Golden Oldies Denver 2020

Sunday, August 25, 2019

RT 7s: Gold, Jesters, Marlborough and Tiger are Best Four...

Critical instruction at the half of Collegiate All Americans v NOLA Gold by resp. Lewis and Howden in Pool play

Fast action starts down the Kettle at 11am today with semi-finals of Shield.

Semifinals of top tier Cup dropkicks at 1:10pm featuring Marlborough Compeed versus Tiger Rugby; second semi will be NOLA Gold against Ramblin' Jesters and that'll go at 1:30pm

Championship Finals begin with Shield at 3:10pm through the Cup, at 4:50pm

RMR MD3 Opening Day: Quins v Jacks

Denver Harlequins v Laramie Lumberjacks

Warm and a tad humid for kickoff of 2019/2020 Rocky Mountain Rugby Men’s Division-3; Quins and Jacks got after the pill in a big way at the Denver Cook Park’s, Cooker Rugby Grounds. Early season jitters aside, this was an epic beginning to the year as ten trys tallied between the XVs were split evenly and the difference being a penalty struck in the starting stages.   

Harlequins were on the march from the initiating drop’s reception, setting up multiple phases, picking and going from breakdown, grinding a path upfield in short, intentional jabs by their forwards into Lumberjack territory. Home team knock-on in their midfield provided for clearance and a Harlequins lineout. That set piece won, two phases forward and penalty awarded for failure to release the tackled player on the left post just outside the 22 was potted by Denver 10, Steve Zaugg, and Quins were up 3-nil after six minutes.

Bashes and big bangs from both sides, but no further scoring as field magistrate, John Kenney, called for a hydro-break in the 20th with each side holding its lines grimly.

Travelers having difficulty maintaining possession, at times, while one could tell their talented three-quarters were chafing at the bit.

Harlequins pressuring immediately after re-start with ball being shifted to the backline now and second man through creased the Jacks defense to ground for Zaugg’s additional deuce and 10-0 after ’25.

Laramie possession squandered by a sling beyond the wing into touch, but turnover enabled progress in bruising fits and starts from stoppage down into the home team’s 22 and further to their business district, 10 meters from goal, where an attacking scrum had Lumberjacks on the heavy-metal front foot. That piece won and spun swiftly to a deceptively shifty second five-eighths, Bobby Watkins, who proved elusive, wending his way through the Denver line to touch down for a scoreline of 10-5, yet in homeboys favor, in the 29th minute.

Jacks would claim the lead at time in the half with another scrum-put, six meters from the Harlequins goaline, taken and shifted quickly to first five-eighths, Nela Lolohea, whose line break into the Promised Land straight through a drawn d-line made his grounding, conversion by flyer Clinton Page, and tallies of 12 and 10 for Laramie Lumberjacks at Kenney’s halftime signal.

Good grade of play from both in the three-try, first 40. Harlequins were making headway in rambling bangers from breakdown and some canny string-pulling from Zaugg, while Jacks three-quarters line showing explosive potential, especially in their centers.
Laramie counted the first score of the second stanza as engine roomee, José Stradley, pounded across to touch down for Page’s plus-two and 19-10 for visitors at ’47.

Recycle shifted quickly but errantly skimmed along the ground at speed before sublime pickup by Lumberjacks 15, Chris Waldron, and the fullback sped 20 meters unscathed for a try and with Page’s added completion, 26-10 just then, ten minutes into the last half. Quins at sixes, sevens, heavy on the rear-leg and down by three scores.

Harlequins returned and a well-executed cutter for 40 meters threaded a winding line to goal for a try and Zaugg’s plus-two and home side lively now with 26-17 and ’54 being the significant figures.

Laramie made their advantage double-digits on a power-run and grounding by Lolohea for his brace, and 31-17, just on the far side of the hour mark.

An inclose penalty play by Harlequins resulted in a maul-to-goal and dropdown pack try, converted by Zaugg: 31-24 in the 68th.

A splendid communication and close by Quins fullback, Mike Boyle, made easy-peasy conversion by Zaugg and everyone had 31 with ten minutes left on Kenney’s ticker.

Hard and harsh the last from 70 minutes onward with each side striving mightily to break the deadlock. And it was homeboys, in the third minute of injury time, who touched down the decider for massive 36-31, come-from-behind, victory.

