Tuesday, July 31, 2018

USARL Recap: Regular Season Ends, Playoffs Begin

By Elie Mpovie

It’s now time to play finals footy in the National Premiership of the USA Rugby League, the minor premiership has been decided and the North kicked off the finals series.

But first, a quick recap of the last day of the regular season in the south, before I start recapping the Northern Conference playoffs.

So mentioned in other articles, Jacksonville needed to win, and needed to win in impressive fashion in order to secure the minor premiership or at least a share of it with Brooklyn. The Axemen had to take on the defending champions in the Rhinos of Atlanta who also needed a win in order to get the second seed and a home game in Southern Conference playoffs. In convincing fashion the Axemen cruised to a massive 40 point win at home. Tries for Jacksonville were scored by David Washington (2), Lachlan Bristow (3), Kevin Wathen, Jon Purnell and Jed Pearce. Atlanta’s only try came from Joshua Jackson in second half.. Jacksonville’s defense and forward pack managed to put Atlanta in a headlock causing many offensive errors and plenty of unnecessary penalties. Full Time: Jacksonville 46, Atlanta 6. With this victory Jacksonville would win the Minor Premiership on points difference. ( JAX: +244, BRL: +176)

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Current USA Hawks and Axemen manager had this to say after the match as he clearly pleased with team’s defensive efforts, “We set the tone in defense and we had control. We had the numbers in there. They did score one try but I’m happy with what we did.”

On to the next match, as Tampa Bay took on the Copperheads both who have qualified for finals as well. But it was the Copperheads who turned in their best performance of their inaugural season. Tries for them came from, Jay Mumbo with two, while Jean Fortin, Timothy Ashum, Jade Kermundu and Heiko Dannenmann all pitched in with singles. For Tampa they’d score seven with four coming from Justin Branca. Full Time, Tampa 40, Copperheads 32.

Here’s what the Copperheads founder said about this, “We committed far fewer penalties than we have all season which kept us in this game. We also did a better job of making the opposition play through a full set of six and finish with a kick. In previous weeks, and periodically this weekend, we committed penalty upon penalty and gave them a short field to score on us, which has led to our large points differential this season. Our new club’s education will go on the road this final week to our first-round playoff game against the Jacksonville Axemen.” Jacksonville will host Copperheads and Atlanta will host Tampa this upcoming weekend.

Now in the North where finals footy has already kicked off, fans got to saw no surprises as White Plains ran past Delaware 52-12. Tries for White Plains were scored by Thomas Stevenson (2), CJ Cortalano (2), Jaime Abbas (2), George Reis, Brock Duncan and Pat Walpole, but shockingly it was the New York Knights who needed a try and conversion at the siren to beat a struggling Boston 13’s 24-22.

This weekend will have an all New York semi final as Brooklyn will host the Knights and White Plains will battle the Fight in Philly.

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