Denver remains unbeaten, Ohio impresses in home debut

LAFAYETTE, Colo. - Denver won the battle of the unbeaten teams in San Diego, and Ohio broke ground in Obetz with an impressive 51-17 win over San Francisco in PRO Rugby's third week of action.

Ohio showed little rust after its Week 2 bye, and used a confident and accurate attack to dominate possession and race out to a 19-0 lead. The home team displayed plenty of continuity when scoring its first three tries, including the Sebastian Kalm's, which was created by a well-timed interchange between the Chilean eight man, Eagles Sevens' Ahmad Harajly and Zac Mizell.

Volney Rouse, showing off his versatility by starting at three different positions in each of PRO's first three weeks, put San Francisco on the board with a penalty kick, but Ohio's Shaun Davies answered right back with his own three-pointer.

Kalm scored his second off a quick tap from San Francisco's five-meter line to bring Ohio's lead to 27-3 with less than five minutes remaining in the second half. Off the restart, the visitors were rewarded for running out of its own 22-meter line. San Francisco quickly drove the ball into Ohio territory, and ended the half with a Sam Finau try.

Entering the second period leading by 17 points, Ohio refused to slow down in the final forty minutes. Flanker Filippo Ferrarini was awarded the half's first try when he was discovered underneath an Ohio maul that drove over the line from five meters away. Soon after, Spike Davis plunged over thanks to a precise feed by 12-time capped scrum half Robbie Shaw.

San Francisco's Orene Ai'I showed off the fancy footwork that made him a star in the New Zealand Sevens setup when he dotted down with only five minutes remaining.

The match was well in-hand for Ohio, leading 37-17, but fly half JP Eloff wasn't done. Eloff, one of four players from Davenport University on the team, left San Francisco scratching their heads when he stepped his way to two late scores - surely leaving the fans anxiously waiting Ohio's next home game on May 22.

San Diego had the luxury of staying home after it debuted with a Week 2 win in Southern California, but still had to contend with the only 2-0 squad - Denver.

Tongan international Kurt Morath continued his solid form and slotted two first half penalties for San Diego, but it was Denver that led at halftime thanks to a try by 2015 Rugby World Cup hooker Zach Fenoglio and successful conversion and penalty kicks off the boot of Will Magie.

Following a quiet first half, Eagle center Chad London made his presence felt in the second frame. First, the Glendale Raptor man made a sleek one-handed offload that would eventually lead to a Niku Kruger try.

Nursing a 15-9 advantage, London extended Denver's lead when Raptor teammate and Denver winger Martin Knoetze tapped back Magie's perfectly-placed cross-kick into the hulking center's arms, who had nothing left to do but fall over the endline for a try.

San Diego made a game of it by showing off the backline skills that earned it a win against Sacramento. Full back Mike Te'o sliced through the defense and crossed the try line before distributing to Canadian international Phil Mackenzie for a friendlier conversion angle. However, Denver refused to budge defensively in the closing minutes and produced a 22-16 victory to move to 3-0 and drop San Diego to 1-1.

PRO Rugby's Week 4 will be a Golden State doubleheader on May 8 when Sacramento returns to the pitch to host surging Ohio side, and San Francisco looks for its first win versus San Diego. Fans in Northern California can find tickets to Sacramento's Bonney Field here, and tickets to Boxer Stadium in San Francisco can be purchased here.