                Harlequins - Try: (2nd man thru, 40-meter cutter, Pack, Boyle (2)); Con: Zaugg (4); Pen: Zaugg;
                Lumberjacks - Try: Watkins, Lolohea (2), Stradley, Waldron; Con: Page (3)

Match Official: John Kenney

Wyoming and Lumberjack rugby is a Harris family affair with father Eric #6, son Cameron #4 and daughter Haley, for the UWyo Women

The Alphabet of 2019 RWC

The Alphabet of 2019 Rugby World Cup
In the 26 days leading up to RWC, we’ll take a letter a day running the alphabet to get you there:
A - is for Attrition, Anscombe, Argentina and Australia: the act of attrition when visited upon a club can seriously inhibit that XVs ability to perform at the top of their arc, which is the ideal spot to be either approaching, or at, come the 3rd week in September; Wales standoff, Gareth Anscombe, hobbled off the pitch v England and is done for 2019 RWC duty; Argentina will put attrition on anyone should they not be cautious; ditto Wallabies...
B - is for Battle, Beaver, Biggar and Breakdown: a side wins the battle of the breakdown, all other aspects being equal, they’ll have won the match... Biggar has donned the 10 jersey for Wales due Gareth Anscombe’s injury (see above "A") ...2011 RWC final was won by a sticksplitter from the man called “Beaver,” Stephen Donald, New Zealand All Blacks 4th-string flyhalf who’s fishing the Waikato and in sketchy cell-reception when Graham Henry called... and called - finally answering and in near egg-on-legs shape struck truly the goal to give Kiwis their first world title of two in sequence that they’ll defend for the second time this fall;

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The International Weekend

Beginning last night at 8pm MST with Tonga v Western Force at Teufaiva Sport Stadium in Nukuʻalofa, the preparative fixtures for 2019 RWC get onto full swing with every nation intending to use these high-level competitions to put the final touches on the rosters that’ll get after the WW Webb Ellis Cup in less than four weeks’ time with the exception most notably of Argentina; Pumas are sorting out the squad, its temperament and temperature, if you will... it’s just that nobody but they know what they’re upto, and that’s dangerous for everyone who is not Argentina. Sleek Cats are our dark caballo:
On Saturday, August 24:
Scotland host France at Murrayfield on the RugbyDay at 6:00 am MST. Gonna see the Scots response to the rub-a-dub they got in Paris
England - Ireland at Twickenham will be a dandy. Think we’ll see Owen Farrell-Jonny Sexton matchup at kickoff, 8am MST?
At 11am, MST Uruguay Los Teros v South American President’s XV at Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo
Canada square off against Leinster on Tim Hortons Field, Hamilton, Ontario at 1pm MST
Mind! Top 14 gets off the weekend

Opening Day - Men's 15s

RugbyTown 7s - Day 1

Denver 7s on the march against SoCal Griffins

Collegiate All Americans v Life West

RugbyTown 7s - First hits
In the four-pool, five-clubs-per-pool, three-day, sevens tournament yesterday Pool A’s undefeated All Army team hold honors in the group after winning their three matches on the day... as did the Ramblin’ Jesters of Pool B. That pair will close pool play today at: 11:20 - Army v Air Force with the winner taking the group; and 2:20 - Ramblin’ Jesters v Sacramento Eagles with RJ needing the win to top their group. Army have outscored their opponents in three matches by a total of 122 points while the Jesters have counted a 126 points differential in their trio of matches.
In Pools C and D however, different swimming holes as nine of the ten clubs yet vie for first place. Play resumes at 11am today down the Kettle at Infinity. Come see!

Marines on attack v All Army

The Alphabet of 2019 RWC

The Alphabet of 2019 Rugby World Cup

In the 26 days leading up to RWC, we’ll add a letter a day running the alphabet to get you there:
A - is for Attrition, Anscombe, Argentina and Australia: the act of attrition when visited upon a club can seriously inhibit that XVs ability to perform at the top of their arc, which is the ideal spot to be either approaching, or at, come the 3rd week in September; Wales standoff, Gareth Anscombe, hobbled off the pitch v England and is done for 2019 RWC duty; Argentina will put attrition on anyone should they not be cautious; ditto Wallabies...

