PRO Rugby Recap: Aviators Soar Past Rush, Stampede Derail Express

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PRO Rugby Recap… Photo courtesy of Columbus Wired

NEW YORK, NY – Week 11 in PRO Rugby saw the top two teams in the league win both their games. However, by the end of the weekend, second-seed Ohio was first-seed as they got the all important bonus point win, while Denver was lucky to survive their encounter.

San Francisco Rush at Ohio Aviators:
From inception Ohio has gotten far less fanfare than the other sides in the competition. Probably because their big names weren’t as big as the other 4 franchises’ marquee signings. Combine that with the fact that playing in the Columbus suburb of Obetz isn’t as glamorous as the other 4 locales and their lack of press makes sense. However, the Aviators, have built a very strong squad based on solid fundamentals, teamwork and individual responsibility. On Sunday, the much flashier – yet struggling – San Francisco Rush came to town and found out just how dangerous this Ohio team can be.

San Fransisco started out well by landing a penalty kick in the opening minutes of the match. Ohio responded with consecutive tries, one converted, from their wingers Spike Davis and Alex Elkins, respectively. San Fransisco got a penalty and made the kick, shortly afterward. The score was 12-6 to Ohio after 10 minutes and it marked the last time the game would still be in the balance. From there the Aviators would score 8 unanswered tries and when they finally touched down, Ohio had flown to heights yet unknown: a league record 11 tries through 9 different scorers. Tries were scored from a pick-and-go near the try line, off the back of a maul, one-out passes near the try line and out-wide with 3-man overlaps. Every manner of try scoring you can think of occurred in the next 70 minutes. To their credit, San Fransisco did manage to score two tries in the final 10 minutes, for some form of consolation.

Tries – S. Davis 2 (4, 44), A. Elkins (6), P. Dargan (19), S. Kalm 2 (29, 48), F. Ferrarini (53), P. Malcolm (59), D. Fawsitt (64), A. Harajly (66), D. Waldouck (74)
Cons – S. Davies 4 (7, 30, 45, 49), R. Shaw 4 (54, 60, 67, 75)

Tries – Penalty try (70), J. O’Hara (79)
Cons – V. Rouse 2 (70, 80)
Pens – V. Rouse 2 (2, 9)

1 Jamie Mackintosh 2 Dylan Fawsitt 3 Demecus Beach 4 Pierce Dargan 5 Ryan McTiernan 6 Filippo Ferrarini 7 Sebastián Kalm 8 Riekert Hattingh 9 Shaun Davies (capt.) 10 Zac Mizell 11 Alex Elkins 12 Roland Suniula 13 Dominic Waldouck 14 Spike Davis 15 Allan Hanson

16 Peter Malcolm 17 Derrek van Klein 18 Dominic Pezzutti 19 Chad Joseph 20 Ryan Cochran 21 Robbie Shaw 22 Chris Kunkel 23 Ahmad Harajly

1 Niko Lolohea 2 Patrick Latu 3 Fancy Namulau’ulu 4 Nick Grass 5 Jérémy Lenaerts 6 Siupeli Sakalia 7 Sam Finau 8 Bill Fukofuka 9 Devereaux Ferris 10 Volney Rouse (capt.) 11 Jake Anderson 12 Orene Ai’i 13 Junior Helu 14 Michael Haley 15 Martini Talapusi

16 Jacob Finau 17 Codi Jones 18 Saimone Laulaupea’alu 19 Siaosi Mahoni 20 Neil Barrett 21 Michael Reid 22 Pila Huihui 23 Jack O’Hara

Referee: Derek Summers
Assistants: Nick Ricono & Jamie Miller

Denver at SacSacramento Express at Denver Stampede:
Denver has been a side that was always favored to have good season. Building off the backs of the Pacific Premiership championGlendale Raptors and a competitive Denver Barbarians side, their success has been a surprise to no one.  The struggles of the Sacramento Express have surprised a few because they arguably have a more impressive roster than even league leaders Ohio, if you go by name and reputation alone.

The fact that Denver won by 16 makes it seem like they won comfortably but the match was nip-and-tuck throughout. The contest was forward-friendly, which was proven by the barrage of tries scored by the those that travel in packs. The opening scores, though, were from the boot of former USA U-20 flyhalf Will Magie and former Italy international center Mirco Bergamasco. Then Denver lock Lynton Mare scored in the corner, courtesy of some smooth handling by his fellow forwards. The Express replied from a back of a scrum move by eightman and USA international Kyle Sumsion and with the conversion Sacramento went into halftime with a 10-8 lead.

In the second half, Denver slowly took a stranglehold of the game. They played the old fashioned game of dominant forward play and territory. This was evident when Denver eightman and captain, Pedrie Wannenburg crashed over early in the second half. The Stampede never really put the Express away but they denied them possession and played good defense. Denver would work their way into the attacking half, earn a penalty and make the kick. With 10 minutes to go score was only 16-10. It was in these final 10 minutes that Denver used the Mile High altitude to their advantage and pulled away with two more penalties and a converted try to seal the game.

Tries – L. Mare (28), P. Wannenburg 2 (44, 80)
Cons – W. Magie (80)
Pens – W. Magie 4 (18, 56, 70, 76)
Yellow cards – J. Turnbull (39)

Tries – K. Sumsion (40)
Cons – M. Bergamasco (40)
Pens – M. Bergamasco 2 (23, 59)

1 Nick Wallace 2 Zach Fenoglio 3 Soane Leger 4 Lynton Mare 5 Brodie Orth 6 Zac Pauga 7 Logan Collins 8 Pedrie Wannenburg (capt.) 9 Mose Timoteo 10 Will Magie 11 Dustin Croy 12 Ata Malifa 13 Timana Tahu 14 Mike Garrity 15 Maximo de Achaval

16 AN Other 17 Luke White 18 Jake Turnbull 19 AN Other 20 Lynton Mare 21 Bobby Impson 22 AN Other 23 Michael Al-Jiboori

1 Valdemar Lee-Lo 2 Cameron Falcon 3 Eric Fry 4 Robert Meeson 5 Sione Sina 6 Ryan Koewler 7 Kali Tavake 8 Kyle Sumsion 9 Chris Saint 10 Harry Bennett 11 Ryan Thompson 12 Mirco Bergamasco (capt.) 13 Nemia Qoro 14 Cody Jerabek 15 Garrett Brewer

16 AN Other 17 Estephan Tuamasaga 18 Olive Kilifi 19 Matt Doubek 20 Sione Latu 21 Jope Motokana 22 Pate Takiveikata 23 Alex Hodgkinson

Referee: Scott Green
Assistants: Leah Berard & Marc Nelson


About Junoir Blaber 868 Articles
Born in Osu, Accra, Ghana, West Africa, Junoir Blaber is a rare commodity; while most Ghanians eat, sleep and dream Soccer (football), Junoir is all about Rugby. A self-proclaimed Rugbyologist, he has been involved in Rugby as a ref, coach, administrator and player since Columbus discovered Ohio. His useful/trivial rugby knowledge qualify Blaber as RWU's Senior Correspondent & known in rugby circles as The Rugby Rain Man. He can also be found moonlighting for our American partners at