PHILADELPHIA, PA – @ProRugbyUSA matches 7 and 8 both kick off on Sunday. It is Denver’s turn on the bye rotation, so they’ll be undefeated for at least one more week. Only one of the weekend’s matches will be streamed/televised. Those following the action of the San Francisco vs San Diego match will need to rely on twitter.
A reminder of where things stand right now.
It’s been a tough opening 3 weeks for San Francisco, and they are walking into a San Diego side who is boosted by Andrew Suniula, Taku Ngwenya, and Joe Taufete’e joining the match day roster. It is a little surprising that PRO Rugby hasn’t flooded their Facebook and twitter with Ngwenaya highlights this week, but maybe they didn’t want those outside of San Francisco salivating about watching him when the game won’t be streamed/broadcast.
The chief concern for San Diego has to be their lineout. In the second half of their loss to Denver they lost 7 of 10 lineouts. Lack of confidence in the lineout forced San Diego to run 4 penalties inside Denver’s half in the last 15 minutes. Yes, they have players, like Mikey Te’o, who can produce something from nothing in attack, but they need a lineout that is at least somewhat reliable.
San Francisco has rearranged their backline, with Volney Rouse moving back to 10 – where he started in Week 1. A lot of the trouble they faced against Ohio was connected to poor tackling. With better defense from 9 and 10 especially, more good runs from Pila Iongi, and some stolen lineouts, they should be able to hang in this match.
Kick off: 6pm EST, Sunday, May 8.
San Francisco: 1) Niko Lolohea 2) Jay Finau 3) Pat Latu 4) Rich Knight 5) Alex Bowman 6) Sam Finau 7) Siupeli Sakalia 8) David Tameilau 9) Michael Reid 10) Volney Rouse 11) Jake Anderson 12) Orene Ai’i 13) Nick Blevins 14) Pila Iongi 15) Martini Talapusi 16) Codi Jones 17) Fancy Namaluulu 18) Maka Tameilau 19) Junior Helu 20) Charles Mateo 21) Jack O’Hara 22) Naibuka Tawake 23) TBD
San Diego: 1) Hubert Buydens 2) Tim Barford 3) Kakalia Pule 4) David Dolinar 5) Tai Tuisamoa 6) Chris Turori 7) Cecil Garber 8) Sione Tuihalamaka 9) Tom Bliss 10) Kurt Morath 11) Phil Mackenzie 12) Andrew Suniula 13) Ryan Matyas 14) Takudzwa Ngwenya 15) Mikey Te’o 16) Joe Taufete’e 17) Mason Pederson 18) Epi Kalamani 19) Nikola Bursic 20) Arnold Meredith 21) Charlie Purdon 22) Kalei Konrad 23) Tim Stanfill
With Ohio’s big win last weekend, this might seem like an easy match to call. In both Ohio’s loss to Denver and their win against San Francisco, they showed good skill levels and the ability to find space in attack. However, looking closely at Sacramento’s two performances, there are reasons for Sacramento to be optimistic. They have won more penalties while also conceding fewer penalties in their two matches than Ohio in their two matches. Their lineout has performed better than Ohio’s, and their scrum has fared as well as Ohio’s.
Sacramento has had to make some changes because of the absence of Harry Bennett. Garrett Brewer moves from 15 to 10, Ryan Thompson moves to fullback, and Ryan Koewler – who has looked good in limited minutes – starts on the wing. Langilangi Haupeakui looked excellent when he entered the game against San Diego, and he gets the start at 8.
But, goodness, Ohio looked good last week. In terms of 1-15 skill level, their standard last weekend looked better than any other side has shown so far. The only change to the starting lineup is Chris Kunkel getting his first PRO Rugby start at 15. It is hard to pick against a side who performed so well last time out and is only making 1 change.
Kick off: 6pm EST, Sunday, May 8.
Sacramento: 1) Val Lee-Lo 2) Ray Barkwill 3) Olive Kilifi 4) Robert Meeson 5) Sione Sina 6) Kyle Sumsion 7) John Quill 8) Langilangi Haupeakui 9) Chris Saint 10) Garrett Brewer 11) Joeli Tikoisuva 12) Mirco Bergamasco 13) Nemia Qoro 14) Ryan Koewler 15) Ryan Thompson 16) Matt Doubek 17) Toke Kefu 18) Kali Tavake 19) Sione Latu 20) Estaphan Tuimasanga 21) Jope Motokana 22) Fatai Vailala 23) Alipate Takiveikata
Ohio: 1) Angus MacLellan 2) Peter Malcolm 3) Jamie Mackintosh 4) Pierce Dargan 5) Kyle Baillie 6) Filippo Ferrarini 7) Matt Hughston 8) Sebastian Kalm 9) Shaun Davies 10) J.P. Eloff 11) Mason Baum 12) Roland Suniula 13) Ahmad Harajly 14) Spike Davis 15) Chris Kunkel 16) Dylan Fawsitt 17) Demecus Beach 18) Dom Pezzutti 19) Chad Joseph 20) Allan Hanson 21) Robbie Shaw 22) Alex Elkins 23) Ryan McTiernan
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