Friday, August 23, 2019

RugbyTown Sevens

RugbyTown 7s - Players +

Since its inception in 2011, RugbyTown 7s tournament has provided a forum in which talented players have established themselves; Colorado native sons, current USA Eagles standouts, Ben Pinkelman (Cherry Creek High School) and Pan Am Games star, Cody Melphy (Littleton Eagles - Heritage High School), cut their rugby teeth on the playing grounds of Infinity Park, Glendale, establishing their respective, estimable games and earning high honors. The 2019 edition of the three-day Sevens competition shall be no different with emergent talent from allover the globe on hand in the hunt for the $10K first prize.

Not just premier players, but those who pilot their respective sevens machines are of an elite class as well, the best and brightest of a formidable class of American coaches who’ll be directing the action from just in touch: George “Mo” Moleni, directs the USMC team in the five-team Armed Forces bracket and he informs of his charges: “We’re going for the win!” 

Marines warming up at the Cherry Street Park

Taylor Howden, former Denver Highlanders, Barbarians and Glendale Raptors halfback, is head coach of NOLA Gold and he’ll lead his squad from the Big Easy in Pool D play (THE Pool of Death) against the likes of: LifeWest (sponsored by California Capital and Investment Group - CCIG); Lomaiviti (inspired by the Fijian island group of the same name); Marlborough Compeed 7s; and the bell ringer, Collegiate All-Americans. 

Howden and NOLA Gold, left, on the StoveTop

Collegiate All Americans
The finest emergent 7s talent in the United States will be on display when the All Americans are afield led by the code’s inimitable and well-established pilot, Steve Lewis. The former Vail RFC and Denver Highlanders head coach has reached the level of an accomplished rugby mystic, leading his Bulldog RFC 7s club to USARugby’s national clubside title in 2018 before taking over the reins of Jamaican National Sevens and earning that select group qualification to the Olympic Repechage rounds next June in United Kingdom. Lewis’ charges are no less gifted, though the players have many presents yet to open. 
Lewis, far right, and Collegiate All Americans; Noble burning the corner

Three of Lewis’ scholarly lot:

Nittany Lions standoff, Dabulas

Mike Dabulas: the New Jersey native will finish at Penn State this year with a degree in Economics, Business and Finance; his short term goal is to win a starting spot on newly-minted MLR franchise, Old Glory, in our nation’s capital city and thereafter attain a position on USA Eagles.

Noble is a pitch-covering demon

DMontae Nobel: “Tae” begins his senior year at Kutztown University, and will complete his degree in Criminal Justice (post-rugby he plans to work with at-risk youth as a probation officer). The halfback/center, who enjoyed success in the Pan Am Games last month, will “follow my rugby path,” to, we suspect, great heights.

Zarcone knows rugby business!

Cole Zarcone: Cole is in his 5th year at Central Washington University, completing his masters work in Business Administration. The affable and hard-hitting three-quarters intends to continue his rugby journey on the USA Eagles pathway and long-term, have a successful career in business and a loving family.

Collegiate All Americans schedule, Friday: v LifeWest at 1:30pm; v Lomaiviti at 4:30pm and v Marlborough Compeed at 7:30pm; Saturday: v NOLA Gold at 3pm.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Women's Premier League Rugby WRap

Women’s Premier League
Weekend Wrap BtN

Three for Berkeley 14, Laura Thacker, propelled All Blues past ORSU at home, 29-5, while their newly WPL-minted cross-Bay rivals, Life West Gladiatrix, secured their inaugural elite-level victory on the trot at Glendale Merlins, 43-21, on braces from: number 2, Hope Rogers; scrumhalf Lauren Kenyon; first five-eighths, Amy Naber; a single touch down by fullback, Sisileti Hingano; and four conversions by the 15 for a 13-points haul.

In East Conference play, Beantown topped Atlanta Harlequins in Boston, 32-22, led by a pair of touch downs from outside center, Amanda Schweitzer; mean while Chicago North Shore opened its 2019 campaign with a convincing home win over Twin Cities Amazons in Chi-Town, 31-10.

