Rugby ATL miss out on capital glory but still come away with two vital bonus points
Washington, DC (Sunday, March 8th). While Rugby ATL missed out on a come from behind win against Old Glory DC, losing 31-29, they did manage to secure two vital bonus points from the nail-biting encounter at Cardinal Stadium. Scoring went back and forth between the two Eastern Conference rivals with the result hanging in the balance through to the final whistle.
The match began at a torrid pace. Rugby ATL won a penalty at the first scrum and kicked to the corner. The lineout drive was similarly dominant, and when Danny Tusitala came in at the side the referee awarded a penalty try and sent the Old Glory scrumhalf to the sin bin with just four minutes on the clock.
Jason Robertson replied with a penalty goal for Old Glory DC, but just a minute later Rugby ATL were in for a second try. Old Glory bobbled the restart and #13 Jeremy Misailegalu was quickest to pounce. He was stopped by a desperate Robertson tackle but #11 Harley Davidson was on hand to take the offload in for the score. #10 Kurt Coleman’s conversion went straight down the middle.
Another Robertson penalty followed, and then a second just ahead of the hydration break. Coleman notched one of his own when the two teams returned to the pitch as Rugby ATL took a 17-9 lead. It wouldn’t hold as Old Glory exploded with two tries before halftime.
A spilled ball distracted Rugby ATL’s defense just long enough for Tevita Naqali to scoop and drive through a hole. Quick ball from the ruck went wide right to a wide-open Dylan Taikato-Simpson to touch down.
Doug Fraser’s barging run down the left side sparked the second try. Again the ball was recycled quickly and Robertson flung the ball wide to Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz. The big No 8 bumped off one and crashed ahead, and two passes later Declan O’Donnell was blasting through under the posts. Robertson tacked on the extras as the home side took a four-point lead into the break.
Rugby ATL re-took the lead just after the restart. DC’s discipline broke down and Coleman kicked to the corner. The lineout drive was executed to perfection and #2 Alex Maughan took the credit for the try. Two more points from Coleman’s boot nudged the visitors ahead by three.
An obstruction penalty while on attack cost Rugby ATL dearly. Old Glory won their lineout and after two quick hit-ups, Taikato-Simpson wrapped around on a set play to break the line. He connected with Renata Roberts-Te Nana, with Tusitala following up on the inside to take the final pass in for seven points.
Robertson landed his fourth penalty to extend the lead but the game was far from over yet. Rugby ATL won a penalty and in need of a converted try opted for the corner. As it had earlier, the maul was successful with Maughan again getting the plaudits. Coleman’s conversion attempt from a difficult angle was wide of the mark, however, and it left Rugby ATL two points adrift.
#23 Bill Fukofuka was shown yellow for a dangerous tackle at the 75th-minute mark, and Robertson had a chance for three but his radar was also off target. Rugby ATL regathered and began to inch their way into scoring position. With time expired they retained possession but a penalty for incorrect entry at the ruck went against them, and Robertson thumped the ball into touch to bring the game to a close.
“Credit to Old Glory on taking home a tight contest. Some real key moments in the game where we could have pressed the score. We’ll continue to work on converting those opportunities into points,” said Head Coach and General Manager, Scott Lawrence.
Rugby ATL will enjoy a bye week to recuperate before returning to action on Sunday, March 22, at home against the New England Free Jacks.
Tickets for this “First Responder” dedicated event can be purchased at RugbyATl.Rugby/Tickets
Tries – D. Taikato-Simpson (35’), D. O’Connell (40’), D. Tusitala (58’)
Cons – J. Robertson 2/3 (40’, 59’)
Pens – J. Robertson 4/6 (8’, 13’, 21’, 69’)
Yellow cards – D. Tusitala (4’)
Tries – Penalty try (4’), H. Davidson (9’), A. Maughan 2 (48’, 72’)
Cons – K. Coleman 2/3 (10’, 49’)
Pens – K. Coleman 1/1 (25’)
Yellow cards – B. Fukofuka (75’)
OLD GLORY DC
1 Jake Turnbull, 2 Mike Sosene-Feagai, 3 Will Vakalahi (18 Gordon Fullerton 28’), 4 Tevita Naqali, 5 Dylan Pieterse, 6 Travis Larsen (20 Matt Hughston 60’), 7 Mungo Mason (co-capt.), 8 Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz (19 Josh Brown 60’), 9 Danny Tusitala, 10 Jason Robertson, 11 Doug Fraser (23 Renata Roberts-Te Nana 44’), 12 Ciaran Hearn, 13 Thretton Palamo (co-capt.), 14 Declan O’Donnell, 15 Dylan Taikato-Simpson
Not used: 16 Mo Katz, 17 Max Lum, 21 Michael Reid, 22 Mike Dabulas
1 Chance Wenglewski (17 Jamie Ferrante 64’), 2 Alex Maughan, 3 Duane Aholelei (18 Cronan Gleeson 51’), 4 Johan Momsen, 5 Stefan Willemse (19 Conor Keys 51’), 6 Vili Helu (23 Bill Fukofuka 46’), 7 Matt Heaton (co-capt.), 8 Ross Deacon (20 Jason Damm 61’), 9 Duncan van Schalkwyk, 10 Kurt Coleman, 11 Harley Davidson, 12 Ryan Nell (co-capt.) (22 Sean Coughlan HT), 13 Jeremy Misailegalu, 14 Zander van Schalkwyk, 15 Martini Talapusi
Not used: 16 Amro Gouda, 21 Kurtis Werner
Referee: Derek Summers (USA)
Assistants: Mike O’Brien (USA) & Stu Geiger (USA)
Story Credit: Americasrugbynews.com
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