Thrilling Day of Rugby at Emirates Club Championships

Thrilling Day of Rugby at Emirates Club Championships

  • NOLA tops Tucson
  • Philly Whitemarsh completes amazing comeback
  • Rocky Gorge holds on in lightning delay game
  • Wisconsin takes win at the death
  • Belmont and Glendale cruise 


GLENDALE, Colo. - A heroic comeback and some last second heroics were the highlights on day one of the Emirates Airline USA Rugby Men's DI, II, and III Club Championships.


As the temperature rose early on the DIII Semi Finals, The Tucson Magpies squared off against New Orleans for the first match of the day.  NOLA wing Andrew Barlow was dangerous all day long with three tries to his name.


Tucson's Nick Whitrow would get on the board first however with a penalty kick in the 10th min. Andrew Quackenbos (best name in American rugby?) answered back for NOLA with a penalty at 20 minutes. Tucson wouldn't see the try zone again until the 79th minute, as NOLA would establish their dominance.


Barlow would touch down in the 27th and again in the 29th minutes giving NOLA the 15-3 lead at the half. Barlow again would hit pay dirt with his third try just seven minutes into the second stanza, and it was all down hill from there for NOLA. Tony Breaux would score and NOLA would add a penalty try before full time, and NOLA would go on to win 36-8 to advance to the Championship Match.


New Orleans won last year's DII National Championship, and was then promoted to DI where they had a very successful year. The NOLA team playing tomorrow is the their second side, an encouraging sign of strength for the club.


The temperature was continuing to rise in Glendale for the next DIII Semi. The South Bay Rhinos looked like their size and power would be the deciding factor for the team from SoCal, but Philly Whitemarsh had other ideas.


It was 21-5 Rhinos at the half, and South Bay looked in control. The heat and elevation would very visibly take its toll however, and the Rhino's would start to wilt. Philly's fitness would start to show, and #13 James Rosato would take control of the match to lead an unprecedented comeback.


Rosato's 20-point haul would spark Philly to come from behind and go on to win the match 50-26.  Tackling in the backs became a major issue for South Bay, and Fullback Jub Tuivaiave would be hung out to dry several times as the Philly attack became relentless.


Philly Whitemarsh will play New Orleans in what looks like a #heckofaballgame tomorrow at 11am MDT. You can watch that match LIVE on USA Rugby's Ustream Channel.


The opening match in DII between Santa Rosa and Rocky Gorge would only be about 20 minutes old when the weather in Glendale would take a turn for the worse and lightning forced everyone off the field. Before the storm, Rocky Gorge got on the board first, with Andrew Kendall, but Santa Rosa would answer right back with a converted try, and would take the 7-5 lead into the weather delay.


Players would be off the field for at least an hour before getting back to the action. The stop/start would take its toll on the players when they returned to the field, and the rain would make handling difficult for the remaining time.


After exchanging some penalty kicks, Anthony Kendall would score a try in the 66th minute to seal the deal for Rocky Gorge, and bring his personal haul for the day to 20 points. Final Score: Rocky Gorge 25, Santa Rosa 17.


By the time Wisconsin and the San Diego Old Aztecs kicked off in the other DII Semi Final, the storm had cleared and the temperature was perfect for hard, running rugby, which would turn out to be one for the ages.


Wisconsin jumped out to the early lead with two penalty kicks for Miles Jobke. San Diego organized their attack and in the 15th minute, Daylon Teel dotted down, followed by a penalty and another try by Aaron Montoya. Wisconsin's D held tough though, and they were able to mount an attack before half time and go into the break tied at 13.


In the second half, San Diego jumped out to the five-point lead with a try from Micah Kropp in the 46th minute. Wisconsin pulled ahead 20 minutes later with a converted try from Sean Cullen. Time was ticking down, and San Diego knew it. With one minute left Jarrod Faul sliced a drop goal to put San Diego up 21-20, and the sizable crowd started to celebrate an Old Aztec victory.


As injury time clicked away, Wisconsin mounted a ferocious comeback. Phase after phase was built up, and finally in the 83rd minute, #5 James Delmedico pounced over for the game-winning try. Final score: Wisconsin 25, San Diego 21.


Wisconsin will face Rocky Gorge (MD) tomorrow at 1:30pm MDT for the Emirates Airline USA Rugby DII Men's Club Championship. You can watch that match LIVE on USA Rugby's Ustream Channel.


The action moved inside the stadium at Infinity Park for the DI Semi Finals. Play from all four teams was fast and hard but at the end of the day, the score-lines followed the form guide.


Perennial contenders Belmont Shore had their way with a hard tackling Metropolis side. The game seemed closer than the score would suggest, but Belmont slipped tackles for tries, and Kameron Moeller was spot on with his kicking.


In the first half, Ian Carpenter pounded in for a great try to put Shore up 8-0. Metropolis got on the board next with a Louis Joubert penalty. It would be the last time they would see the scoreboard in the match. Joubert would have ample shots at goal, but could only connect on the one.


Pate Uiagalelei, the big Belmont #11 with serious pace, lumbered in for two tries in a two-minute time span to give Belmont breathing room headed into halftime. After the break, it was all Shore with reserve Hayden Pitts finishing a well supported try, and #2 Zack Fenoglio breaking tackles and rumbling 40 meters for an excellent individual effort. Final score: Belmont 37, Metropolis 3.


Belmont will have to be at their hands full tomorrow in the Championship Match where they will face a hometown Glendale side that looked extremely dangerous in their Semi Final against a strong Palmer side.


Palmer was solid in defense all day, but the tactical kicking and creativity of Nese Malifa and James Patterson would be the deciding factor.


Patterson would get on the board first after gathering in a superb grubber kick from Malifa in traffic and outpacing all defenders along the touchline to turn the corner and score under the posts. The kick would miss, but Glendale was out to an 8-0 lead after 10 minutes.


More fireworks would fly for Glendale in the 59th minute when Scrumhalf Daryl Furlong picked the ball at the base of a ruck, gave the defender the 'ol show 'n go, and raced 50 meters for the try. On the ensuing kickoff, Malifa changed direction of his kick at the last second, placed it right in the hands of Max Statler who was in full stride and kept the pace all the way to the try-line. Two tries in the span of two minutes for Glendale, and that would seal the deal for the Raptors.


Palmer would get a well-earned try when #10 Chad London finished a strong run. London was a force to be reconed with all day for Palmer and was one of the few attackers who could find their way past the Glendale defense. It was too little too late however, as Glendale would finish with the 34-10 win.


Glendale and Belmont Shore will meet tomorrow for the DI National Championship at 4pm.


You can also watch that match LIVE on USA Rugby's Ustream Channel.


To see some great action photos from both days of the event, be sure to "like" USA Rugby's Facebook Fan Page