Sunday, August 12, 2018

Bulldog best 7s in America

Back in June at the start of the 7s season when Bulldog rolled to the title in its first qualifier at Barbo 7s in Denver, team captain Tim Stanfill (1st row, left) can be seen showing what everyone in the country now knows, Bulldog is #1

Bulldog Rugby, a conglomeration of the finest sevens players in the nation coached by one of the shrewdest minds in the business displayed its premier skills in triumphing all comers at USA Rugby's 7s Clubside Nationals in New York today.

The Bulldog 7s program is a prime example of what talent, instructed by wisdom and backed by sufficient funds can and will do. Steve Lewis, canny chief of the group had his charges training at altitude in Vail, Colorado for three weeks to open the 2018 campaign. The side signified early, taking on and topping the best in the Frontier Conference at the aforementioned Barbo 7s in June, then earning the second seed out of the Conference by making the final of Denver 7s in July.

From the almost frightening intensity of injured player-coach Lorenzo Thomas at breakdown, to the masterful machinations of Jihad Khabir moving with calm, fluid and flashy deliberation as he pulled strings along the simmering explosivity of the big Dog's backline, to the ubiquity of Aaron Matthews seemingly everywhere at once with great effect, the invitation side was the class of the tournament and have operated just a cut above mere mortals all summer long.

Sydney 7s - February 1-3, 2019

USA Club 7s: Barbo, Bulldog advance

Denver Barbarians and Steve Lewis' Bulldog 7s are into the knockouts today in New York for national clubside 7s championship.

Barbarians took second in their pool after drawing with Atlanta Old White 12-all to open the day, then topping Belmont Gold and dropping their final pool match to an impressive Mystic River side. Barbos play Washington Athletic at 9:40 MST for the right to move on.

Bulldog won its bracket with defeats of Belmont, Beltway Elite and a thrashing of NYAC. Bulldog go against Dallas at 9:20 this morning in their knockout.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Super Rugby Final: BtN

Championship - By the Numbers 

17        from the flawless foot of flyhalf Richie Mo'unga on the conversion of all four Crusaders groundings plus three penalty strikes against a brace of Lions trys, one converted by flyhalf Elton Jantjies, who added a pair of penalties for a record of 37-18 at referee Angus Gardner’s final tweet;
            0-3       on Jantjies first strike in the 13th minute;
            3-3       drawn by Mo’unga at 16;
            10-3     try by flyer Seta Tamanivalu and its conversion by Mo’unga three minutes on;
            13-3     Mo’unga penalty at 33;
            20-3     try by fullback David Havili plus two by Mo’unga, one minute later;
            20-6     penalty by Jantjies just before time in the half;
            23-6     Mo’unga penalty at 43;
            23-13   try by openside Cyle Brink, conversion by Jantjies at 54;
            30-13   try by scrumhalf Mitch Drummond completed by Mo’unga at 64;
            30-18   try by hooker Mal Marx at 68;
            37-18   try by lock, Scott Barrett, plus two by Mo’unga at 74 

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Super Rugby Semifinals plus

Crusaders on a mission, while Lions shout
By the Numbers:

15           for the best flyhalf to have never started an All Blacks test in the 10 shirt on one try, and braces of conversions and penalties, and Crusaders Richie Mo’unga fair outshone Hurricanes and All Blacks (and World, past two years) standoff, Beau Barrett, as Crusaders crushed ‘Canes; it was drawn scores at 7-all after twenty minutes in a rollicking good contest at the AMI in Christchurch, but 18 unanswered in a 20-minute interval either side of the half had home team fluidly on pace to defend their Super Rugby title; Canterbury trys from young flyers George Bridge and Braydon Ennor, in addition to groundings from Mo’unga – to open scoring in the 15th minute -  and center David Havili, in brilliant support of a sparkling Bryn Hall recycle, while visitors got one each from flyers, Julian Savea and Ben Lam; all four Crusaders try-scorers 24 years or younger with Mo’unga being the elder statesman of that promising quartet;

2              early trys had hosts reeling after groundings by Waratahs blindside, Ned Hanigan, and fullback Izzy Folau, in the first ten minutes of play, both converted by flyhalf Bernie Foley, had the faithful at Ellis Park stricken and tallies at 0 and 14 for the travelers then; before Lions number 2, Mal Marx, got two and home team’s own blindside, Albertus Kwagga Smith, got a couple and half dozen total touch downs for the Pride as Lions broke open a 19-point knot with 16 unanswered, for a scoreline of 35-19 by the last 10 minutes; both XVs counted converted goals before the final whistle for a record of 44-26; Aphiwe Dyantyi had one of the most excellent indy-efforts since Simon Zebo and reminiscent of a Chris Ashton best, hoisting a looker in traffic and collecting it at pace thence to burn Bernie Foley with a burst from NASA’s playbook and outpace the chase for a fast fifty and the touch down; Kwagga Smith, too, had an impressive, if bumpy, ride for his first try, rocking and rolling through a number of would-be stoppers en route the sacred paint:

