Thursday, April 6, 2017

Rugby Colorado: High School Boys - East v PAC

Denver East v PAC Rugby
Cooling at dusk and a bit of a breeze from the south end goal as Denver East High Angels and PAC Rugby clashed at East’s venerable venue, Heaven. The Angels were undefeated and looking to remain in that pristine condition, while PAC were recently returned from a successful tour of Ireland over the spring recess.

Not an auspicious beginning for homeboys as kickoff did not travel 10 meters forward; scrum center for the travelers. That set piece won and picked up from the back of the scrum and to breakdown. East were caught infringing, and PAC flyhalf, Evan Price, found touch inside the Angels 22. However, lineout toss not in straight, possession reversed and the Denver standoff, Luke Neureiter, was able to clear his lines.

A period of instability followed with force and intensity by both sides at breakdown causing knock-ons and mishandles, truncating movements. PAC were assessed a penalty for offside at breakdown and East fullback, Max Gottesfeld (who’ll be on a full ride to Denison University this fall), split the sticks from just inside the interior right hash 30 meters out, and 3-nil East after six minutes.

Four minutes on, East were knocking on the door with a penalty award five meters from goal. Quickly-tapped by Angels scrumhalf, Theo Bennett, and the halfback angled across for his touch down that made it 8-0.

Bennett distributes from the won lineout

PAC failure to control the pill at breakdown and subsequent infractions cited by referee Chris Huff therein, denied the travelers possession and worked to keep East on the front foot. 

East back for more in the form of hooker Aiden Rocchio, who continues to impress with his rate of industry, crashed over from inclose, his try made seven by Gottesfeld, and 15-0 in the 14th minute.

Angels back in PAC territory employing short pick-and-goes from breakdown and fiery inside channel gambits. Scrum won by East at PAC 22 distributed by Bennett to Neureiter, who skipped a lengthy communication to his outside center, Holden Kjerland-Nicoletti, and that man was on a scorching cutter inside to dot for Gottesfeld’s addition deuce: 22-0 at after 18 ticks.

One more for Denver by inside center, Yanni Stavropoulos, hard-charging through congestion for 20 to ground for Gottesfeld’s plus two, and the scoreline was 29-0 with time running fast in the opening session.

PAC came alive with significance right before time in the half when outside center Casey Grieve smashed through East defensive alignment on the weak side and broke to space at midfield for a 30-meter swift transit before being brought to ground. Patience in the visitor attack now as forwards crept slowly into East business district, ten-meters from goal, in brief, stealthy pick-and-goes just shy of the Promised Land. Quick pick from the breakdown by halfback, George Edwards, and his powerful second effort enabled the pop across for a try and PAC were aboard, score was 29-5, and referee Huff sounded the midway break and it was lads to lockers for hydration and instruction.

PAC would have to sort their infractive behavior at breakdown in the second stanza, while East would look to continue in a similar manner as they performed in the initial period of play. 

Much better stuff from PAC in the early going of second stanza with runners making the gainline and travelers benefiting large from East penalties now.

Bit scrappy with each side turning the ball over at breakdown only to lose the pill at the ensuing loose piece.

Price hoisted a huge Garryowen that proved uncollectible for the defending back-three Angels, and PAC were into Denver territory with a vengeance and down into their business district. Slashing move by blindside flanker, Isaac Tadla, and he was into goal for touch down converted by Grieve; 29-12 in the 10th minute and visitors looking lively now.

Neureiter had moved to fullback at the half, Gottesfeld to the right wing and East talisman, Sam Adix, came on in the pivot. Adix began to display his estimable kicking skills with short grubbers and lookers over the top of the scrum interspersed with the high hangers and long rangers.

Two rapid seven-pointers: by openside Zach Jacobs and Kjerland-Nicoletti getting his brace, each converted by Gottesfeld, and it became 43-12 for hosts middle of the half.

Adix showed and goed at his own 22 and loped a wavy, weavy line for 75 meters to try for Gottesfeld’s deuce and 50-12 just now.

PAC would have the final shout when Price gathered a jouncer from the loose and tore along touch 30 meters to goal for Grieve’s plus two, and 50-19 in the 23rd minute, and those were the significant figures at Huff’s last blast.


                East - Try: Bennett, Rocchio, Holden Kjerland-Nicoletti (2), Stavropoulos, Jacobs, Adix; Con: Gottesfeld (6); Pen: Gottesfeld;
                PAC - Try: Edwards, Tadla, Price; Con: Grieve (2)

Match Official: Chris Huff

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