Saturday, May 14, 2016

Unbeaten Denver Heads To Sacramento

Through three matches Denver look like the team to beat in PRO Rugby. They are the only unbeaten side and they have key victories over both Ohio and San Diego. Relying on a lot of players that have played club rugby together either with the Glendale Raptors, Denver Barbarians, or the Denver All-Star 7s, Denver has showed good continuity early. But it's not just the continuity that has given them success, mainly it's been their defensive effort as well as their rugby IQ. Perhaps more than any other team in the competition so far, and remember it's early, Denver have been able to punish their opponents when they make mistakes. No matter what level you play at that is the difference between teams that succeed and those that don't.

After an opening weekend win against San Francisco Sacramento are still searching for another reward. They played well against San Diego but let themselves down with knock-ons and simple errors. Disappointingly for the coaching staff many of those same mistakes were evident last weekend against Ohio. The good thing for Sacramento so far is that they have done a lot of things well. They are good in the scrum and their engine room of Robert Meeson, Sione Sina, Kyle Sumsion, John Quill, Langilangi Haupeakui is one of the best in the league. 

Take the jump to read more.Without question Denver are the favorites heading into the match but don't think that means they are going to win by a blowout. Denver have had to do a lot of travel on the young season so far, including an early morning flight to get to Sacramento. Plus, many of their players have been traveling with their PRP clubs this year as well. Fatigue is a real issue. 

That said, they are so solid down the line. Even though the team will be missing players like Zach Fenoglio, Mose Timoteo, Martin Knoetze, and Peter Dahl to the PRP final today they have plenty of depth. The team has compensated for the loss of Dahl by bringing in Hanco Germishuys, the standout from the Junior World Rugby Trophy. Gannon Moore also is set to bring power. Chris Baumann is also back healthy and is going to be a major contributor to the front row. In the backs the team is coming into fine form. Both Niku Kruger and Will Magie are playing well and now with Timana Tahu having been with the club a few weeks he should be more effective. Even on the bench the team will have the likes of Brodie Orth and Michael Al-Jiboori available. 

Sacrmaneto may not have as much depth as Denver at the moment but they have plenty of strong players. In particular the forwards are going to be a challenge. The match-up between the Denver front-row and the front-row of Val Lee-Lo, Ray Barkwill, and Ollie Kilifi could be the match-up of the season. Throw in Sumsion, Quill, and Haupeakui against Moore, Germishuys, and Wannenburg and we are starting to have fun. 

With both teams having strong forward packs we think that this match is going to be won in the backs. That's where Denver may have an edge. Mirco Bergamasco has been outstanding for Sacramento and Garrett Brewer has provided strong moments at times. Chris Saint has also been the answer at scrumhalf. However, Sacramento miss the playmaking ability of the injured Harry Bennett and they have some young players that are still getting a feel for playing at this level. 

We think this match will be close but it's hard picking against Denver. Where Sacramento may have success is picking up points wherever possible through the boot of Mirco Bergamasco. If the game is dominated by defense (which probably won't be the case) the experience of Bergamasco could shine through and put more pressure on Magie. However, Magie has showed himself fully capable of making big kicks himself. 

The match is set for 3:00 p.m. PT at Bonney Field. 


Forwards: Ben Tarr, Nick Wallace, Chris Baumann, Logan Collins, Christian Wiessing, Gannon Moore, Hanco Germishuys, Pedrie Wannenburg

Backs: Niku Kruger, Will Magie, Timana Tahu, Ata Malifa, Chad London, Mike Garrity, Max De Achaval

Bench: Luke White, Jake Turnbull, Soane Leger, Brodie Orth, Brian Wanless, Justin Pauga, Michael Al-Jiboori, Bobby Impson

Forwards: Val Lee-Lo, Ray Barkwill, Ollie Kilifi, Robert Meeson, Sione Sina, Kyle Sumsion, John Quill, Langilangi Haupeakui

Backs: Chris Saint, Alipate Takeiveikata, Jojo Tikoisuva, Mirco Bergamasco, Nemia Qoro, Shane Moore, Garrett Brewer

Bench: Matt Doubek, Toke Kefu, Kali Tavake, Sione Latu, Estephan Tuimasanga, Ronald Dwyer, Ryan Thompson, Ryan Koewler

1 comment:

  1. Bonney Field has shown excellent broadcasting features in past - this is disappointing the match will not be streamed for fans to enjoy