It’s all settled in the Super League with one week (and an extra game) to go.
In the East, Life beat Old Blue 34-14 in New York, while Boston handled the Chicago Griffins 34-27, holding off a stirring comeback. And the Chicago Lions edged NYAC.
It was rotten weather all over the East, making for some sloppy games. Ugliest was certainly the Lions over NYAC. NYAC got a try from Paul Jesseman and a conversion and a penalty from Tim Le Nevez, while the Lions scored through a rolling paul and a series of pick-and-jams.
“Lots of dropped balls,” lamented Lions Head Coach Marty Wiggins. “It wasn’t a well-played game, and the conditions meant we had to keep it tight. But you can’t pick-and-jam from 80 meters. In the end, we won, but that’s all I can say.”
The Lions needed a bonus point to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot, but didn’t get it. And the reason for that was Boston got a bonus point in their defeat of the Griffins. The Bostonians ran out to a 29-3 halftime lead with the wind at their backs. Prop forward Tony Purpura was outstanding, scrumming well, defending well, and scoring two tries.
“But tactically we weren’t smart going into the wind,” said Boston Head Coach Mike Diamantopoulos. “We lost our flyhalf to a blood sub and we didn’t respond well.”
The Griffins stormed back and put the result in doubt, causing plenty of tension in the final moments. But Boston held on in a match also notable because brothers Andrew Suniula (Chicago) and Roland Suniula (Boston) played against each other.
With the win, Boston has guaranteed a playoff spot, and will take on Life in the semifinals in three weeks. They also play Life next week in a regular league game, which will decide who hosts the playoff contest.
Life won 34-14 against Old Blue.
“Any time you go on the road, play in these rough weather conditions, and come away with a bonus-point victory is a good day,” said Life Director of Rugby Dan Payne.
Pat Danahy logged his best game for Life and scored two tries, while Steve Petzel added one and Aaron McMaster scored a try, four conversions and two penalties for 19 points.
With one week to go, the Lions could catch Boston in points, but Boston has the tiebreaker, and has therefore clinched a spot in the semis.
In the West, SFGG won a contentious game 49-29 over Utah to improve to 5-0. Utah drops to 2-3 and slips behind Denver as the Barbarians won big against Dallas.
Idle OPSB remains in 2nd, and they play Utah for a game where the winner makes the semis against SFGG. OPSB can make the playoffs if they tie.