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Lions pack down with Bulldogs. Aaron Frederick photo

Week 5 of the NorCal DI brought Santa Rosa and Sacramento their second victories, and the EPA Razorbacks pushed their winning streak to five games via forfeit. Santa Rosa (2-2) exploded in the second half to beat the San Jose Seahawks (1-3), 39-15, and the Sacramento Lions (2-2) shut out the EPA Bulldogs (3-2) in the second half to win, 29-12. SFGG (2-2) forfeited their match against the EPA Razorbacks (5-0) due to extensive injuries on their squad. Fresno (1-3) was idle this week.

Combined with the win last week against Fresno, Santa Rosa is riding a two game winning streak after beating hosting San Jose, 39-15. After a tight first half where each team traded tries to a 10-10 tie, Santa Rosa busted loose with five tries on the way to the win.

Flanker Alex Cunha landed the first blow for Santa Rosa in the third minute followed by lock Craig Kisylia tying it up for the Seahawks eight minutes later. Santa Rosa wing Thomas Robles was next to dot the ball down and hooker Kevin Martin tied it again at 10 for San Jose as the half ended.

Santa Rosa came out firing in the second half with tries by prop Justin Stine, flyhalf Justin Hildebrand, and inside Ratu Rabelo in first 20 minutes to lead 25-10. Fullback Joseph Matavao added a try for the Seahawks, but Santa Rosa shut the door on any comeback with back-to-back tries in the last five minutes by wing Eric Williams and a second try by Robles. Williams and Stine connected on the final two conversions to win 39-15.

On his team’s success in the last two games, Santa Rosa head coach Rick Humm said, “The experience is a little better when you are winning than when you are not. That’s good news for the club. We haven’t put it together yet. We’re hoping that there’s a little momentum from this that allows us to put some combinations together and begin to gel as a team. We just haven’t done that yet.”

“It was 10-10 at half and then 60 minutes in, we basically let the floodgates open,” San Jose head coach Pat Guire. “They have a very organized team and they play like a team that’s played together for a long time. They have a pretty good pack, they’re fit. They hit and contest all the rucks. They took it to us in the last 25-30 minutes. They put in 17-18 points and we just never recovered.”

The Sacramento Lions travelled to the EPA Bulldogs this past weekend searching for the second win. The second place Bulldogs wanted to keep pace with the division leading Razorbacks and for the first 20 minutes of the match, were leading 12-0. The Lions had other plans scoring five unanswered tries en route to a 29-12 win.

The Bulldogs scored two tries with one conversion in the 9th and 18th minutes for the early 12-0 lead. Flyhalf Viliami Finau started the scoring for the Lions in the 26th minute and scrumhalf Baleisuva Peni connected on the conversion. As time expired in the first half, the Bulldogs led by five points, 12-7.

The Bulldogs advantage would not stand for long as Finau scored his second try in the 50th minute and with Peni’s kick, Sacramento led 14-12. The Lions would dot the ball down three more times in the last 25 minutes by reserve Siaosi Heleta scoring twice and Peni recording the last try for the 29-12 victory.

“In the first half, they didn’t put things together and they didn’t stick to the game plan,” Sacramento head coach Isereimi Tawake said. “In the last 20 minutes, they managed to put things together and that resulted in three tries.” During half time, Tawake said, “I told the guys the importance of playing 80 minutes of rugby. They were given a game plan to go out there and stick to that.”