Sunday, December 31, 2017

Grins and Chagrins

2017 Grins and Chagrins

USA Eagles v Georgia Lelos: Tbilisi, 11.25.17

…the one that got away…
Perhaps the harshest rugby lesson of the year came during Autumn Tests, that period when Southern Hemisphere nations come north and Western Hemisphere test-XVs head east. Our men’s team had a pair of matches: the first against a German side, ranked 23 in the world, which had taken down #15 Romania, and the second versus the #12-ranked country on World Rugby’s chart, Georgia Lelos.
Eagles looked fine sporting a handful of Glendale Raptors on the starting squad in Wiesbaden on November 18, claiming a deserved, 46-17, triumph. The subsequent weekend in the Georgian capital was another affair entirely.
For down between the Greater and Lesser Caucasuses on the 25th of the month, the Eagles left the best chance for a rising in World Rugby’s ranks on the deck through shoddy defensive effort and errant goal-kicks in a match that was won by Lelos, 21-20. At times, it seemed tackling was a considered option rather than a fundamental and had MacGinty made one of his three misses, that’d have made for the win and certain ascendancy on the global table. Liking Davies at scrumhalf, though; real deal there!

…forward march…
USA Eagles men open the 2018 season with a five weekend, 5-match run squaring off against Argentina in the first round of the Americas Rugby Championship at the StubHub Center (formerly Home Depot Center) in Los Angeles (Carson) on Saturday, February 3 – I go, you go?

Then it’s Canada in Sacramento 2.10 and host duties of Chile in Fullerton (CA) on 2.17 before traveling to Brazil (2.24) and Uruguay (3.3), culminating in (ideally) the Eagles second ARC title in a row.

Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Winding Down...

but Denver Barbarians, Kyle Hilyard, Carmine Hernandez and Jackson (l-r) were working the pill on the StoveTop at Infinity in preparation for the Barbos 2018 Spring Tour to SoCal where the'll play OMBAC and Belmont Shore the first weekend in February. Also on tap Saturday, February 3 in the south LA County City of Carson (13 miles south of downtown LA) at the StubHub Center (formerly Home Depot Center) will be the opening round of the Americas Cup that features defending champion USA Eagles squaring off against last year's runner-up, Argentina. The curtain raiser for the international sees Super Rugby SA Conference Stormers take on Bulls in what will most definitely be a fine warm-up derby for the South African squads... I'm goin', you goin'? No really

   SPL Link
   CCS Link

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