Current Table


                Saturday, August 24:
                                                                Life West Gladiatrix (5) v (0) Oregon Sports Union;
                                                                San Diego Surfers (0) v (0) Glendale Merlins;
                                                                Atlanta Harlequins (0) v (0) New York Rugby
                 Sunday, August 25:
                                                                Beantown (5) v (0) Twin Cities Amazons

Monday, August 19, 2019

2019 RWC Test Preps

International Exams On the Weekend, plus

Friendlies, or probative intercontinental sallies, whichever, went down on the Friday/Saturday and, besides a number of players being conspicuous by their absences from their respective nation's roster, outcomes were about as expected: All Blacks solidified their backline in a what-for Wallabies; Red Dragon got their own back versus Men of the Rose; Springboks applied their method on Pumas in Salta; Les Bleus showed Thistle-and-Saltire something; and Azzurri roughed up the Bear.

New Zealand got their own returned with a blanking of Australia at Eden Park, 36-0, after suffering loss to Wallabies at Perth in the first round of 2019 RWC preparations. The three-quarterline of Aaron Smith through to Beau Barrett looks set; maybe a query or two concerning the pack, but All Blacks showed the first side backline, pretty much, on the day. Previous 15, Ben Smith, with 66 caps, was moved beyond the wing to make room for Beau Barrett, who moved to fullback to make room for Richie Mo’unga at the pivot... and it appears Smith will keep moving until he arrives onsite with Top 14 club, Pau (Section Paloise), possibly to start in the 2019/2020 opener the upcoming weekend for the French club, as that competition begins. Australia, for their measure, made ground and had considerable possession during their defeat, but could neither touch down nor split uprights for to count. All Blacks will have one more run-up v Tonga on September 6, the Friday, at Waikato Stadium before departing for several dates with destiny on the Home Islands of Japan beginning with the most important in the fixture v South Africa on September 21.
Australia host Samoa, Saturday, September 6, at Bankwest in Sydney before setting sail for 2019 RWC.

Wales, with former newbie Dan Biggar pulling strings behind the scrum, leveled accounts with England in a relatively uninspiring, 13-6 win over an Owen Farrell-less Men of the Rose squad that’ll be differently-complected come the Sarries 10’s return to action. The only try of the match came from the flying George North in the 32nd minute after Anthony Watson’s wings were clipped for a tenner for slapping forward a Welsh try just prior. Wales have home-away fixtures with Ireland at Millennium, August 31, and the RDS, 9.7 and then its off to determine their own fate;
...while England host Ireland at Twickers on the upcoming RugbyDay, 8.24, and then have a go at Italy on St. James Park in Newcastle, Friday, September 6 - then an Owen Farrell-fortified Englander team will test the world.

South Africa, with the switched-up halfback combination of Cobus Reinach/Elton Jantjies, did the necessary at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, and brought home the 24-18 victory over the Pumas. Visitors started Felipe Ezcurra-Juan Diaz Bonilla  at 9/10, were up at midpoint and drawn past the hour mark, but a brace of subsequent Jantjies’ sticksplitters made the difference. South Africa, like Kiwis (with whom they drew last time out and who are their opening-round opponents!), also have a single fixture, though it’s on the trot v 2019 RWC host, Japan, at Kumagaya Athletic Stadium (Saitama, Honshu). ‘Boks could very well bookend their opener with the same opponent in the Webb Ellis Cup final.
Argentina are done until the Pumas blockbuster initial match v France on Saturday, the RugbyDay, September 21.

France displayed fine form in Nice for 32-3 victory against a Finn Russell and Greig Laidlaw-less Scotland with Camille Lopez in the 10 shirt and Antoine Dupont serving him up the pill, while the halfback duo of Baptiste Serin-Romaine Ntamack rode the bench for homeboys. France fullback, Max Medard, grounded a brace in the win.
France hope to reprise their result at Murrayfield this Saturday, then on Friday, the 30th, a date with Italy at Stade de France, while Scotland go after France on the upcomer and then it's hosting of Georgia before the big show in Japan.

Italy hammered Russia, 85-15, in either a show of Azzurri might or an exposure of the weakest side in the 2019 RWC pools, your call. The Bear’s competition in the A Group must be planning now to field a reduced side in their respective fixtures v Russia as Ursa Major have a large bit of work to do in the next month.
Italy get after France, Friday the 30th, and then it’s a final against England the following Friday 9.6 at Newcastle.
Russia are in a one-off against Jersey a week tomorrow and then it’ll be a good bit of preparation for the Bear until the ursine 2019 RWC opener v Japan, Friday September 20, Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo.