Colorado Springs Grizzlies defeated a youthful Aurora Saracens side 46-0 Saturday morning under ideal spring weather conditions though a vagrant wind aloft affected the kicking portion of the match at University of Denver’s Ritchie Sports Complex rugby field.
Sweeping runs of the Springs backs countered well the pounding crashes of the big Saracen forwards as the Grizzlies were able to cause turnover ball at breakdown and work effective threequarter line schemes to great advantage.
Handling errors by the visitors stymied their offense initially and Aurora were able to realize forward gains in fits and bangs off maulwork between the 10 meter lines. But turnover ball snatched by No. 8 Dallas Frye had Colorado Springs on the front foot when their backline clicked into high gear. Fullback Luke Divich filled the line and was able to turn the corner for a 40 meter streak into goal. Conversion by wing Nathan Fletcher and it was 7-nil Springs at six minutes.
Five minutes on, with the Saracen defense spread, first center Chris Kunkle flippered his way into space and outraced pursuit for the try converted by Fletcher, and it was 14-0 to the travelers.
With Springs in possession ten meters from Aurora’s tryline, flyhalf Michael Black poked a crafty grubber into space. Wing Jake Johnson raced in to ground the ball, and Fletcher was good on the conversion to make it 21-0.
The Saracens pack was able to stave off a number of determined Grizzlies and worked the breakdown well enough to steal possession and get the ball to Devanti DeSchwanden. The fullback's clearance kicks repeatedly relieved pressure.
But eventually the Saracens were pinged for going over the top at the breakdown and Fletcher made them pay as he knocked a penalty through at 23 minutes, and it was 24-0.
Colorado Springs got another before the break as quickly distributed ball by pivot Black had outside center in space as he crossed midfield, and he stepped inside a defender on a line into goal for Fletcher’s convert and a 31-0 lead.
Fletcher made it 34-0 with a penalty strike at 30, and the sides retired for a breather at the referee’s halftime blast.
A crisp and lengthy movement that flowed back and forth across the pitch covering 80 meters was the best of the second half scores. Kunkle finished it off, and Fletcher was true with his kick once more.
Colorado Springs were to push over and touch down a pack try for the last score on the day. Though Aurora Saracens inexperience resulted in errors which the Grizzlies were quick to exploit, the Sarries starting 15 featured two freshmen, ten sophomores, two juniors and only one senior; the club looks to a bright future in years to come.
Colorado Springs 46
Tries: Divich, Kunkle (2), Johnson, Kenney, Pack;
Convs: Fletcher (5);
Pens: Fletcher (2)
Match Official: Tim Luscombe