Upcoming Championship

19           a prime, and the sum of 9 and 10; Bryn Hall and Richie Mo’unga are absolutely thrumming along at this stage of the Crusaders campaign, complementing one another superbly in the highest expression of halfback interactivity; Lions by comparison have a world class halfback in Elton Jantjies, but when the hooter sounded at the end of their semifinal on Saturday last, Dillon Smit was in the scrumhalf slot as Ross Cronje’s relief; this was more to allow Smit’s blood to flow rather than due a Cronje hurt; so though starter Nic Groom is definitely out of the number 9 shirt, visitors will still have their numbers two and three available for that crucial position; whether it will be sufficient to provide the likes of Dyantyi, Lionel Mapoe and Ruan, “the Punisher” Combrinck their opportunities to strut their collective stuffs will be revealed on the Saturday, August 4, in the South Island Crusaders citadel in Canterbury.

Our own Nose-tradamus is calling it 32-17 for a Kiwi repeat, but one never knows ‘til the last whistle blows, do one?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Dogged Determination at Denver 7s

Who’s the Bulldog?

The answer to that question can be found in the manically pulsing beats of the quarter-hour segments that are rugby 7-a-side fixtures and the epitome of that tempo was on display at Barbarians 7s in Cook Park, Denver on June 23rd.  Bulldog Rugby is a collection of scholar-athletes, schooled by one of the best with sponsorship funding by a pair of far-sighted enthusiasts. Bulldog dropped a 17-19 decision to KC Blues in their only match at Heartland 7s on July 14th, a tournament shortened because of weather.
Best at Barbo 7s
The club whose origins are in the northeast part of the country will be looking to advance to USA Rugby 7s National Club Championships final frontier, the Round of Sixteen, at Baker Athletic Complex on Columbia University campus in New York City, northside of Manhattan Island on the weekend of August 11th and 12th.

The sevens juggernaut is comprised of standout players from allover the country and captained by Seattle Saracens Tim Stanfill, a three-quarterline playmaker who earned Eagles Test caps in 2014. Stanfill played secondary schools at Evergreen HS (WA) and collegiate at Central Washington University. The scholar-athlete is the group’s old man at 24 years and manages his side on- and off-pitch by example with infectious enthusiasm, forthright perseverance and thoughtful deliberation.

But who are Bulldog? Here’s a triple-snap-chat-shot:

St. Mary’s (CA) 7s center and 15s fullback Aaron Matthews, a senior majoring in Kinesiology and Anthropology, hails from Irvine, California. He began his rugby journey as a middle schooler with Back Bay Youth Rugby. Aaron joined the Bulldog, “to better myself technically and to prepare for the upcoming 15s season.” Mr. Matthews will be looking to lay the stamp on those targets this Saturday at Dick’s.
Aaron Matthews: master blaster
Jihad Khabir, who calls our nation’s capital home, is a standoff (both 7s & 15s) with a perplexing sidestep and impressive acceleration. The fast and fluid flyhalf cut his teeth in the DC youth leagues before earning scholarship at American International College. The Criminal Justice major will graduate spring 2019 and states his goals this summer as, “elevating my technical game as well as improving my personal skill sets within this talented group.” As evidenced by Mr. Khabir’s activity at Barbo 7s, the rising star is spot on track.
Jihad Khabir: eye-popping maneuverability
One of the Bulldog critical 7s front row triad is Tulsa (OK) native Lorenzo Thomas, a junior at Lindenwood University, who has a brace of Eagles caps already. A 7s prop and 15s center, Thomas is swift to the breakdown and ferociously fluid of intent thereafter. Expect the Communications major to factor significantly in the Bulldog end game on Saturday.
Lorenzo Thomas: mighty man at breakdown
All Bulldog players expressed their primary motivation for joining the invite-only side as the opportunity to develop under the instruction of coach, Steve Lewis. Glasgow-born and fully Scots-bred, the Bulldog pilot has a voluminous list of credentials that includes USA Rugby Coach of the Year. The former Vail RFC and Denver Highlanders head coach has his charges, who are representative of the finest college and university players in the US, training at altitude and consolidating into a formidable 7s collaboration.
Lewis, mindful, at Barbo 7s

Catch them in action Saturday, the upcomer, July 28 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park beginning at 8am.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

San Francisco World 7-a-sides

San Francisco World Cup 7s
- h. Richard, Java Beach, 7.21.18
USA men’s 7s, seeded fifth, worked Wales (12) for five trys, blanking their opponents 35-nil in the final match last night at the SF 7s Rugby Festival on Friday in the Round of 16. Scotland (8) returned to top Kenya (9) in overtime, 31-26, in an oddly administered match that saw the Africans down to four men by the death.

Numero uno seed South Africa got four touch downs from phenom, Siviwe Soyizwapi, in its 45-7 pasting of Ireland (16), while second seeded Fiji defeated Japan (15), 35-10, and New Zealand (3) defeated Russia (14) 29-5.

England (4) squeaked by Samoa (13), 19-15; Argentina (7) blanked Canada (10) 28-0, and in the only upset of the round, France (11) beat Australia (6), 22-17.

