Sunday, May 15, 2016

San Diego Stun Ohio With Last Minute Try

Needing a try with a minute to go in the match San Diego went the length of the pitch where replacement scrumhalf Charlie Purdon score to give his side a dramatic 24-20 win over Ohio. The try capped off a late flurry to the match in which both teams had opportunities to score. With both sides even in the standings heading into the match San Diego have now separated themselves from Ohio and have done their best to try and keep pace with Denver who beat Sacramento earlier in the day.

The first half didn't see the flowing play we expected from both teams. Instead it ended up being a war of attrition with injuries and errors causing play to slow down for long stretches. The biggest highlight early was a big hit from Taku Ngwenya on fellow Eagle Robbie Shaw.

The first opportunity for points came in the 10th minute when Kurt Morath connected on a penalty. His kicking ability has been a big asset for San Diego this year and it was evident early on. However, Ohio responded right away. From a lineout in the San Diego end they used their maul to perfection as they pushed their way toward the line. When the maul broke up it took only a few phases before former All Black Jamie Mackintosh crashed over. Eloff would hit the conversion and Ohio would hold a 7-3 lead with 11 minutes played.

Take the jump to read more.
In keeping with the expectations of the match before it started San Diego would score soon after. They eventually earned a lineout and from that saw Sione Tuihalamaka score. Morath would add the extras and San Diego led 10-7. They nearly had a second when Joe Taufete'e ,who was seeing his first significant action for San Diego this year, did very well to poach the ball but Tuihalamaka spilled it at the line.

Then the injuries started piling up. JP Eloff went off for Ohio with a serious ankle injury and lock Kyle Baillie was also forced to come out. With Allan Hanson and Demecus Beach coming in it caused several players to shift position. That took a lot of the bite out of the Ohio attack for awhile. Each team had their opportunities but neither was able to take advantage until Shaw, who took over the kicking duties from Eloff, hit a penalty to sent the match into the break at 10-0.

What was a bright start for San Diego to the second half was neutralized when Purdon was sent to the bin. Ohio did earn a couple of penalty attempts during the ten minute span. Shaw was off on his first attempt but nailed the easy chip kick to put Ohio up 13-10.

As the match began to wear on each team find more of a groove. San Diego was the first to get their mojo when a poach set them out on the attack. Their forwards worked the ball hard and were eventually rewarded when Morath sent a flat pass out to Phil Mackenzie for the score. Morath would connect on the conversion and San Diego led 17-13.

Ohio were not to be left out and they had several opportunities to score. Pressure from the forwards finally did the trick as Sebastian Kalm crashed over. When Shaw would connect on the conversion Ohio would reclaim the lead at 20-17.

With ten minutes to go the pace of the match intensified. Ohio had a penalty attempt with five minutes remaining that would have pushed the match to a converted try apart but the attempt was off. Ohio did well to try and slow down the play with just minutes remaining but a penalty allowed San Diego to kick for a lineout at midfield. From there the backs went to work, especially Taku Ngwenya and Purdon. When Purdon saw that no one was home on the outside he easily beat the defense to score with no time remaining.

San Diego will have next week off while Ohio host Sacramento.

San Diego

Tries: Tuihalamaka, Mackenzie
Conversions: Morath (2)
Penalties: Morath


Tries: Mackintosh, Kalm
Conversions: Eloff, Shaw
Penalties: Shaw

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