Monday, April 22, 2019

Major League Rugby WRap: 4.22

MLRNA WRap: 4.20-4.21 
By the Numbers

It’s yet a NOLA Gold table, but a bit snugglier after the weekend action. Slight shift in the complexion of the first four clubs currently in the playoff frame with one dropping out and another moving into the fourth and final spot.

Clubs either have 5 or 6 games to play, and that means that a potential of 30-35 table points are yet on offer. San Diego Legion are hottest in the league right now on five running without a loss. New York, the best road record on only a single loss.

Gold are yet in the lead on the track, but it is certain that the Louisiana franchise can feel the thunder in the hooves of close-chasers, San Diego and Seattle. NYU are the new boys in the top four, while Glendale have dropped from that august grouping.

By the Numbers, On the Weekend

16           for Legion 10, Joe Pietersen, on 5-and-2 off his shoe and a double for the home side’s USA Eagles stalwart, Mike Te’o, and 6-try San Diego walloped Glendale a good one, 46-15, at Torero, knocking Raptors out of the playoff picture for now and elevating the Multitude level with Seattle in second;

0             the measure of separation, 12-all, at the half and Utah Warriors were up, 22-17 at the hour mark when a touch down by New York United and moreover, its conversion by center Chris Mattina, proved the difference and a record of 24-22 for the Big Applees;

21           nil after ’30 as Arrows shot out to a 3-score advantage before SabreCats Zach Pangelinan crossed and dotted, but 35-21 for Toronto at the end of the day and with the 5-pointer, the Canadians moved right up and closeby the Glendale hind;

20          for Seattle numbers guy, Brock Staller, on 1-and-6 true the sticks and SeaWolves pipped frontrunning NOLA Gold at the Starfire, 25-24, to earn a share of second;

Austin Elite on the bye

Rocky Mountain Rugby: Bringing you the Good Stuff for better than half Century


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Super Rugby Round 10 WRap

Super Rugby Round 10 WRap
 4.20-4.21, By the Numbers
 home wins @Waratahs and Highlanders
 road wins by Brumbies, Hurricanes, Lions and Reds

Both Australian clubs on the trot in South Africa victorious, while the Rebels only roadside from Oz to lose and they dropped a decision to fellow continentals, Waratahs, in Sydney. All SA clubs within a win of one another with Bulls and Jaguares having a match in hand that conference.

20           point Lions halftime lead, 20-0, proved insurmountable in the second stanza and Big Cats halted Chiefs win streak at 3 with the 23-17 decision at Waikato Stadium; half visitors first 40 numbers counted by 10, Elton Jantjies, on 2-and-2 from his shoe; EJ also dropped a goal true the sticks at ’79; home XV scoreless until the hour mark, game was scoreless in the first 35 minutes; Chiefs 15, Damian McKenzie sustained ACL injury last week v Blues that may sideline the dynamic speedster for the remainder of 2019;

13           point halftime deficit, 10-23, no problem for Hurricanes whose 19-nil, second stanza sweep fair stifled SunWolves at Chichibu and 29-23 that record for visitors; 9 of the starting 15 New Zealand natives making the doomed* Japanese franchise close to a Kiwi club; 13 for ‘Wolves 10, Hayden Parker, on 2-and-3 off the tee;

7             the measure of separation at the half, and 7 the winning margin at the end of the day as Reds topped Sharks on the road at Kings Park in Durban, 21-14; visitors 12, Samu Kerevi, provided one sublime offload at tackle letting loose 13, Chris Feauai-Sautia, for a touch down in the first 40;

24           and 12 the tallies for the record after ’80 and Highlanders halted a 6-match winless streak with victory over Blues at Forsyth Barr in Dunedin;

20           in the first 40 the count for Rebels against 7 for hosts, Waratahs, but no-show travelers in the second stanza, while homeboys 10, Bernie Foley, clicked on for an 80-minute total of 18 on a triple of 2 conversions, 3 penalties and 1 try as ‘Tahs returned for the 23-20 result;

2             the difference midway, 12-10, for a traveling troop of Steadfast Steeds and that margin remained at the end of the day for a 19-17, epic road win for Brumbies over Stormers in Newlands at Capetown;

Bulls, Crusaders and Jaguares on the bye

* SunWolves are slated to be dropped from Super Rugby competition either at the end of the year, or when the present SANZAAR media contract expires after the 2020 season. Evidently the only Northern Hemisphere Super Rugby organ was deemed to have not been generating cash sufficient to ensure their extended existence... bottom line: there’s a number which SunWolves weren’t attaining and South Africa’s SANZAAR contingent, the ruling element of Super Rugby due their own significance in size and solvency, liked neither the money produced nor the travel required of their own clubs to sustain support for the team; AND Japanese RFU pulled support, so that paved the way for the ‘Wolves to the Super commode. So, soon the sun will set on the SR club from the Land of the Rising Sun, eh?

