FORT MYERS, FL – The Tampa Mayhem (1-1-0) decisively defeated the Southwest Florida (SWFL) Copperheads (0-2-0) 52-22 Saturday on the grounds of Lehigh High School, the home field for SWFL. While the two clubs kept the game close through the first half, Tampa pulled away with in the contest with a second half surge, securing the Mayhem’s first win of the 2018 USA Rugby League (USARL) Season.
Clubs Keep Contest Close through the First half
The Mayhem scored the first three tries and conversions to take an 18-0 lead just 16 minutes into the game. However, the Copperheads answered with three tries of their own (two converted, one non-converted) to narrow the gap to 18-16 with ten minutes left in the first half. Just before halftime, Tampa scored one more converted try to take a 24-16 lead into halftime.
Tampa Takes Control in Second Half to Clinch the win
Tampa took control of the game in the second half of the match up to clinch the win over SWFL. The Mayhem scored five unanswered tries, with four conversions, to take a commanding 46-16 lead. While the Copperheads did score one more converted try with five minutes left in the game, the Mayhem finished the game with another converted try at the end of the game. The final Tampa try brought the score to 52-22.
Mayhem Captain Justin Branca speaks to RWU about Tampa’s win over SWFL
Tampa Mayhem’s Team Captain Justin Branca took time to speak with Rugby Wrap Up about his club’s win over SWFL:
RWU: What did the Mayhem do best on Saturday?
JB: As a team I think we were aggressive in defense and ball carrying. Our forwards especially ran the ball hard and made good meters after contact. Our backs exploited the space given and were able to make some huge runs.
RWU: In what areas can the team still improve prior to its 30 June game against the Atlanta Rhinos?
JB: We need to clean up our knock ons and look to complete more sets. Other than the try’s we scored, we only completed 30 percent of our sets the first half. We can’t give Atlanta that many opportunities, they are the defending champs for a reason.
Teams Take a Bye Week for Saturday’s England v. New Zealand Matchup
The Tampa Mayhem, SWFL Copperheads, and the rest of the Southern Region USARL clubs have a bye week this Saturday. All Rugby League action will turn toward Denver, where England and New Zealand will meet for the highest-level Rugby League contest to ever take place in the United States. All four Southern Region teams will resume action on Saturday, June 30.