Paced by two tries from Dewon Reed and a superb kicking effort from scrumhalf Shaun Davies, the Glendale Raptors kept their Elite Cup playoff hopes alive with a 49-39 defeat of Old Puget Sound Beach Saturday night at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo.
The teams battled all night, and it was not until late in the game that Glendale had a comfortable lead.
OPSB punished sloppy defense during the first half to come back and make it 21-20 for Glendale at halftime.
“We started out really well,” said Glendale Head Coach Andre Snyman. “the first 20 minutes we were playing to the pattern and played with a lot of adrenaline. But after that, we started falling off tackles and letting in some soft tries.”
In the second period, Glendale slowly started to separate.
“We had a good chat at halftime and the guys really committed themselves to playing the pattern we had set out to play,” said Snyman. “When we did, we scored tries or at least got well into their half. When we got away from that, they punished us. OPSB has some very good players and surprised us with how well they offloaded out of the tackle.”
Led by No. 8 Nic Johnson, captain and hooker Zach Fenoglio, and flyhalf Ata Malifa, the Raptors improved to 1-1.
“I am really proud of the guys,” Fenoglio told RUGBYMag.com. “OPSB has some big boys but our guys were up to the task. And Shaun Davies just did a great job with the kicking. We are now in a position to make the semifinal, and we’re excited.”
With the bonus-point win, Glendale has six points in the standings, as do the Denver Barbarians, who lost 29-23 to SFGG Saturday. OPSB drops to 0-2, but is not out of it.
If OPSB beats Denver and earns a bonus point, and if Glendale loses without a bonus point, then OPSB can finish 2nd and make the semis. Denver can make the semis if they win and Glendale loses, ties, or wins with the same number of bonus points as Denver.
Glendale pretty much needs to win against SFGG, and if they do, they can even snatch 1st from the Bay Area club. But if they lose, the Raptors can still win if OPSB beats Denver.