Ref -You - Gee R-F-C

Boulder Rugby v Denver Highlanders

Boulder Rugby v Denver Highlanders
Boulder leaper goes high for lineout ball

Overcast burning off and temps in the low 70s for the Boulder Rugby v Denver Highlanders contest at the organic PleasantView Rectangular Rugby Stadium. The outcome of the match would determine Park City Haggis’ competition in Grand Junction next RugbyDay for the Rocky Mountain Rugby Men’s Division-2 league title. America’s Most Wonderful Rugby Meal are top of the heap now as they’ve already completed their 2018-2019 campaign. Boulder would have to win the upcomer, and with the bonus-point - four trys or better - to reserve a berth in the RMR Championship fixture next weekend and deny reigning national champions, Denver Barbarians, that opportunity.

Highlanders got up and after it swiftly with significant stoppage by outside center, Aaron Osheroff, and the subsequent turnover at breakdown, putting visitors on the front foot for the moment. Half dozen phases later and travelers had turned ball over themselves on a handling error out wide.

Boulder set up in Highlanders territory for an extended period with scrumhalf, Sean Kilfoyle, organizing the action in a canny mix of pick-and-go stabbers and near channel cutters, and Boulder worked patiently into the Denver business district, ten meters from goal. Staunch and steadfast the Highlanders defense, forcing the knock-on followed by clearance for touch by flyhalf Peter Gray. Boulder remained on their adversary’s half of the pitch, aided by a number of penalties at and about the tackle, however, and in the 10th minute Boulder 10, Colin Johnson, snatched the ball from the loose, scant meters from goal, sliced into that Promised Land, and touched down for the opening try-converted by Kilfoyle, and 7-nil homeys right then.

Home team got another after fullback, Jake Shomer, fended away contact at Highlanders ten-meter line and raced 40 for the score; plus-two by Kilfoyle and 14-0 at minute 16.

Boulder were forcing Highlanders to commit more men to the tackle, making millimeters over the gainline and keeping the Denver defense on an unsteady rear leg, while Highlanders were experiencing difficulty maintaining possession due handling and passing issues.

Tallies were run to 21 and 0 in the 25th minute when Kilfoyle snatched the pill from three meters out and scampered across to try, and Boulder had the match well in hand, seeking the bonus-point just then.

Denver rose to the challenge, obtaining turnover and rolling into the Boulder 22 with movement from their maul aided by penetrating pick-and-goes from breakdown until backrow lock, Derek Smith, collected the pill inside five meters and blasted into goal for grounding: 21-5 at the 30th.

Bonus-point achieved just before time in the half as Boulder 8man, Andy Birch, burst the line at the Denver 22, making fast tracks, before dishing perfectly to openside, Elliot Barker, who closed for Kilfoyle’s conversion and it was 28-5 in the 38th.
Smith to Highlanders 9, Josh Slater, working the weakside

A knock-on fielding the restart saw Highlanders with the set piece five meters out from the Boulder goal. Penalty awarded for front row infraction and quickly-tapped service to swiftly moving loosehead prop, Jeff Westbrook, and the number one banged into goal for touch down converted by 10, Peter Gray, and 28-12 for the home team at the ensuing halftime signal from referee, Brian Kelly.

Chances for Denver squandered by poor handling, while territory and possession favored the hosts, who made significance of that stat. Boulder’s straight-center rumbles from breakdown interspersed with delivery to the near channel stampeders the home side’s meat and tatties. Highlanders keenly exploitive at times, wasteful with knock-ons at others.

Energy level seemed a bit more intense at the outset of the second stanza with much action between the 22s until Highlanders second row, Will Howard, broke through a crease in the Boulder line and fired up unexpected afterburners, speeding through 50 meters to goal for the grounding that brought scores to 28 and 17 in the 50th,  and one would have thought, “hmmmn...?” at that time.

