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Denver ruined San Francisco’s home opener Sunday at Boxer Stadium, winning 35-18 in PRO Rugby’s second week. The home team gained a 13-6 lead in the first half, but Denver scored 29 unanswered points to win the game. The result puts Denver alone in first place at 2-0. Only San Diego, which defeated Sacramento earlier in the day, is also unbeaten.
San Francisco opened with a penalty in the fourth minute. Denver was called for not releasing in a tackle, and Volney Rouse booted through three points. Denver’s Will Magie added a penalty kick in the 14th minute, drawing the game level at 3-3, and he added a penalty at the 22nd minute, putting Denver up 6-3.
The first try came seconds later, when a Denver ruck was undermanned and Rouse picked the ball up and went the other direction. He offloaded to Sam Finau before taking contact, who took it all the way. Rouse’s conversion missed, making it 8-6.
San Francisco rebutted within seconds through wing John O’Hara. Martini Talapusi put him away on the edge, drawing Magie, the last defender, in before dishing to O’Hara. Magie argued that the pass was forward but lost, and San Francisco led 13-6.
Denver answered back via Ata Malifa, who made a probing run but knocked on just five meters out. The Denver scrum pushed the San Francisco pack over, and Pedrie Wannenburg dotted down for the try. The conversion was missed, and Denver trailed by two.
Not for long, though, as the kickoff put the visitors on the offensive. A limping Wannenburg contributed several big runs, the last of which ended in a wraparound offlaod to Logan Collins, who scored the go-ahead try. The conversion was good, putting Denver up 18-13.
The momentum carried over intermission, as Malifa crashed through for a try in the 42nd minute. A five-meter scrum was fed to the inside center, and he found the gap for the score. The conversion missed, Denver led 23-13.
In the 63rd minute, after a belabored drive, Denver hooker Zach Fenoglio bashed over the line for a try. San Francisco was pinged for a scrum penalty, and the ball was worked back quickly to Fenoglio, who went in for the score. Without the conversion, Denver led 28-13.
Denver extended the advantage in the 58th minute, with Collins dotting down again. Denver imposed itself in the scrum, and Collins was able to dive over from five meters out. The extra two made it 35-13.
San Francisco couldn’t get a score on the board early enough, but No. 8 David Tameilau did crash over in the 80th minute to make the score line a little less lopsided.
Tries: Collins (2), Wannenburg, Malifa, Fenoglio
Cons: Magie (2)
Pens: Magie (2)
San Francisco 18
Tries: S. Finau, O'Hara, Tameilau