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.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Eagles close out perfect June

And now, The World

USA Eagles men's national XV continued their uncompromised 2018, finishing the World Rugby Summer Test Series at 3-0-0 with definitive, 42-17, victory over Canada yesterday at Halifax, Nova Scotia. With every player in the 30-man pool a rugby professional and thus able to concentrate on their game as they perform within the steadily improving 15-man unit, and the guidance and direction of head coach Gary Gold, the Eagles are fluid and effective with reaction-to-event times minimalizing. 

USA is #15 in World Rankings. We are on the move and looking forward. In that action, numbers 14-9 can now be considered within grasp of Eagles long-term talons. Tonga, who is at 14, defeated Fiji (#9) at Suva yesterday, 27-19; so Ikale Tahi will climb on the global chart, but that whole pack, as evidenced by their recent results, is in a pod directly in front of our national men's squad and can now be targeted:

  • #14 Tonga: beat Fiji yesterday, beat Samoa (17), lost to Georgia on June 16; 

  • #13 Italy: split with Japan;

  • #12 Georgia: beat Tonga, lost to Fiji, lost to Japan;

  • #11 Japan: beat Georgia yesterday, beat Italy on the 9th, lost to Italy on the 16th;

  • #10 Argentina: were hammered by the Scots side we beat June 16 yesterday, and dropped a pair to Wales in the first half of the June term;

  • #9 Fiji: lost to Tonga yesterday; beat Georgia, beat Samoa 
Argentina and Tonga are in USA pool in RWC next year along with England and France, so there is a very real possibility that Eagles can finish in the middle of their group thus obviating the need to qualify for 2023 RWC, the Bicentennial of Rugby. 

Bulldog best at Barbo 7s

Bulldog flyer, Jihad Khabir, scoring first five in final          image: h. Richard

Regards 7s rugby, there is a new dog in town... and it's a big dog... and yesterday it was top dog as a side heretofore unknown in these parts blasted through the competition to unequivocally claim first place in the opening round of the three-tournament system that will determine Frontier Conference's pair of sides to contest USA Rugby's national club 7s championship August 11, 12. 

Bulldog Rugby, an invitational side comprised of American college students from across the nation and piloted by Colorado favorite son and consummate rugby authority, Steve Lewis, cruised through the competition to record an historic 29-7 championship victory over favored Denver Barbarians Premier side in the trophy match.

In years past it has been near foregone conclusion that Barbos and KC Blues would meet in the finals, but this year Lewis' side, who are currently on three-week sevens training regimen up in the Hills conducted by the former Vail and Highlanders coach, topped out. Bulldog is sponsored by rugby promoters, David Fischer and Mike Newcombe, and as evidenced by yesterday's outcome, is raising the grade of sevens competition.

Barbos and Bulldog were in the same bracket and each won their pool matches handily before drawing 14-all in the bracket. Barbos earned the higher seed heading into the playoff round by scoring more trys, 13-12, than Bulldog. Denver then topped Utah Peak, 29-10, in their semi and Bulldog obtained the championship match with 35-10 victory over Kansas City Blues 1st.

Speed to and from breakdown, effective grapple at tackle and lightning-fast communication along their line of attack meant an impressive offensive display in the opening half and Bulldog went to the sheds with a 19-nil midpoint cushion.

Barbarians managed a converted try in the second stanza, but Bulldog got a brace unconverted for the record of 29-7 at the Sir's final whistle. Bulldog got 6 points for their winning efforts; Barbo, 4; KC Blues 1st, 2; and Utah Peak, 1. Next stop on the three-tournament tour will be in Kansas City at the 2018 Heartland Sevens on Saturday, July 14th (Bastille Day, non?).

The third and final stop on the tour leading upto nationals is Denver 7s, which will be held at Dick's Sporting Goods Park just outside the city limits of Colorado's capitol in Commerce City on Saturday, June 28. I'm goin', you goin'?

Friday, June 22, 2018

Barbarians 7s; Finals Weekend

The first leg of the three-tournament series that will determine the two sides to represent at USA 7s Clubsides August 11, 12 is on tomorrow at Cook Park, Monaco Blvd and Mexico Ave, beginning at 9am and the fast code rugby action will be ongoing through the day with the championship final slated to kick at 5:20pm.

Final exam weekend for the Summer Tests and much yet to be discovered in this run-up to next year's World Cup in Japan.
  • Argentina (10) v (7) Scotland at Estadio Centenario, Resistencia in the north; the visitors will yet be smarting from their historic defeat to Eagles last weekend and will be looking to make significant amends; their hosts meanwhile, not good amend material; fire it up!
  • Australia (4) v (2) Ireland at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney: Wallabies won the first Test 18-9 and lost the second, 21-25; rubber match will be a doozy, guaranteed! 
  • Canada (22) v (15) USA  at Wanderers Ground in Halifax, Nova Scotia: it will be interesting to see how the US performs after last week's heart-stopping victory over Old Scotia; Canada were woeful in their defeat to Russia and will be looking to save something from their thus far dismal June campaign; this could be a tight one if USA allows it.
  • Fiji (9) v (14) Tonga  at ANZ National Stadium in Suva: Fiji have beaten Georgia (handily) and Samoa (only just) in the Summer Test/Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) Series/Tournament; Ikale Tahi, meanwhile, have gone 1-and-1 in the PNC popping Samoa a good one, 28-18, and losing to Georgia 15-16; championship match in their home stadium for Fiji.
  • Japan (11) v (12) Georgia at City of Toyota Stadium Aichi Prefecture: both nations have gone 1-and-1 in June, Brave Blossoms splitting with a resurgent Italy and Georgia losing to Fiji and pipping Tonga; this'll be an excellent first tier wannabe Test!
  • New Zealand (1) v (8) France at Forsyth Barr in Dunedin: All Blacks have handled Les Bleus thus far and there is no reason to think tomorrow's outcome will differ from the previous pair of games;
  • South Africa (5) v England (6) at Newlands, Capetown: Springboks have bested the Men of the Rose balls-out, 42-39, and in a more conservative fashion, 23-12, on England's (for the Angles) misfortunate summer tour; but never say die Pommies, wot? England will not like to go naught-and-tree this month and will be desperate to prevent such a record gone to book; 'Boks would be simply delighted, Old Boy, if that in fact were the historical case!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Plaudits for East High Rugby from DPS

Denver East Rugby receives a congratulatory proclamation from Denver Public School Board for winning Colorado State Rugby Championship, and is commended, "for outstanding performance in athletics and sportsmanship, thereby bringing great honor and pride to the East High School Community, Denver Public Schools and the City of Denver."