A deliberate frenzy descended on the paddock for the next 15 minutes as forwards fought for possession in heated exchange at tackle and three-quarters strove to fabricate the overlap and misdirected advantage.
Boulder with the lineout take, 10 meters out
It was Boulder that hit their mark, with first five-eighths, Zach Savage breaking to space at midfield, feeding flyhalf Johnson to finish and with Kilfoyle’s additional deuce, 35-17 after 66 ticks.

Boulder would ground a brace of further trys through 7s star, Odell Beckham, on a flipper-assisted cutter, and a pack try mauled to goal at time for a result of 47-17 at Kelly’s terminal tweet.

               Boulder - Try: Johnson (2), Shomer, Kilfoyle, Barker, Beckham, Pack; Con: Kilfoyle (6);

               Denver - Try: Smith, Westbrook, Howard; Con: Gray

Match Officials:  Brian Kelly (Referee); Chris Brewer, Andy Zahl (RAs)

Friday, April 19, 2019

Rocky Mountain Rugby - Match of Weekend: Boulder v Highlanders

M-o-W features Boulder Rugby, in its quest to obtain the extra time frame, versus its Auld Enemy, Denver Highlanders, tomorrow-the-RugbyDay at the finest pitch in the State of Colorado, PleasantView Rugby Grounds*.

Homeboys require bonus-point victory to move onto and into extra time. Should Boulder not gain the 5th table point necesary to draw level with Barbarians, the Barbo will test Park City Haggis, who ran the league table, next weekend in Grand Junction for the right to move onto and into USARugby's playoff picture. 

Highlanders scored a bunch last outing at Park City, but Haggis scored more. For the Denver XV to thwart their hosts intent on the day they must contain the explosive Boulder three-quarters and prevent Boulder's rolling maul from getting its massive move on. 1pm at the junction of the Diagonal Highway and 47th for the firecracker!

Cloudy, overcast and temps in the mid-50s means ideal rugby conditions with the pitch and its eminiently hospitable eastern berm awaiting the rugby. 

Mahor League Rugby Preview: 4.20-4.21

Major League Rugby North America 
Weekend Preview: 4.20-4.21

Saturday, April 20th:
               San Diego Legion (36) v (33) Glendale Raptors at Torero Stadium, SD-CA, 3pm MST: loser could very well vacate the top four should number 5, NY, win later in the day; travelers need to figure out how to win on the road should extra time be on their extended horizon; mid-60s, no rain, bitty wind;

               New York United (32) v (10) Utah Warriors at MCU Park, Brooklyn NY, 5:30pm MST: probable playoff position for the home team at the end of this one; mid-50s with wind, but forecast showers earlier in the RugbyDay will slicken the pitch and greasen the pig;
Sunday, April 21st:
               Toronto Arrows (24) v (11) Houston SabreCats at York Alumni Stadium, Toronto CA, nooner MST: should home XV harbor design on extra time, this must be a bonus-point win; cloudy, mid 50s, slight breeze;

               Seattle SeaWolves (37) v (43) NOLA Gold at Starfire, Tukwila WA, 8pm MST: #s 1 & 2; won’t get a more massive match until playoffs; both on 2-match win streaks after losses to current numbers 3 & 4; overcast and 60 at first boot, no wind;

Austin Elite on the bye

Thursday, April 18, 2019


Rocky Mountain Rugby Men’s Division-3: Wrap, 4.18.19

With one round of play remaining (two for the aerial artists, Eagles and Flamingos), Queen City Rams have claimed the league title outright. City have plowed through the league with an unblemished, 7-0-0, record and they’ve compiled a near four-score, 28-on-average, points-differential en route the ordering seat at D-3 table.

The high-powered Queen City offense is paced by explosive standoff, Lewis McKissick, and backrowman Hayden Kinnear fronts their deliberative defense. Rams conclude their season at the end of the month, Saturday-the-RugbyDay, 4.27, on the road in Fort Collins against currently second-placed Northern Colorado Flamingos.

Super Rugby Round 10 Preview

Super Rugby Round 10: Preview 4.19-4.20

Crusaders best by far right now; if this were a horserace, the Cantabrians would be coming up on the middle of the backstretch and better than two lengths in the lead, followed by a pack of seven all within a bonus-point (one-length) victory of one another. The following half dozen thoroughbreds adrift by half-length that pack and within a brace of table points of each other and the SunWolves bringing up the rear, but only just.

