In action in week 10 of the Rugby Super League, Boston defeated Dallas 25-22 and NYAC defeated Life University 39-21, while Old Puget Sound Beach beat Denver 37-12.
Although LIFE’s Super League team (6-2) fell short in the last match of the regular season, losing 39-21 to Blue Conference leading New York Athletic Club (NYAC) (7-0), they can still have comfort knowing that they will be seeing them again soon with much more on the line.
LIFE is now assured of second place in the conference, which will advance them into the four-team playoff in which they will face off with NYAC for the third time this season while looking for their first win against them.
After the contest, inside center and kicker Aaron McMaster gave credit to NYAC and the way they battled, but he already had his mind set on the rematch.
“They made the most of their chances,” noted McMaster. “Hopefully the next time we get another go at them, we will be able to step it up.”
LIFE got off to a sizzling start to the contest, getting on the board within the first three minutes of action with a try by wing Shaun Van Rensberg. After a turnover by NYAC as they were driving toward their goal-line, LIFE forced a turnover and took the ball down pitch with a series of great passes and an incredible play by outside center Tui Osborne. At about 40 meters out, Osborne kicked the ball up field and ran to recover his own kick before passing off to Van Rensberg who glided in for the try to give LIFE a 5-0 advantage. McMaster booted the conversion attempt to put LIFE ahead 7-0 early in the match.
LIFE potentially used up a lot of its gas too early, as they struggled for the rest of the first-half. After a penalty by LIFE, NYAC chose to go for points, and they booted in a penalty from within 20 meters to cut LIFE’s lead to 7-3 with 33:30 left in the half. NYAC made multiple charges that came up short of tries immediately following their penalty, but with just under 13 minutes to play in the half, NYAC chose to go for points again. However, this attempt was over 40 meters long and was far more challenging than the first, but NYAC still nailed it home, cutting LIFE’s lead to 7-6.
Not too long after, Alastair McFarland of NYAC received a brilliant ball that guided him to the in-goal to touch down, and the try was converted to give them their first lead at 13-7 with just over ten minutes to go in the first-half. The defining moment in the match was at the conclusion of the first half as LIFE tried to stave off a strong offensive attack by NYAC in the waning seconds. Unfortunately for LIFE, the NYAC forwards were just too determined and managed to squeeze in a try before the officials blew the whistle to signal the end of the half. This crushed the spirits of LIFE’s players as they saw their early lead evaporate as NYAC scored 20 unanswered points to take a 20-7 lead into the locker room.
LIFE looked as if they were going to get themselves back into the game when they started the second-half in the same fashion as they did the first. After just under three minutes of action in the second-half, Flyhalf Benny Mateialona ran in for touch in center, and it was converted by McMaster to get LIFE within 6 points as they now trailed 20-14.
NYAC came back with a resounding answer to LIFE’s try, however, with a try of their own with just under 30 minutes to play, pushing their lead to two possessions after a successful conversion gave them a 27-14 lead.
Once again LIFE was not going to go away that easy. Wing Clint Whittler streaked down the field and broke multiple tackles to find touch in the center of the in-goal to cut NYAC’s lead to 27-21 after another successful McMaster conversion with just over 23 minutes to play.
Once again though, NYAC responded with a beautiful possession which led to a try as they pounded the LIFE defense over and over again as they neared their goal-line. Even though their conversion would not be successful, NYAC still had a two possession lead and were able to tack on another try and conversion which gave them the 39-21 advantage with which they would finish the match.
LIFE’s Super League team will enjoy a bye week next Saturday, while NYAC will be playing their regular-season finale at home against the Dallas Harlequins (0-4-2). Hopefully for LIFE, this short reprieve will give them an advantage when they face off in the rematch between the two clubs on May 26 for the Super League Semifinals in New York City.
In Dallas, the visiting Boston RFC came away with a dramatic come from behind win to notch Boston’s first victory of the season. With about ten minutes left, Dallas had a 22-11 lead and seemed to have the game locked up. But the rest of the game was all Boston, who scored 14 unanswered points, including the game winning try as full time expired, to take the lead. Two tries and two difficult conversions capped the comeback. Dallas does stay ahead of Boston in the standings however. Dallas travels to New York to take on NYAC in the final regular season game, while Boston is at home against Old Blue.
Old Puget Sound Beach continues their high scoring ways with a 37-12 triumph over the Denver Barbarians in Seattle. Four tries in the first half – none of them converted – set OPSB on their way. Twelve minutes into the game, a quickly tapped penalty by Emosi Vucago resulted in the first try to OPSB. About the half hour mark, OPSB center William Rasileka capitalized on a Denver turnover to score OPSB’s second.
Minutes later Filimoni Botitu came off his wing to enter the line and cross the try-line untouched in a nice move. OPSB were starting to win the physical battles at this point and dominate territory, while Denver was starved of possession and unable to get much going. OPSB added a fourth try just before the half, prop Josh Osborn popping up in the back line to get the five points.
The second half started as the first half ended, with OPSB adding two tries – again unconverted – to stretch the lead to 30-0. This was followed by a long period where Denver was in the ascendency, camping out inside the OPSB 22. Finally Denver crosses for a try, Hunter Leland getting the credit for the points. Botitu quickly replies for OPSB with another try – converted, to the delight of the spectators – before Denver wraps up the scoring with an unconverted try in the right corner. OPSB clinched the conference title with the win, and the team will play San Francisco next week in what will be a preview of the RSL’s semi final matchup.
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