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Glendale continues to dominate the PRP, winning 35-17 over local rival Denver. OMBAC is right on its tail, however, beating Belmont Shore 36-14 and remaining only a game behind the defending champions.
OMBAC is playing incredibly well of late, holding off a second half surge from SFGG last week and beating Belmont Shore convincingly this week. After getting thumped by the Raptors, OMBAC has righted the ship.
“It is huge for us. I think we needed it more than anything… We corrected a lot of things after that game and are in a good position now. I think what we learned from last year is to stop thinking about Gate and Glendale and just focus on each week at a time,” OMBAC captain Ian Denham said after the win over SFGG.
The San Diego side jumped out to a 21-0 first half lead before Belmont got on the board to make it 21-7. Nicholas Batger, who scored the third OMBAC try, added his second early in the second half, quelling any chance for a Belmont comeback. The teams traded scores at the end of the match and the game ended 36-14.
Denver gave Glendale all it could handle at Infinity Park Saturday. The Raptors scored three late tries to pull away from the Barbarians.
“We knew that whenever we play against Denver, it is always a tough and physical game because it is a local derby and bragging rights,” said Glendale coach Andre Snyman. “It was really a tough game in the first couple of minutes and it took us about 65 to 70 minutes before we could actually dominate our pattern.”
Dustin Croy opened the scoring for Glendale with an unconverted try. Martin Knoetze found pay dirt for his league leading 11th try right before halftime to extend Glendale’s lead to 12-0 at half time.
Denver struck back four minutes into the second half. Kevon Williams broke through the line sending the Raptor defense scrambling before finding Michael Al-Jiboori. Al-Jiboori offloaded to Celester Asuega, who was able to fend off a defender for the score.
After an Armandt Peens penalty, Ben Pinkleman, who came off a couple of stellar weeks with the Eagle 7s, found Max De Achaval off a scrum to cut the lead to 15-12. Minutes later, Pinkelman found himself in the middle of the action once again, drew a number of defenders and offloaded to Williams for a 17-15 lead. With a quarter of the game remaining, Denver led.
The Raptors took over the game in the final 20 minutes, however, scoring three tries in quick succession to earn the bonus point victory. Justin Pauga tallied two tries and Zach Fenoglio added another.
Glendale moves to 6-0 with the win and remains atop the standings. OMBAC sits at 5-1 and SFGG is right behind at 4-2. The two spots in the final are up for grabs and with the uncertainty of Pro Rugby raiding PRP rosters, anything is possible.
Glendale could lose anywhere from 3 to 10 players a weekend. The Raptors will lose Niku Kruger, Chad London and Hanco Germishuys to full time contracts with the Denver pro team. The team also has a number of part time players that can be pulled into match day rosters affecting the PRP matches. SFGG will only lose one player and OMBAC will lose a couple.
“Moving forward, with the pro league and we losing players and OMBAC is on the hunt at the moment…..They are doing really well at the moment, playing on a high,” added Snyman. “The potential is there to play against OMBAC in the final. The potential is there to play SFGG and the potential is there that we might get knocked out and it might be SFGG and OMBAC. It is a three way swing up at the top and anything can happen.”