In early action in week 9 of the Rugby Super League, Old Blue defeated Dallas 20-15 and Old Puget Sound Beach posted a big win over the Chicago Griffins 57-5, and in the later games, Life University defeated Boston 39-20, while Denver Barbarians scored late to take a 41-38 win over San Francisco Golden Gate.
In New York, Old Blue led from start to finish, defeating the Dallas Harlequins 20-15. The last time these teams met, they combined for 80 points in a roller-coaster game that ended in a tie. It was a much lower scoring game this time as the defenses tightened up and points were much harder to come by. Old Blue’s outhalf Ash Moeke put the hosts on the board first with an early penalty strike, and added another penalty in the middle of the half. After half an hour, Old Blue’s Steve Strudom scored a try, converted by Moeke, that extended Old Blue’s lead. But with the half approaching, Dallas # 8 Gonzalo Ruiz scored an unconverted try to leave the halftime score at 13-5.
Dallas’ scrumhalf Sean Begg narrowed the gap with a penalty fifteen minutes into the second half, but Luke Hume replied quickly with Old Blue’s second try of the day. Moeke again converted for a 20-8 lead.
As the clock ticked towards the 80 minute mark, prop Jimmy Jewison crossed the try-line for Dallas. Begg converted to finish the scoring at 20-15. Old Blue coach Marty Veale was happy with the win, and especially since it was done in front of the home fans, several of whom had flown in from around the country to watch the game. Dallas drops to 0-4-2, while Old Blue improves to 2-4-1.
In Chicago, the visiting Old Puget Sound Beach blasted the Chicago Griffins, posting another huge score in a 57-5 win. Despite being without Andrew Durutalo and Mike Palefau, both on USA Eagles 7’s duty, OPSB showed no sign of slowing down their high scoring pace. Second row Aaron Fry was first to cross the try-line for OPSB, before wingers Miles Craigwell and Filimoni Botitu each had two tries for OPSB.
Russell Armstrong converted three of the tries for a 31-0 halftime lead.
Craigwell continued the scoring onslaught in the second half, returning a kick from deep in his own half to get his hat-trick and stretch the score to 36-0. Next scrumhalf Emosi Vucago took an offload to go untouched between the posts, before Filimoni Botitu hits his third try. With twenty minutes left, OPSB was leading 50-0 and emptying the reserves bench. The Griffins got on the board with an unconverted try by Brendan Brown but by then the result was not in doubt. OPSB was hit with a couple of yellow cards for repeated team infringements that slowed the proceedings, and the final score was recorded as 57-5.
In Boston, the locals were first on the board with a Brendan Moore try, before Life’s Aaron McMaster and Boston’s Blake Creighton exchanged penalties. Boston was having the better run of play in the first half, aided by a numbers advantage as Life incurred a yellow card for a dangerous tackle, and Creighton slotted another penalty for a 10-3 lead. Life came back strong towards the end of the half, with Kris Headlee and Benny Mateialona each scoring a try. The second one was converted for Life to claim a 15-13 halftime lead.
In the second half, Life had an early penalty to go 18-13 ahead, before Boston prop Glenn MacKenzie worked his way over from close range, and the Creighton conversion pushed Boston ahead by two points, 20-18. But minutes later, some good work on the blind side of a ruck by Mateilona freed Tui Osborne for a five pointer to recapture the lead for Life, a lead that would not be relinquished. With Life gradually gaining territorial advantage, the points came through tries from Peter Burt and Shaun Van Rensburg. McMaster converted all three second half tries to leave the final score at 39-20. Life (6-1) will have NYAC (6-0) at home next week in a key matchup, while Boston (0-5-1) travels to Dallas (0-4-2) in what looks like it could be a close game.
The final game of the day turned out to be a dramatic one, as Denver shocked San Francisco Golden Gate 41-38 in Denver. SFGG had the slight edge in tries scored, scoring six and converting four, but Denver converted all five tries, plus added two penalties to complete the upset. Denver jumped out to a big first half lead, leading 20-7 at one point, before SFGG narrowed the gap to a halftime score of 20-12.
Opeti Okusi and Samisone Pone scored tries for SFGG in the first half, while Jake Humphrey and Zach Makavilitogia scored tries for Denver while Maximo DeAchaval kicked ten points.
Denver added a third try, by de Achaval, early in the second half, before SFGG scored four tries without reply to recapture the lead 38-27 and seemed to get back in control of the game - Bruce Thomas, Tevita Okusi, Patrick Latu and Pone again getting on the score-sheet.
As time would down, Denver had other ideas, first with Taylor Howden intercepting the ball after a kickoff to score between the posts, and minutes later, Hunter Leland would score the final try of the game to cap off a dramatic ending. The simple conversion gave Denver the 41-38 lead and the win. Denver goes to (2-4) on the season, while SFGG (5-2) slips some ground in the race for home field advantage in the West conference.
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