Friday, 4.19:
               Chiefs (16) v (18) Lions at FMG, Waikato: Big Cats experiencing a sluggishness just now that needs be turned round, having been hammered at home by Sharks and dropping a reasonably close-run thing in Canberra in their last pair; homeboys one of the hottest in the league on three consecutive with Damian McKenzie leading the El Jefe resurgence; mid-60s, no wind, no rain on this perfect evening for sport;

               SunWolves (10) v (23) Hurricanes at Prince Chichibu, Tokyo: travelers may have already counted five from this one, which may very well be unwise; ‘Wolfie’s are due; 60 for first boot, could be rain, will be wind;

               Sharks (21) v (14) Reds at Kings Park, Durban: home XV are on a l-w-l-w-l pattern in their last handful of matches and it’s time for a “w”; visitors be young and yearning for learning and Kings Park may be the classroom on the day; mid-70s, no rain, some wind;
Saturday, 4.20:
                Highlanders (14) v (20) Blues at Forsyth Barr, Dunedin: home team lost by a converted score last month in Auckland; visiting Rieko Ioane is lighting the league now on nearly a try-per-game with the hosts Shannon Frizell not far behind; could be a high-scoring affair, though predicted rain and temps in the middle 50s could affect;

               Waratahs (16) v (23) Rebels at Sydney Cricket Ground: ‘Tahs are 2-2-0 at home; their guests are 2-2-0 on the trot; tossup with homeboys making the call; low 70s, no rain, bitty wind for the fixture;

               Stormers (18) v (15) Brumbies at Newlands, Capetown: hosts opened up the offense last weekend in OZ and got the fiver on the trot, earning the last playoff position for the moment; travelers on a two-continent, two-match journey inside a fortnight; wearying; low-60s, bit o’ wind, nary a drop;

Bulls, Crusaders, Jaguares on the bye

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

RMR MD-2 Weekend WRap and 1 to go!

Denver Barbarians v Boulder Rugby

Spread field with Boulder attacking had halfback Sean Kilfoyle, red scrumcap centered, eyeing his near stampeders

With the sun near setting pushing a chill westwind, temps in low 40s and falling, the StoveTop fired up with an instant and palpable, “whoosh!” at field magistrate Brian Kelly’s initiating blast and Denver Barbarians and Boulder Rugby came together under the high hanging dropped-kick in a tumult that lasted for the full 80+ minutes - save for a fiver in the middle - and the result a weighty determinant towards clarifying the playoff picture. Barbarians were clinical at times, flashy with the three-quarters carving sweet lines, while Boulder were steadfast and stodgy, getting the job done with  the turnover at tackle often subsequent that stoppage. But on too frequent an occasion, the pill was flung along the Barbarians three-quarters to open space with no hands to handle or knocked-on, while Boulder, ploddingly tenacious, exacted an estimable toll for every centimeter ceded.

Boulder were up early on a brace of touch downs by fullback, Jake Shomer, one converted by scrumhalf, Sean Kilfoyle, and it was 12-nil for the travelers midway through the first forty and Barbos were looking for answers...
and the Men in Green found them behind a brace of scores converted by the Denver 10, Charles Ajarrista: 14-12 for the home team at the midpoint.

Boulder went ahead on a grounding by midfielder, Austin Lloyd, and benefited from a sticksplitter by Kilfoyle in the second stanza but the scoreline was 24-20 with the sands running out as a ferocious Boulder maul careened into goal enabling touch down by second row, Ruaidhri Wintersgill, and Boulder had finished their season double over Barbos, 25-24, in as dramatic a fashion as there is to be had.

Should Boulder close out their campaign next RugbyDay, Saturday the 20th, with 5-point victory over Denver Highlanders, they will have accrued 27 table points, level with Barbarians, but Boulder advances to the title match by virtue of their 2019 double-victories over Denver. A Boulder bonus-point win Saturday, the RugbyDay, will propel the Men in Blue on to the decider in Grand Junction versus number one, Park City Haggis, on 4.27; should Boulder lose to Highlanders or fail to earn the bonus-point, then Barbarians go to Grand Junction for the knock-out v the league champion.

