Monday, May 2, 2016

Recap: Ohio Runs Past San Francisco

Photo: Colleen McCloskey
By Derek Sagehorn

Ohio scored seemingly at will in the first and final quarters of Sunday’s match against San Francisco, final score 51-17. In front of a packed and boisterous crowd, Ohio scored tries in all manner, despite a brief lull immediately preceding and after the half.

The scoring began after a long string of Ohio phases in San Francisco’s half. Off of a ruck near the five meter mark, Felipe Ferrarini took a ball, drew and passed to an oncoming Spike Davis for first points. Ohio scored again quickly when Shaun Davies directed an attack on SF’s 22. A series of smooth and confident forward offloads eventually found a streaking Pierce Dargan for a clean line break and score. San Francisco got possession back and were threatening when stout defense dislodged the ball. Ohio kicked downfield to a coverless backfield. Ahmad Harajly recovered and dished to Zac Mizell; the ball finally found a hard-charging Sebastian Kalm for the try. Davies missed his first conversion, score 19-0.

Take the jump to read more.
San Francisco collected themselves and started to play with ball in hand, but couldn’t connect on several promising forays into Ohio’s half. Support play was wanting from the West Coasters all afternoon as linebreaks and wide attacks were turned over by Ohio. Rouse kicked a nice penalty to get SF on the board, but Davies kept the lead with one of his own minutes later. San Francisco looked better in the scrums overall, only losing one of their own put-ins (still too many). Those efforts were for naught when the referee awarded a penalty to Ohio when their boring loose-head lost his feet, AKA was pulled down. Kalm sensed opportunity, quick-tapped and scored.

San Francisco continued to play with ball in hand and were eventually awarded for their willingness to play fast. An Ohio player slowing down a SF attack on the 22 was yellow carded for his cynicism. San Francisco played quick and eventually Jacob Finau went over for San Francisco’s first try.

Down 27-10 at half, if San Francisco wanted to come back they would need to come out fast, especially with an Ohio player in the bin for nine minutes. Instead San Francisco immediately had one of their own sent to the bin, leveling the match to fourteen men. On an ensuing SF scrum on their five-meter, Ohio muscled over and Ferrarini scored from the base.

In the final 20, the superior fitness of Ohio began to show as Davies, JP Eloff (twice) scored cutting through the tired, heavy San Francisco defense. Orene Ai’i scored for San Francisco in the final five minutes, but the game was well out of reach.

Ohio benefitted in large part to a sterling backrow performance from Kalm, Ferrarini and Matt Hughston. The trio turned over San Francisco ball, harassed playmakers and passed well in and out of contact. Steps forwards for San Francisco in the scrum were accompanied by unorganized defense and poor support play.


Tries: Davis, Dargan, Kalm (2), Ferrarini, Davies, Eloff (2)
Conversions: Davies (4)
Penalties: Davies

San Francisco

Tries: Finau, Ai'i
Conversions: Rouse (2)
Penalties: Rouse

San Francisco

Forwards: Niko Lolohea, Tom Coolican, Patrick Latu, Siaosi Mahoni, Richard Knight, Siupeli Sakalia, Sam Finau, David Tameilau

Backs: Michael Reid, Orene Ai'i, Jack O'Hara, Martini Talapusi, Volney Rouse, Pila Iongi, Jake Anderson

Bench: Jacob Finau, Fancy Namulauulu, Maka Tameilau, Codi Jones, Charles Mateo, Naibuka Tarwake, Junior Helu, Isaac Helu


Forwards: Angus MacLellan, Peter Malcolm, Jamie Mackintosh, Pierce Dargan, Kyle Baillie, Filippo Ferrarini, Matt Hughston, Sebastian Kalm

Backs: Shaun Davies, JP Eloff, Mason Baum, Roland Suniula, Ahmad Harajly, Spike Davis, Zac Mizell

Demecus Beach, Cam Falcon, Anthony Perry, Robbie Shaw, Chris Kunkel, Alan Hanson, Dominic Pezzutti, Zack Stryffeler


  1. San Francisco's poor conditioning is striking. I'm really surprised at the slowness to the breakdown and at the lack of support play. Ohio is clearly well conditioned and playing cohesive Rugby. After the loss to Denver, which should have been a 4+ try victory, I think Ohio is the best team in the competition. It will be interesting to watch play out.

  2. As a Bay Area rugby fan, I purchased season's tickets to the SF PRO Rugby team, even though I knew I would not make every game but wanted to support the league, which is long overdue here. After 3 weeks one thing is very clear, Denver, Ohio, San Diego and Sacramento have a well organized professional atmosphere. SF, on the other hand, looks embarassing. The fitness level is horrific, the style of play is imbecile, in other words a poorly structured franchise. You can see several forwards just walking around after 15 minutes of play, and their body shape defy anything close to professional and show their poor fitness level. There is no exit strategy from their own half, running from everywhere, and all they so is get beat to the breakdown and turn the ball over. It's great to see the fine athletes at the other franchises, and look forward to a deep and competitive Eagle player pool. The SF setup is shocking, poorly coached, poorly conditioned, no cohesion at all. Combining the forwards from Cal and St Mary's would provide a much superior and competitive forward pack. I hope the league sorts this out......right now I feel it's a waste of time to go to SF's home games and watch shockingly poor rugby like that.

    1. You should go to watch the other teams then. We need all the support we can get at these games for the first season. I have a feeling SF will adjust. Just give them more time.