Written by Pat Clifton    Monday, 16 April 2012 01:22    PDF Print Write e-mail
SFGG Passes Glendale Test
Clubs - Top Club Leagues

San Francisco Golden Gate won the meeting of defending club champions Saturday at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo., nipping the host and reigning DI champion Raptors 31-27. The game will air on Fox Soccer Plus April 19 9pm ET, Root Sports May 13 and on Denver's ABC affiliate July 17.

Glendale got on the board first with a try from No. 8 Nic Johnson, but the reigning Super League champs rattled off 24-consectuve points in the meat of the first half.

Johnson stopped the bleeding with his second try near the end of the first half, making the score 24-12 at intermission.

Glendale carried its momentum into the second half, going on a run of its own. Scrumhalf Daryl Furlong scored to open the second stanza and pull the Raptors within five at 24-19. Wing Max Statler pulled them level at 24-24 with an unconverted try, and fly half Nese Malifa gave the hosts the lead with a penalty.

SFGG struggled mightily in the lineout during Glendale’s 20-point run, allowing the Raptors more possession.

“We had a lot of trouble in our lineout the whole game, but the middle sort of 20 minutes, in particular, we had a lot of trouble,” said SFGG coach Paul Keeler. “I would say the last 10 minutes of the first half, too. We were having a lot of trouble with our first phase, and I think that’s what hurt us.”

SFGG lost Eagle hooker Chris Biller and stud lock/No. 8 Samu Manoa to Aviva Premiership Northampton this year, and it’s lineout has fallen victim to the change.

“In the past, if we’re having a problem in the lineout, it was ‘Throw to Samu.’ Nobody’s going to beat him. I think I’ve seen him lose a lineout once, and when he lost it he reached over the lineout and stole the ball from the other guy,” said Keeler.

“Definitely, it’s a big factor. And it’s a learning curve, and they’re letting guys get in front of them, at times get up quicker or letting the defense get set…That works great when you’re a dominant lineout. When you’ve got to hustle for ball, that doesn’t work.”

SFGG was also playing without lock and Nick Civetta, a key cog in the lineout.

Down three, SFGG put in one more converted try to another Malifa conversion to score the 31-27 win.

Keeler lauded the play of Glendale No. 7 Mike Kenyon and his own hooker, Patrick Latu.

Tries: Timoteo, Pone, Fukofuka, Latu
Cons: Rouse (4)
Pens: Rouse

Glendale 27
Tries: Johnson (2), Statler
Cons: Malifa (3)
Pens: Malifa (2)

Written by Pat Clifton    Monday, 16 April 2012 01:04    PDF Print Write e-mail
Aztecs Win Rematch Big, Take PMW
Colleges - Men's DI College

San Diego State avenged its only loss of the Pacific Mountain West season Saturday against UC-Santa Barbara, downing the Gauchos 29-6 to take the conference title and earn an automatic bid to the DI-AA Sweet 16.

SDSU started the match with a stiff wind at their backs and took a 12-3 advantage into halftime. UCSB thought it was in a good position to take advantage of the wind in the second half, but a fierce Aztec defense spoiled all attack.

“They were very aggressive and did a great job defensively and frustrated us,” said UCSB coach Kevin Battle of SDSU.

“We just couldn’t string any phases together, and any time we did gain momentum, San Diego’s defense was there to double team in tackles and somehow create a turnover. All credit to them. The best team on the day won, without a doubt.”

When the Southern California rivals met in the regular season (a 21-14 win for UCSB), SDSU hadn’t had much time under new coach and Eagles 7s captain Matt Hawkins. Saturday, said Battle, it was apparent what more time under Hawkins  meant for the Aztecs.

“They certainly have improved dramatically, without a doubt. You can see Matt Hawkins’ influence all over. They play just the way he plays -- with confidence, with grit, with tenacity. You can certainly see the influence he’s had on the team, and the guys are really charged up. They kind of reminded you of the San Diego State of old -- once they get going forward they’re difficult to slow down.”

UCSB will likely receive an at-large bid to the Sweet 16, which would ship them to Palo Alto, Calif. April 28-29 along with SDSU.

Written by Pat Clifton    Monday, 16 April 2012 00:46    PDF Print Write e-mail
Florida State Beats UCF for SIRC Crown
Colleges - Men's DI College

Florida State completed the sweep of championships in the South Independent Rugby Conference by winning the tournament title match 22-12 over UCF Sunday. They finished first in the regular season, too.

The Seminoles fell down 7-0 to the Golden Knights in the opening minutes, but answered with a 22-0 run that wasn’t ended until about the 75th minute by an inconsequential UCF try.

“UCF is real dangerous, and they were able to punch one in real fast on us. Just made a mistake off the opening kickoff, then one mistake and another mistake,” said FSU coach Kirk Swanner.

“We weren’t shaken after that and went back and started playing the game plan. The plan was to play field position, to play it on their half of the field, and we went back out there and started doing that, creating some turnovers, got some good attacking platforms and just made the most of them.”

Steve Wertepny and Jason Kinsley scored tries in the opening half for Florida State, and Javier Ayo added a penalty. Dan Sammons scored the Seminoles’ lone second-half try. Both of UCF’s tries were dotted down by Anthony Annunziata.

With the win, FSU advances to the Knoxville, Tenn. region of the Sweet 16, where they could well face rival Florida for the third time this season.  

“We would love to play them,” said Swanner of the Gators. “We played them twice already and saw them at 7s Nationals in Texas, so seeing them at Nationals would be great.” 

Written by Alex Goff    Monday, 16 April 2012 00:59    PDF Print Write e-mail
DII Rundown - From 139 to 31
RUGBYmag Premier - Scouting Reports

We run down who is left in the DII club scene.\

Written by Pat Clifton    Monday, 16 April 2012 00:28    PDF Print Write e-mail
Seawolves Going Dancing as Empire Champs
Colleges - Men's DI College

Stony Brook knocked off St. Bonaventure 34-20 Sunday to win the inaugural Empire Conference title and the program’s first-ever bid to the DI-AA Sweet 16.

The game was close throughout, and was tied 20-20 in the last quarter. The tide turned when Stony Brook charged down a St. Bonaventure clearance kick off of a lineout, recovered the ball and scored.

Minutes later, with St. Bonaventure desperately scrambling to level the score, Stony Brook’s fly half shot a gap between St. Bonaventure’s No. 10 and inside center for the death nail.

Stony Brook did well playing the territorial game Sunday, kicking deep and having their speedy wings get in the face of Stony Brooks wings and fullback.

“They put our deep three players under pressure with a lot of high kicks, and they got it done,” said St. Bonaventure coach Clarence Picard.

“We played their game against them,” said Stony Brook coach Jerry Mirro. “We kicked deep, and we just dominated the lineouts.

“We played so much better today than yesterday. Yesterday we were looking for that extra yard, and it caused knock-ons and forward passes. I’ll tell you something, (St. Bonaventure is) a good team --  physical. Can’t take anything away from them. Our fitness won the game, no doubt about it, and it showed the last 10 minutes of the game.”

Inside center Sean Rafferty led the Seawolves in tries with two, and Mirro was quick to compliment his forward pack.

“Their rucking and loose play was phenomenal,” he said.

The win sees Stony Brook through to the Hanover, NH regional, where they’ll face Dartmouth, Northeastern or Shippensburg in the opening round on April 28. 


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