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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

SkiTown 15s, Lady Raptors 7s and Super Rugby Grand Final


2016 SkiTown Rugby Tournament is on this weekend in Vail Colorado. Friday night in the Village it’ll be 10th Mountain Distillery or thereabouts and matches Saturday begin promptly at 9am-ish.


Down in Denver, Glendale Lady Raptors host Glendale Women’s Rugby 7s Tournament with the first kick at 9am on the StoveTop at Infinity.






 Semifinal 1: Hurricanes v Chiefs
Beau Barrett and the Hurricanes were on their game, while Chiefs were flat. The canny ‘Canes #10’s performance on Saturday last was dream-stuff of the finest sort at the Westpac Stadium. The home team’s rush defense was effective to the point of throttling their guests’ action before it ever got started. The implementation of that option led to a preponderance of penalties assessed against the homeside, but it served to stymie the Chiefs offensive schemes. On the stats sheet, Chiefs topped several categories, though the one that counted, the score, was not one of them. Final: Hurricanes 25, Chiefs 9.
There has been talk of an uncalled foul play during the match: specifically a boot to the head (face) from Hurricanes half, TJ Perenara, to Chiefs flanker, Sam Cane. The action appeared to fit the bill as stated in Law… subsection… paragraph 9. The effect of a citing would have been red card, then ban for the offense. There is letter of the law and there is spirit of the game; on occasion, that tandem’s twain doth part. This was one such instance and referee Angus Gardner had the grace and good judgment to not let it signify.

Semifinal 2: Lions v Highlanders
Elton Jantjies and the Lions were also on their best game, holding a 17-6 advantage at the half; Highlanders second stanza rally fell short in Ellis Park. The Lions #10 scored the initial 10 points of the match on a try, its conversion and a penalty, and went on to record 22 in his account. This was a lively contest that had 9 trys dotted in all (5-4 for homeys), more than 1,300 meters gained cumulatively (675 v 666) and four groundings in the final 15 minutes. Final: Lions 42, Highlanders 30.

 Grand Final   
Hurricanes v Lions
The distance between Johannesburg, hometown of the Lions, and Wellington, the ‘Canes base, is a bit more than 7,300 miles; elevation differential is more than one mile with the Lions on the upper end. Does that mean that it’ll be all downhill for the South Africans come Saturday? More than likely not. Hurricanes demolished Lions at the Big Cats homegrounds in Ellis Park Round 10, 50-17. Lions will reckon their sizable forwards pack will set the pace for the machinations of their halfback duo, Jantjies and Faf de Klerk, while Hurricanes ability to capitalize on their opponent’s slightest error will assist the work of their own halves, Barrett and Perenara, and their scrapping, scrambling pack.
This will be a close one, but this is where the decision to rest the squad in the first round of the knockouts may come back to bite the travelers on the buttocks. For Lions held the Super Rugby overall points lead heading into the last round of league play, which would have ensured homefield advantage throughout extra time, but the week’s respite for the “A” team meant a road loss to Jaguares and second seed with Hurricanes coming from third in the New Zealand Conference all the way to the head of the class after their bonus-point victory over Crusaders in the final action prior to knockouts.

Expect fast and furious from the home team, and a steady and stolid reply from the visitors in the culmination of 2016 Super Rugby. This one is too close to call, but the guy down at the end of the bar with all the money has Hurricanes champs by tallies of 45 and 41. Kickoff at the Westpac Stadium on Saturday, August 6; live at 1:35am on espn.go.com – choose “WATCH NOW” and enter “rugby” in the search box.

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