Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sacramento, Ohio Looking For A Rebound Win

When Ohio and Sacramento get together on Sunday at Memorial Park in Obetz both will be looking to get back in the win column following defeats. For Ohio that most recent defeat came on a last minute try by Charlie Purdon to give San Diego the victory. For Sacramento that loss was to a now 5-0 Denver team. Despite the fact that both teams are coming off losses they are in different positions. Ohio may have lost last week but they are 2-2 on the year and have looked like one of the best teams. Sacramento won their first match but have now slumped to three straight defeats, including one to Ohio a few weeks back in week four.

In their first meeting of the year Ohio were dominant for most of the match. Sacramento did have some chances but it was Ohio that used their strength at the breakdown and their willingness to counterattack quickly that saw them grab tries from four different players, including a brace from Mason Baum. That said, in just the two weeks since the meeting each team has undergone changes. John Quill and JP Eloff will be missing for their teams respectively while each has also added a few reinforcements. On paper this is a Ohio win but as the young PRO Rugby season has proved anything can happen.

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As mentioned injuries and some player shifts are going to change the complexity of this match. For Ohio it's the loss to Eloff to a leg fracture that has their back line scrambled. Baum, who has been impressive on the wing so far this year, will get the nod at fly-half. It was thought that with Shaun Davies returning from injury to his starting scrumhalf role that it might push Robbie Shaw or Roland Suniula into the fly-half spot. Instead it's Baum who will have to come in and make things happen. Shaw is interesting pushed to the wing while Suniula stays in the centers.

The return of Davies is going to be important for Ohio. Last week against San Diego when Eloff went down the team lacked a go-to kicker. This week with Davies they have a player they can be confident in to pick up points. Additionally, they seemed rattled a bit when they had to do shifting against Ohio but knowing where they are going to play this week and having the steady hand of Davies back should calm things down.

Losing Quill to injury is going to be a blow to Sacramento. Quill has been outstanding for them this year not only in his play but in his captaining abilities. Sacramento have opted to fill Quill's void by moving Robert Meeson to flanker and putting Matt Doubek at lock.

Sacramento have a strength in their front-row of Val Lee-Lo, Ray Barkwill, and Ollie Kilifi. That said, they are going up against what is some of their toughest competition of the year in Jamie Mackintosh, Dyland Fawsitt, and Angus MacLellan. Both front-rows have been impressive this year and whoever wins this battle is going to come out ahead. A few weeks ago it was Ohio that got the better of the battle leading to the win.

In the battle of the backs Sacramento have players that can get out an run but they also have several young players that make mistakes at times. Ohio have more veteran players but with the shifting they may be more prone to mistakes.

In terms of stakes, the pressure is squarely on Sacramento to pick up a result. Since their opening week win against Sacramento they have struggled to find their footing. While they have played well at times they still have some players adjusting to playing at this level. For Ohio they may not have as much pressure but there still is pressure. The season is only 12 weeks long and if they drop another match and fall below .500 it's going to be very hard to catch Denver.

The match is set for 3:00 p.m. et/12:00 p.m. pt and can be seen live on and One World Sports.


Forwards: Jamie Mackintosh, Dylan Fawsitt, Angus MacLellan, Pierce Dargan, Dominic Pezzutti, Filippo Ferrarini, Matt Hughston, Sebastian Kalm

Backs: Shaun Davies, Mason Baum, Robbie Shaw, Roland Suniula, Ryan Cochran, Spike Davis, Allan Hanson

Bench: Derrek Van Klein, Demecus Beach, Chad Joseph, Alex Elkins, Ahmad Harajly, Shawn Riley, Chris Kunkel, Chris Schade


Forwards: Val Lee-Lo, Ray Barkwill, Ollie Kilifi, Matt Doubek, Sione Sina, Robert Meeson, Kyle Sumsion, Sione Latu

Backs: Chris Saint, Alipate Takiveikata, Jojo Tikoisuva, Nemia Qoro, Mirco Bergamasco, Ryan Thompson, Garrett Brewer

Bench: Cam Falcon, Toke Kefu, Kali Tavake, Rich Knight, Estephan Tuimasanga, Shane Moore, Jope Motokana, Ryan Koewler

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