NOTE: The Hubert Buydens/Ronan Nelson interview is at the bottom of the recap.
PHILADELPHIA, PA – San Diego saved the sharp dagger for the dying moments against Ohio. Charlie Purdon scored a try in the 81st minute to give San Diego the lead, and Kurt Morath converted to make it a 24-20 final.
The momentum for the try started when San Diego won a penalty just outside their own 22 as Ohio were trying to grind out the match. They kicked to touch, won the lineout, and launched into their most effective piece of attacking play of the match. An important spark came from Taku Ngwenya who burst through the line to help get San Diego into Ohio’s 22.
Eventually, the weak side opened up for Purdon to cross over.
San Diego had the bulk of territory and possession for the first 25 minutes. Kurt Morath, as he has in several matches now, turned an early advantage into points through the boot. However, Ohio’s only early trip into the 22 resulted in a try for Jamie Mackintosh. After 13 minutes, it was 7-3 with Ohio in the lead.
Soon enough, San Diego answered as Sione Tuihalamaka was too much to stop from close range. San Diego held the 10-7 lead from minute 17 until just before the half when Robbie Shaw made good on his only penalty attempt. Shaw took the penalty because JP Eloff left the match injured. That brought on Allan Hanson and a significant re-shuffling of the Ohio backline.
A few minutes later, Kyle Baillie went off. That brought on Demecus Beach. Ohio travelled without lock Dom Pezzuti, who is working at his “other” job. Filippo Ferrarini was a late scratch as well. With the 2 first half injuries, Ohio looked a bit frazzled and did well to end the half tied.
At halftime, 10-10.
Early in the second half, Purdon was sin-binned for a high tackle. Ohio was working hard, especially at the breakdown, but a number of knock ons kept them from building too much pressure. Ohio did get 3 points while Purdon was off the field from a straight-forward penalty goal attempt.
Ohio won a free kick from a scrum inside their 22. They opted to run it out, but were turned over. Phil Mackenzie punished Ohio’s tactics with a try. After 63 minutes, San Diego led 17-13.
5 minutes later, Ohio had a lineout inside San Diego’s 22, and Sebastian Kalm finished a good passage with a try. Ohio was up 3 with 10 to play.
In those last 10 minutes, Hanson missed a relatively easy penalty goal attempt. But Ohio had the ball and looked like they would be able to keep possession until the match ended, but that final penalty was one chance too many for San Diego.
Ohio kept the lid on the San Diego backline for almost the entire match. Almost. Another tough loss for Ohio, and a great finish from San Diego.
All in all, a tremendous win for San Diego and another devastating loss for a heroic Ohio squad, whom have been hit especially hard by the injury bug.
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