In Seattle, Old Puget Sound Beach defeated San Francisco Golden Gate 39-6 in the second Rugby Super League semi final today. In the earlier game, New York Athletic Club defeated Life University 38-12.
The 2012 Rugby Super League final will be hosted by Old Puget Sound Beach, tentatively scheduled for 5pm June 2nd.
Old Puget Sound Beach almost got off to a dream start, first with Nick Hawkins (stopped just short) and then Mike Palefau (slipped) threatening the San Francisco Golden Gate line. Not to be outshone, SFGG’s winger Jeff Colata displayed nice running and deft handling on a long run down the sideline. But it was OPSB on the board first, fullback Mike Palefau scoring after some nice work in the centers by Alipate Tuiveluka among others. SFGG replied through a penalty from Volney Rouse, the penalty awarded after a support runner appeared to be impeded while going through. Minutes later SFGG appeared to be on the verge of scoring, but a crossing call brought them back. Both sides were looking very dangerous with the ball in hand in the early stages as the play moved around the field.
Another Volney Rouse break was halted by an illegal tackle which earned the offender a stern lecture from the referee, and Rouse hit the penalty to give SFGG the lead at 6-5. With ten minutes left in the first half, OPSB scrumhalf Emosi Vucago slipped through the defensive line from the base of a ruck and scored under the posts to restore OPSB’s lead at 12-5. Minutes later Nick Hawkins latched onto a long skip pass to cross the try line for OPSB’s third try. With the half closing out, Vucago kicked a penalty in front of the posts, and OPSB went into halftime with a solid 20-6 lead.
OPSB started the second half on a positive note, with Hawkins scoring his second try of the day, again finishing off a move punctuated by crisp passing. For the next fifteen minutes, SFGG camped inside OPSB’s 22, repeatedly striking towards the try-line and forcing defensive penalties. Impressive work from second row Nick Civetta and the entire SFGG back row was on offer throughout this time. But the defensive line held and SFGG came away with no points from the period of pressure. On the contrary, OPSB’s Miles Craigwell intercepted a pass near his own line and raced the length of the field to score between the posts. The simple conversion made the score 32-6 and effectively put the game out of reach.
OPSB’s number 8 Matt Trouville finished the scoring for the hosts with his side’s sixth try after twenty five minutes. SFGG kept plugging away, and almost had some semblance of a reward for their efforts, but a knock-on on the goal line epitomized the day for the visitors. With both benches emptying, the home crowd was treated to the sight of Fijian legend Waisale Serivi taking the field to close out the last ten minutes of the game for OPSB.
“Everything lined up well for us this year between the players, management, recruiting” said OPSB representative Tim Zern, “and the opportunity to host a semi final and now a final is great, very exciting”. SFGG’s coach Paul Keeler reported “we felt like we were in it, but we had too many unforced errors today. (OPSB) had a great defense and speed out wide and they used it…. We wish both teams the best of luck and it should be an exciting final”.
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