Monday, May 9, 2016

MD-2: Boulder Rugby v Provo Steelers - Territorials

Provo Steelers kick-and-chase deadly

Provo Steelers are into the Exceptional Eight on their USA Rugby National Championship run after victory over Boulder Rugby, 43-25, on Sunday at Infinity Park Rugby Grounds. The Men of Steel proved indomitable if a tad fractive, going to a dozen players at one stage in the second half of action. The clubs had triumphed in their respective Saturday, Round of 32, matches: Boulder by a score of 43-29 over St. Louis Bombers, and Provo with a tight win past Omaha GOATS, 34-27.
Sunny and a bit of wind at kickoff as numbers one and two in the league met for the third time in this competitive cycle. Boulder Rugby had come out on top the previous pair of fixtures. Steelers would like the third time to be their charm.
Good possession management by Boulder in the early goings and a penalty award had the attacking lineout eight meters from goal. Lineout won and a cutter by 8man, Paul Rohr, straight to goal for the touch down meant 5-nil for Boulder after seven minutes of action.
Boulder on the front foot and threatening yet again, but an errant message intercepted by Steelers inside center, Russell Uasilaa, followed by the 12’s 45 meter blast to goal for the grounding and subsequent conversion by center partner, Meiohihifo Kuli, and Provo were up by a deuce, 7-5, in the 10th minute.
Provo were inside the Boulder 22 and pick-and-going strong when referee Pete Winkelbauer judged Boulder had entered the ruck from its side, eight meters from goal. A tap and go to a three-phase breakdown and blindside flanker HikiFo’ou Folaumahina snatched ball and banged over goal to try for Kuli’s additional pair of points, and Provo had extended its lead to nine at 14-5 after 22 minutes.   
Boulder stormed into Steelers 22 and spend nearly ten minutes in multi-phase movement seeking to breach the Steel Curtain, but to no avail as Provo effected turnover in their own business district and 8 man, Viliami Vi broke into space at the ten meter line and offloaded to Kuli who made swift progress in Boulder territory before handing the pill to a flying Peniveha Pahulu for the fast finish, and the try; 19-5 for Provo at minute 39.
Boulder closeby Steelers goal now and rucking determinedly, but a strip at tackle by hooker Mikey Sio enabled fullback Anisi Saimoni’s clearance kick and halftime whistled up and lads to lockers.
Provo wasted no time after the re-start with Saimoni lofting the ball to space and Uasilaa managed his brace; with his own conversion the tallies became 26 and 5 in the 42nd minute.
One final try by 8man Vi to make the scoreline 31-5 for Provo, before near disaster struck in the form of repetitive infringement had the Steelers see yellow twice in a two-minute interval and it was 13-man Provo, and Boulder keen to capitalize. Which they did in the 62nd minute, when Rohr put flyhalf Sean Kilfoyle to space for a 20-meter close and with conversion by scrumhalf Colin Johnson, the significant figures were 31 and 12 just past the hour mark.
Provo suffered a red card and were now down to a dozen players. Boulder were looking to spread the field and exploit the three-man advantage. Provo played things right and tight to their formidable forward pack and worked it into the Boulder 22 to breakdown 15 meters from goal. Ball spun to openside Viliami Halasima running hard on the cut angle to space for 15 meters and the dot. Conversion by Uasilaa and it was 38-12 heading into the last ten minutes.
Tighthead prop, John Hamilton, scored Provo’s last to make it 43-12 before Boulder hooker, Eliot Kairys, dotted to make it 43-17. A last try for Boulder completed by Johnson, and the final of 43-24 was recorded at Winkelbauer’s last blast.
     Boulder – Try: Rohr, Kilfoyle, Kairys, Johnson; Con: Johnson (2);
     Provo – Try: Uasilaa (2), Folaumahina, Pahulu, Vi, Halasima, Hamilton; Con: Kuli (3), Uasilaa;
Match Official: Pete Winkelbauer  

Next up for Provo Steelers will be a fixture against Little Rock Stormers at Kino Rugby Complex in Tucson, Arizona on May 21, and then we hope to see them back in town to compete for the National Championship at Infinity, June 4.

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