The Glendale Raptors defeated Austin Elite Rugby 38-19 on Saturday, March 9 at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado. The match was streamed on 9news.com and a replay available by Major League Rugby on their Facebook page.
Just prior to the match, Austin Elite Rugby shifted Tiaan Erasmus to starting at hooker with Peter Malcolm moving to the reserves and ultimately not playing.
For much of the first half, the Glendale Raptors controlled possession with the Austin Elite defense stellar. Austin Elite had a good game in the scrums, while had some issues in the lineouts later in the match when not going to Ben Mitchell as a jumper. Casey Rock’s height and lineout prowess was a factor.
The Glendale Raptors struck first with an Ata Malifa offload to John Ryberg for a try and a conversion by Robbie Petzer for a 7-0 lead. The Raptors extended their lead after 35-40 phases with a Brendan Daly try and a Petzer conversion to push the lead to 14-0.
Austin Elite Rugby attacked after Mo Abdelmonem forced a penalty on Glendale at the breakdown. After mauling from a lineout, the Raptors were offsides and a quick tap by Zinzan Elan-Puttick and quick hands to Andrew Suniula to Rodrigo Silva, resulted in a try in the left corner to cut the lead to 14-5.
Mo Abdelmonam was proving to be a defensive force and Austin Elite stole their third lineout from the Raptors. Austin then was thwarted with a Brendan Daly steal of a lineout 5-meters from in-goal. Soon after, a clearance kick by Dylan Taikato-Simpson was caught by Soheyl Jaoudat and he raced through the defenders, but a combination of Brendan Daly and Taikato-Simpson held him up on the tackle in-goal. Austin Elite Rugby then went through 15 phases after a 5-meter scrum, before a knock on by Romera stopped a scoring opportunity again.
In the final play before the break, a penalty advantage for Austin Elite being offsides, allowed Robbie Petzer to slot a kick for a 17-5 lead.
The Raptors stuck first in the second half after Chad London gathered a loose ball. After a few phases, Taikato-Simpson executed a no look flick pass to Harley Davidson, who then split two groups of three defenders for a try under the posts. Petzer then slotted the conversion to lead 24-5.
A high tackle by Ryberg allowed Rodrigo Silva to kick for territory and led to a Mo Abdelmonem try, as he barrelled through four defenders. Romera then slotted the conversion to cut the lead to 24-12.
Glendale answered back after a Timothee Guillimin kick did not find touch. This led to a break by Ryberg and then by William Munro to the 22-meters. A Robbie Petzer pass was then deflected by Alex Faison-Donahoe into Chad London’s hands, who finished with a try under the posts. Petzer then converted again for a 31-12 lead a with the team’s 4th try, gained a bonus point for the standings.
Glendale then added a try by Chad Gough, who entered the match at flanker, after he was not held in the tackle. Robbie Petzer continued with an excellent day with his boot to push the lead to 38-12.
Austin Elite Rugby had one last attack from a scrum with Peni Tagive rotoring to the tryline and instead of scoring offloaded to Sione Fangaiuiha for a try, with Guillimin converting for a final of 38-19 to the Raptors.
Man of the Match honors for Austin Elite Rugby is an easy choice in Mo Abdelmonem. Kyle Breytenbach, Ben Mitchell, Rodrigo Silva, Alex Faison-Donahoe, Peni Tagive, and Soheyl Jaoudat also played well. Also commend the entire group of forwards for their scrummaging.
The Raptors choice is a challenging one with a number players performing well. Luke White was a force with his ball carries in the middle, Dylan Taikato-Simpson had try assists and his tactical kicking was outstanding. John Ryberg was a force on the wing, and Brendan Daly was all over the pitch on defense. Watch the replay and you can decide who’s the Raptors Man of the match.
Next week the Raptors host the San Diego Legion on March 16, while Austin Elite Rugby hosts the Seattle Seawolves that same day.
With the win the Glendale Raptors improve to 3-2-1 and move into third place in the MLR Standings with 20 points. Austin Elite Rugby is 0-6 and in ninth place, but continues to play competitive rugby and their team defense has improved and their set play in the scrums is good.
Squads with Player Article Links & Match Preview
Glendale Raptors: 1 Blake Rogers 2 Zach Fenoglio 3 Kelepi Fifita 4 Casey Rock C) 5 Luke White (C) 6 Brendan Daly 7 Peter Dahl 8 Connor Cook 9 Carlo De Nysschen 10 Ata Malifa (VC) 11 Harley Davidson 12 Robbie Petzer 13 Chad London 14 John Ryberg 15 Dylan Taikato-Simpson 16 Chad Gough 17 Max Lum 18 Kody O’Neil 19 Jonny Layne 20 William Munro 21 Mickey Bateman 22 Mika Kruse 23 Nick Johnson
Austin Elite Rugby: 1 Chris Schade 2 Tiaan Erasmus 3 Juan Echeverria 4 Ben Mitchell (C) 5 Dylan Pieterse 6 Rikus Zwart 7 Mohamed ‘Moe’ Abdelmonem 8 Kyle Breytenbach 9 Mickaël Romera 10 Rodrigo Sliva 11 Alex Faison Donahoe 12 Andrew Suniula 13 Zinzan Elan-Puttick (VC) 14 Ratu Peni Tagive 15 Soheyl Jaoudat 16 Peter Malcolm 17 Brendan Rams 18 LaRome White19 Dominique Bailey 20 Travis Larsen 21 Marcelo Torrealba 22 Timothée Guillimin 23 Sione Fangaiuiha + Head Coach Alain Hyardet