               Denver  - Try: Frost, O’Connor, Garrity; Con: Ajarrista (3); Pen: Ajarrista - 24
               Boulder - Try: Shomer (2), Lloyd, Wintersgill; Con: Kilfoyle; Pen: Kilfoyle - 25

Match Official: Brian Kelly

Park City Haggis v Denver Highlanders
PCH the news after keen defense of their realm in the western Rockies on last Saturday, the RugbyDay. The Most Delectable Meal on Earth were up 28-19 at the half, before allowing near-comeback by the Highlanders as a brace of touch downs by the visitors shy of the hour mark against a single grounding by the hosts had a drawn scoreline at 33s in the 58th minute. Four more trys by Park City against a penalty score by their guests, and 58-36 the record on the day.

Park City Haggis Rugby Football Club, undefeated first-placed currently, winner of all their league matches and travelers three times to the Front Range for fixtures... rather than be rewarded for their extremely perfect efforts this season with a home fixture for the knockout round, are required to transit near 300 miles for the determinant on the 27th of the month. Doesn’t seem quite equitable, yet the Powers What Be are reluctant to reveal the wherefores and whatnows of that precedent.

… and mind, Denver Barbarians are not out of it yet, they’ll just not determine their close future anymore as that’ll be upto do-or-die Boulder v ‘Landers on the upcomer.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Champions Cup Semifinal Weekend Preview

European Professional Club Rugby Champions Cup 
Semifinal Weekend Preview

As one may have expected, the cream has risen and the final quartet of players, Saracens and Munster, Leinster and Toulouse will be finalizing the championships bill this weekend. 

The Pro 14s Group A runnersup, the club that calls Thomond Park home, aka Munster, pops over to the big island for a derby with Saracens at the Ricoh. Sarries were merciless in their dispatch of Glasgow last round and they did it without Owen Farrell, who was rested last week, but you betcha the England 10 will be primed for Saturday’s battle against the Irish Province.

And then there’s Leinster v Toulouse. Each lead their respective competitions, though Leinster have been without their talisman, Jonathan Sexton, for the past month and the flyhalf is yet questionable for Sunday’s semifinal at the RDS. However, Ross Byrne, has been standing in for the premier standoff in good form. Toulouse are coming off a heady league victory v the French14s number 2 last week and this upcoming test may catch the Frenchmen at the pinnacle of their expressive arc one could think; meanwhile Leinster were letting in three trys in the last 20 minutes to enable the Glasgow comeback victory in Dublin. Each had a difficult time in their quarterfinal matchups with Toulouse on the trot at La Défense only pipping Racing 92 by a point and Leinster relying on a 71st-minute Byrne penalty strike for the margin of victory over Ulster. Gonna be large in a big way.

Major League Rugby WRap: By the Numbers

4.13-4.14 By the Numbers

It’s either upcoming Round 10 (of 16), or upco Round 11 depending on when your club is on its schedule and that means either 6 or 7 fixtures remain and, were this a horse race, we’d be in the backstretch with Nola Gold leading by better than a length, followed by a quartet of close-chasers: Seattle, San Diego, Glendale and New York; then Toronto, Houston, Utah and Austin. The race is temporally staggered as NY, Toronto, Houston and Utah all have a match in hand the rest of the field, and the complexion of the race will change as games-played level and the competition switches up a notch in power and passion, becoming more of a hare-coursing, or better yet, wolfhound-and-wolf chase, current wolf being the XV from New Orleans, but if that squad is not sensing the ever-presence of the slavering bunch at its hind, it should.

Any case, 30 or 35 table points on offer still, depending. A table point accrual of mid to upper 50s could see extra time; 60s will surely earn a club a berth in the four-XVs that gain the playoff frame en route the 2019 MLR Championship.  

By the Numbers, On the Weekend
13          for NOLA Gold 10, JP Eloff, on 4 conversions and a touch down in the league leader’s 28-19 shelling of Utah Warriors in Marrero, Louisiana; former Glendale Raptors magician and Gold star, Taylor Howden, got a late touch down;

22           points by Seattle SeaWolves numbers guy, Brock Staller, on a big triple of: 4 conversions, 3 penalties and 1 try as 7-try ‘Wolves upended Houston SabreCats in Texas, 52-12;

7             the home team advantage after ’40 that could not be held as San Diego Legion recorded the important, 5-point road win over New York United on the East Coast, 29-19; hat trick of touch downs by United’s ageless 9, Mike Petri;

null        Toronto v Austin postponed due weather-related transit issues.