby hosted the Utah Warriors on Friday, February 1 at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas. The Warriors defense held strong for a 17-9 win over the home team.
For the Utah Warriors, it was their first match of the season and they will be pleased to travel home with the win. Austin Elite Rugby has played two close matches, getting a bonus point in their heartbreaking 21-20 loss to the Houston SaberCats last week. A broadcast replay last night saw a Timothée Guillimin penalty kick going over the inside left post late in the match. The kick, if acknowledged, would have given the team a bonus point loss.
The Utah Warriors struck first with a Fetu’u Vainikolo lofting pass to Ara Elkington for a try in the right corner. Tim O’Malley slotted the conversion from touch for a 7-0 lead.
Austin Elite Rugby then cut the lead to 7-3 from a Timothée Guillimin boot, as the Warriors were offsides. A few minutes later, Austin Elite elected to go for points again with Guillimin again on target.
Utah used a 5-meter lineout and a driving maul to get close to the line. Austin Elite defended multiple picks before Lance Williams powered in for a try. O’Malley then converted for a 14-6 lead.
Austin Elite Rugby had one of their best try-scoring opportunities missed late in the half as a 5-meter lineout was stolen by the Warriors, allowing them to clear. Austin Elite did add points on the final play before the break, as Guillimin slotted another kick to cut the lead to 14-9.
The second half continued to be a defensive battle with Austin Elite not being able to use the speed of their wings and the Warriors denying Austin Elite from crossing the line.
In the 66th minute after Mike Mudu was sent to the bin for intentionally playing the ball forward, Guillimin pushed the ball left of the posts. In the 72nd minute, a Warriors’ kick by O’Malley pushed the lead to 17-9, requiring Austin Elite to score twice.
In the 77th minute, a Guillimin kick inside the left post was denied. This was unsettling as a broadcast reply clearly saw the kick is made. With less than a minute Lance Williams was sent to the bin for an unspecified infraction. This gave Guillimin one more chance to give the team a losing bonus point, but the kick was missed and the Warriors had a 17-9 win.
Ara Elkington was named the Utah Warriors Man of the Match. The Austin Elite official vote has not been determined for their Man of the Match, but my pick is Soheyl Jaoudat for his clutch defense, tactical kicking, and his slicing runs.
Austin Elite Rugby & Utah Warriors Squads + Player Article Links + Preview
Austin Elite Rugby: 1 Chris Schade 2 Tiaan Strauss Erasmus 3 Mason Pedersen 4 Ben Mitchell (C) 5 Rikus Zwart 6 Kyle Breytenbach 7 Dominique Bailey 8 Travis Larsen 9 Marcelo Torrealba 10 Timothée Guillimin 11 Alex Faison Donahoe 12 Sione Fangaiuiha13: Zinzan Elan-Puttick (VC) 14 Peni Tagive 15 Soheyl Jaoudat 16 Brendan Rams 17 LaRome White 18 Dylan Pieterse 19 Craig Welborn 20 Mickaël Romera 21 Reece Czarnecki 22 Andrew Suniula 23 + Head Coach Alain Hyardet
Utah Warriors: 1 Franco Van den Berg 2 Logan Daniels 3 Angus Maclellan 4 Saia Uhila 5 Matt Jensen 6 Lance Williams 7 Ara Elkington 8 John Cullen (VC) 9 Ian Luciano 10 James Semple 11 Fetu’u Vanikolo 12 Tim O’Malley (C) 13 Jeremy Misailegalu 14 Tonata Lauti 15 Johnny Ika 16 Alex Vorster 17 Alex Tucci18 Huluhola Moungaloa 19 Maikeli Mudu Naromaitoga 20 Kenny Scott 21 Joseph Nicholls 22 Iniki Fa’amausili 23 Josh Anderson + Head Coach Alf Daniels