Upcoming Quarterfinal Round today: Men’s Winners all times local, PCT
Scotland (8) v (1) South Africa: 3:30pm
Argentina (7) v (2) Fiji: 3:50pm
France (11) v (3) New Zealand: 4:15pm

        USA (4) v (5) England: 4:35pm

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Wolves eat Raptors for MLR Title

Seattle SeaWolves claimed the inaugural Major League Championship Trophy with 23-19 victory over Glendale Raptors at Torero Stadium in San Diego on Saturday. Seattle Flyhalf Peter Smith's conversion of a try by 8man, Riekert Hattingh, at the hour mark put SeaWolves ahead 20-19 and a 67th minute sticksplitter by Smith made for the record, 23-19. 

     Glendale - Try: Fenoglio, Quill, Campbell; Con: Magie (2);
     Seattle - Try: Barkwill, Rasileka, Hattingh; Con: Smith; Pen: Smith (2)

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Major League Rugby - FINAL EXAM Time

By the Numbers

3 Reasons why Glendale will win the 1st Championship by 4, 38-34*

2 (6)      Zach Fenoglio, whether he’ll be packing down at the side of the scrum or striking for the put, the former Eagles hooker has an almost uncanny ability to cover the pitch and find the most effective position to either support play moving forward or staunch the flow of opponents’ movement. The savvy forward is always in the mix employing and applying what legendary Rugby Colorado pilot, John Paterson, would call a dynamic and inherently precise, “GPS”. Fenoglio ranked fourth in the league on try-scoring this season, so he knows how to find the paint as well.
Fenoglio, ball-in-hand, blasting

9             To put it simply, there is no better scrumhalf operating in the States, possibly the Western Hemisphere, than Shaun Davies. The speed and surety of the Eagle halfback’s service enables Raptors three-quartersline the critical extra nano-seconds to work the magic that frees up the likes of flyer Harley Davidson to pile on the points. As witnessed time and again during the ARC series in the spring and the recent Summer Tests, Mr. Davies does not shy away from the tackle either; no matter if it be a roiling mass of prop approaching, or bumble of boisterous backrow en route, the consummate halfback is keen for engagement and concise in containment of his adversary’s play; a sweet blend of skill and determination. Mind his Garryowen as well!
Davies, bearded in dark, minds the Argentine XV wonput

15           The finest three-quarters in the land never to have worn an Eagles cap, Maximo De Achaval, is an essential rugby player. His calmness and deliberation, whether it be under the high ball, in confrontation of an opponent with definitive stop, or threading the defense to try (or set one up), this Texas-born, Argentine product is epitomous effect. Thing about elite setup guys like De Achaval, they work the collaboration so well, that when they decide to keep possession and back their own play, they are the ghost that vaporizes, reappearing meters on in space – you‘ll see that tonight from De Achaval, but you must pay close attention!

Go You Raptors

* this could explain the numbers: totals points scored, the prime factoring of that sum,  the difference that makes, my birthdate, angels on the head of a pin, the quotient that number makes with zero as denominator, 9er, etc... modeled after the World Rugby algorithm that calculates rankings!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

MLR Playoffs: By the Numbers


14     the measure of separation between San Diego and Seattle in Colorado so everybody goes to Southern California for the championship next Saturday July 7, though only one will play in the title match; locked at 10s at end of first 40, San Diego scored at the 56th minute of the second stanza on a grounding by backrowman, Drew Gaffney, with Joe Pietersen adding the extras and Legion dotted again near time on a try by returning Eagle Nate Augsburger with the plus-2 from Pietersen, but in the interval between that brace of scores the 'Wolves doubled down on their opponents for a quartet of trys: outside center Will Rasileka ('63), fullback Peter Tiberio ('66), three-quarters Sequoyah Burke-Combs ('73) and front rowman John Hayden ('80) - 2 converted by flyhalf Peter Smith - for the record at 34-24 and Seattle would face the winner of the Glendale-Utah derby.

13     the distance from Warriors to Raptors as Glendale ran out to a 22-point lead by the 31st minute on scores by backrow lock Simon Figg ('2), converted by Peter Dahl, and a brace from flyer, Harley Davidson ('28 & '31), with standoff and returning Eagle Will Magie adding a conversion and a penalty goal; Utah got a converted try through midfielder Tonata Lauti with flyhalf Kurt Morath adding the extras in the 36th minute for a 22-7 midpoint advantage in favor the birds; Warriors outscored Raptors by a deuce in the second stanza, 14-12, with loose forward, David Tameilau and halfback Don Pati touching down ('68 & '74 resp.) and Morath making both; though not before cagey veteran hooker and Glendale talisman, Zach Fenoglio, as well as prop, Luke White, had dotted with Magie adding one +2 for the 34-21 result.

Next up: 2018 Major League Rugby Championship, Torero Stadium, San Diego, Saturday, July 7, 8pm MST kick, which will see number 1 seed, Glendale Raptors and number 2, Seattle SeaWolves, working the pill at the gladiator bowl finale in Southern California.