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The league is starting to heat up in DI SoCal with OMBAC, Santa Monica and San Diego claiming victories this weekend. OMBAC moves to 3-0 in the campaign and are the early season leaders. The San Diego Old Aztecs also nabbed its first victory in a tight contest with Pasadena.
OMBAC put together a solid 2nd half performance to notch its third victory, a 24-15 win over Downtown Rugby. Mission Beach struggled to maintain its own ball, tallying eight knocks and playing much of the half on defense. