Saturday, November 18, 2017

5 Raptors feature for Eagles today, plus

A fine Saturday morning tryple [sic] for Autumn Tests this RugbyDay:
England (2) v (3) Australia: Owen Farrell’s back; Mario Itoje’s back, though he’ll come off the bench. And the electric Anthony Watson fills the 15 shirt. England, to a man, will be keen to prove impressive with a substantial triumph today at Twickenham. Australia went well against Wales at the Old Millenium last week and captain Michael Hooper, a mature halfback pairing of Will Genia and Bernie Foley, and the rest of Wallabies nation will look to do an extraordinary double – sans Israel Folau… I know! but he’s got a date, evidently – England have not lost to Australia since their ill-fated, 2015 RWC campaign, and have won the last four engagements (three of them Down Under), so look for England to make it a handful in a big way unless they don’t, which I’m thinking will occur: Australia 27, England 24… hah!
Germany (22) v (17) United States of America: Eagles feature a trio of Glendale Raptors: halfback Shaun Davies; blindside flanker, Ben Landry; and inside center, Bryce Campbell on the starting XV; in addition, a pair of Raptors will be coming off the bench – backrowman John Quill and standoff, Will Magie. USA will like to win this ahead of their showdown next week in Tbilisi v Georgia, while Germany will like to make it a brace of “teen” scalps in a bit more than a fortnight after their thrilling 41-38 victory over Romania (formerly #15 at World Rugby’s table) the beginning of the month: USA 35, Germany 15

France (8) v (5) South Africa: this’ll be the dandy of the day; and look for three critical battle fronts: Mtawarira v Slimani in the first row; Picamoles v Vermeulen from the back row; and Etzebeth v Everyone all over the show. This’ll be lively and physical with form and flair what promises to become stuff of legend: South Africa, 51, France 50.

Monday, October 30, 2017

RMR: MD-2 10.28-29 Roundup

Denver Barbarians v Denver Harlequins
Boulder Rugby v Park City Haggis
Denver Highlanders v Park City Haggis


The top division in the region continues to go the way of Denver Barbarians as that Fifteen in Green have taken on and bested all comers heading at the midpoint in the league competition. Barbarians topped Denver Harlequins to take their third Battle for Denver against zero losses with all possible points. They are the current standard in the league, but next spring and the second half of the season is yet a fair ways off and a whole bunch of factors can enter into play ‘twixt now and then; not the least of which is the latest top flight competition to command center stage in the US, Major League Rugby (MLR). Barbos will surely have players now on their roster who may be featuring for Glendale Raptors in 2018, ditto the Merlins; Haggis is certain to have more than one player on Utah Warriors in the MLR, so all three of those sides could be depleted to some extent during the last half of the MD-2 schedule.

Park City Haggis were hot and cold this past weekend. The Grand Fare came out blistering versus Boulder Rugby in the initial match of their twinbill weekend, scoring the bonus try just shy the hour mark and before Boulder had pointed at all en route to a 27-14 victory that vaulted City past Glendale and into second spot at the RMR, MD-2 feast. Different story on Sunday against Denver Highlanders, however, as Haggis drew first blood early in the contest, but Highlanders returned for a 21-7 halftime lead and a 29-19, 5-point, final record. With the win, Denver has now also leaped Merlins, though they’ll be third, one table point off the Utahns pace.

              Club                       W           L             D            MP

Denver Barbarians             5             0             0            25
Park City Haggis               3             2             0             17
Denver Highlanders          3             2             0             16
Glendale Merlins               2            3              0             13
Boulder Rugby                  2            3              0               9
Denver Harlequins            0            5             0               0

Saturday, October 28, 2017

RMR MD-2: Boulder v Park City

Boulder Rugby v Park City Haggis

Francis-to-Francis lineout connection

Bit of wind on a chill fall day at PleasantView as Boulder Rugby and Park City Haggis RFC would see who’d claim the second spot on RMR’s MD-2 table after 80’ on the RugbyDay. Haggis were doing the double as that steadfast crew often did, playing Boulder on Saturday and then rolling down 36 for a Sunday fixture before transiting the Divide and back home to their ski and snowboarding paradise in the hills above Salt Lake City. Boulder were looking to shift from fourth on the table and into the runner-up spot as well; the pitch-perfect-pitch at PleasantView was all hot and bothered even before the first boot.

The Park City XV, depleted due a Utah Warriors RFC trial, were nonetheless capable of fierce intent at breakdown, forcing turnover early and flowing into the Boulder half with a terrible beauty as outside center Joshua Carson fended his way to space at the 10 meter line from a won lineout and outraced the chase to goal for a grounding that put the visitors up by a handful after four short, though explosive, minutes of action.

Haggis were enjoying the majority of possession and hence points when blindside flanker, Brad Kappos,  plowed across from breakdown three meters out; with inside center Fereti Lepolo converting to goal it was 12-nil for travelers in the 23rd minute.

Park City were back for more just prior the  half as 8man, Tucker Francis, scooped ball from the rear of a five-meter wonscrum and scooted over the paint to touch down for a 17-0 Haggis lead by the time field magistrate Chris Brewer sounded the midpoint whistle. Boulder offense consisted of strategic kicks that were well-gathered and -countered by the hungry Haggis backthree backs, while their guests appeared better at both sets and in the loose.

Haggis got three from the tee on a penalty goal by Lepolo just after re-start: 20-0 at 43’

Park City lengthened their lead when hooker Blake Burdette banged and bulled his way over and through a number of would-be stoppers en route to a try from halfway; conversion by Lepolo and PCH had the bonus point and a 27-point advantage coming up on the hour mark.

A yellow card issued by Brewer for a high hit reduced Park City’s complement to 14-men in the 71st minute. Boulder were sharp to exploit that benefit and were able to ground a brace of trys through openside flanker Tucker Brock and fullback Jake Shomer; each were converted by scrumhalf, Demian Mallo-Smith, for a 27-14 result to Haggis at  Brewer’s last blast.

              Boulder - Try: Brock, Shomer; Con: Mallo-Smith (2);
              Park City - Try: Carson, Kappos, Francis, Burdette; Con: Lepolo (2);                                     Pen: Lepolo

Match Official: Chris Brewer

Friday, October 27, 2017

RMD-2: Weekend Preview

The top division in the region goes the way of Denver Barbarians just now as those Men in Green have taken on and bested all comers heading to the midpoint in the league competition. However, the table leaders nearly didn’t maintain their unbeaten status on their road trip to Utah a fortnight ago. Trailing Park City Haggis 19-24 as 80 minutes loomed, Barbarians required the wizardry of magic man, Charles Ajarrista, to try for his own conversion in the 77th minute, wresting the lead from Haggis and preserving Denver’s unblemished record. Barbos had trounced previously unbeaten Highlanders the weekend prior and look to cement their position on the upcomer v Denver Harlequins in the 3rd Battle for Denver of the 2017-18 season.
Glendale Merlins have finished their fall run and sit in the second spot, pending outcomes of the weekend matches. Merlins opened their campaign with a loss to Barbarians down the Kettle and have well-beaten Boulder and Harlequins, though they were, in turn, defeated soundly by Highlanders and lost a thriller to Haggis on the Stovetop.
The Burns Supper Feast, meanwhile, have taken down Merlins and turned back Quins on their home turf in Park City SkiTown; they now reside in 3rd position one table point off Glendale’s pace. But that is likely to change as they’re doing the double Sat/Sun with matches at Boulder and Highlanders respectively.
Boulder and Highlanders, who each at times displayed fine form in their competition earlier this month with Boulder coming back from early 0-14 disadvantage for the 21-14 victory, each host Park City Haggis this weekend. Any success by the travelers is likely to vault them into second place, though a sweep will be required to keep them there. End of the day, by the end of the weekend, one’ll see a shakeup in the current lineup, one should think.
              Club                     W          L             D            MP
Denver Barbarians             4            0             0              20
Glendale Merlins               2            3             0              13
Park City Haggis               2            1             0              12
Denver Highlanders          2            2             0              11
Boulder Rugby                  2            2             0               9
Denver Harlequins            0            4             0               0

Upcoming the weekend - Saturday 10.28:
·       Boulder Rugby (9) v Park City Haggis (12) at PleasantView, noon – will be a blinder! I’m goin’, you goin’?
·       Denver Harlequins (0) v Denver Barbarians (20) 2pm at the Cooker; Quins yet seeking their first joy of the season; Probably okay to use the “J” word, as in Juggernaut, in reference their guests right now;

and Sunday 10.29:
·       Denver Highlanders (11) v Park City Haggis (12) at the Jake, noon boot; boom-boom-boom, BOOM!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Rocky Mountain Rugby MD-2

The Rocky Mountain Rugby men’s division-2 competitions went the way of the visiting sides on the weekend in all three matches. Boulder Rugby broke open a tight, 17-14 at-half contest with 17 second stanza numbers to triumph over Denver Harlequins at Cook Park, 34-14, to start the day; in the match of the weekend, Park City Haggis displayed grit and determination in sealing their road win over the Merlins on the StoveTop at Infinity, 46-43; and Barbarians, claimed undisputed ordering rights at table behind an 71-12 blasting of Highlanders in the second of six seasonal Battles for Denver at the Jake.

Inside center, Sean Kilfoyle, a TRY League-Rugby Colorado-University of Colorado product, led his XV past Harlequins on Cook Park’s Cooker Rugby Grounds, expressing consummate defensive and offensive skills as well as accounting for 19 of the visitors tally on a brace of touch downs, three conversions and a penalty. With the five-point win, Boulder have evened their record at 1-1-0 and ready for next RugbyDay’s (Saturday being the RugbyDay!) road trip to Denver and Highlanders at the Jake.

Haggis and Merlins were as two heavyweights, administering thunderous body blows of pack probes in pick-and-goes, and clinically elegant jabs in the form of backline incision as the XVs counted 89 points total. Travelers returned from 27-38 deficit with three touch downs in the final 10 minutes to carry the win at 46-43.

It was Statement Day the first forty at the Jake as Barbarians outside center, Michael Al-Jiboori dotted a hat trick of trys, flyer Antwun Baker grounded a brace and five other Barbarians dotted in the comprehensive, 71-12 win that puts the Men in Green in sole possession of the ordering seat at the table. Highlanders did not lack for opportunity in their guests 22, but Barbos defensive denied resolutely with a meaty ferocity sufficient to the task of blanking their opponents through the initial 68 minutes of the show. Barbarians are definitely the class of this league just now, and if they keep this side intact through next spring, they’ll be repping the Rocky Mountain Rugby and the West in the National Championship. Ajarrista, Al-Jiboori, Collins & Co are that good though we make that call along with the caveat they maintain their present matchday roster.

Denver Barbarians         3            0            0            15
Denver Highlanders       2            1            0            10
Glendale Merlins            1            3            0            8
Park City Haggis            1            0            0            5
Boulder Rugby               1            2            0            5
Denver Harlequins         0            2            0            0

Upcoming the weekend, Saturday 10.14:
·       Park City Haggis (5) v Denver Barbarians (15) in Utah – should be a blinder!
·       Denver Highlanders (10) v Boulder Rugby (5) at the Jake, noon kick – as good as you like… I’m goin’, you in’?

·       Denver Harlequins (0) v Glendale Merlins (8) noon at the Cooker; Merls need a win to get back on track… ‘Quins  seeking their first joy of the season

Sunday, October 1, 2017

RMR: MD2 - Glendale Merlins v Denver Highlanders

Merls pressure v 'Landers resilience

Warm sun with an overcast incoming on a bit of crossfield westwind at the first whistle and kick of the match that would see about the early points lead in Rocky Mountain Rugby division-2 men's table on the StoveTop at Infinity between first place Merlins and first place Highlanders, each with a handful of match digits and each looking to prove  their mettle at the expense of the other. Glendale were looking to keep their momentum ongoing after their comprehensive defeat of Boulder Rugby last weekend, while the Highlanders sought similar circumstance and identical outcome; sides were all locked and loaded awaiting referee Brighton Khumalo's starting signal.

Highlanders 10, Adam Price, hoisted the high, hanging drop and his cohort swarmed the receiving Merlins forward, their determined effort making for turnover in the Glendale half just outside the 22. A couple of banging, crabbing  pick-and-goes with minimal forward movement before breakdown and penalty awarded to the visitors at a failure to release infraction; opportunity for the shot on goal wayward in the second minute and Glendale restarted from their 22 with the dropout.

Denver remained in the Merlins half, however, making slow yet certain progress toward goal, well aided and abetted by the occasional Merlins penalty until a sweeping movement wide saw outside center Matt Soderman across in the corner for a try that put Highlanders with the 5-nil lead in the 5th minute of action.

Denver were enjoying the great majority of territory and possession due their speed to and intensity at breakdown in the first 20 minutes and they were rewarded as loosehead prop, Mike "Bilbo" Backens executed a thundering, lumbering, jinking scoot through the hosts defense to touch down 'neath the posts for Price's conversion and it was 12-0 for Denver on 20 minutes.

Highlanders kept pressure on in short, probing pick-and-goes from breakdown and questions posed in the midfield, but slowly the "effect" pendulum began to favor the home squad as it was Highlanders who were getting pinged and Merlins who were making the gainline+.

Glendale with the put just inside Highlanders 10 meter line. Won and distributed to flyhalf, Thomas Gumbley, who dead-legged to space and made ideal communication with scrumhalf Trevor Wilder, who finished fast for five and 12-5 yet for Denver, but Glendale had announced themselves well in the 36th minute.

Highlanders and the quickly-tapped penalty from 25 meters out caught Merlins napping and the inside handoff to Price saw him cross unscathed for his own conversion and the lads went to lockers for hydration, inspiration and instruction with tallies at 19 and 5 after Khumalo sounded the halftime break. Highlanders won the first 40 showing better fitness, determination and fashion at breakdown with Merlins looking a bit slow and sluggish as reaction. Glendale were sniffing the paint at the conclusion of the opening innings, so the competition a bit closer than the Highlander's two converted goals lead may have indicated.

Second stanza got underway with each side seeking to substantiate their own pattern: Highlanders with the bang-bang from breakdown before cycling to their thus far impressive threequarters, and Merlins keeping the pill tight and close and working the maul inexorably upfield with purpose.

Glendale with the wonscrum at Highlanders 22 setting to goal before gaining the penalty and the kick to touch for a lineout on the edge of Highlanders business district, 10 meters from goal. Toss captured by Merlins leaper and maul angling powerful into the Promised Land with blindside flanker George Bristow and his drop-down touch for five-made-seven by Wilder, and 19-12 in the 51st minute - StoveTop's burner on high just then.

Highlanders stretched the lead back to 14 with a try scored by hard-charging inside center, Ahron Osheroff, and Price with the added deuce: 26-12 at 55'.

The final 10 minutes and IT were like a raucous, heavyweight battle with both XVs slugging away and counter-punching desperate: Denver's flyhalf slotted a penalty to make it 29-12 before Gross touched down for Highlanders and 36-12 the scoreline in the 69th minute.

Glendale struck back on inside center Dennis Papike's grounding and own conversion: 36-19 at 73'; Gross got his brace with Price's +two and 43-19 the numbers; a further touch down for the homeside by Gumbley, with Papike's +two made it 43-26 in injury time; and a last five for Denver as replacement back Rocco Petramala intercepted a pass and scampered to goal for the 48-26 result at Field Master K's last blast.


Glendale - Try: Wilder, Bristow, Gumbley, Papike; Con: Wilder (3);
Highlanders - Try: Soderman, Backens, Price, Osheroff, Gross (2), Petramala;                            Con: Price (4); Pen: Price

Match Official: Brighton Khumalo


Friday, September 29, 2017

RMR D-2 Men Tomorrow, Saturday, 9.30

One pair of hot, D-2 fixtures on the schedule this weekend on Saturday, the morrow:

Denver Barbarians, currently leading best in show, roll up route 36 to do battle with Boulder Rugby at the primary pitch in the state, PleasantView Rugby Grounds. Barbos are coming off a bye week, while Boulder dropped their opener to Glendale Saturday last. Never any love lost ‘twixt these auld enemies, but always the good rugby. Boulder and the Barbo have better than a century of rugby between them. High noon boot in the college town.

Glendale Merlins, who lost to the Barbos in the league’s first match Down the Kettle, host upstart Denver Highlanders newly arrived from D-3 and impressing in their initial match last weekend v Denver Harlequins. 1pm kickoff on the StoveTop at Infinity. Merlins can score often and their defense was flawless in blanking Boulder last outing; Highlanders notso bad, too, in their win over the Quins at the Jake. Now that the Merlins are in MD-1 competition as a member of Red River Rugby Conference, one could see quite a few prospective D-1 players onpitch tomorrow. Stern test for Highlanders; nevermind the weather, this is bound to cast a heated brand of the pill up ‘Top.

Three of four squads playing on the weekend have five table points, the Denver clubs and Glendale. It promises to be an ideal day for sport for anyone canny enough to avail themselves of the concept.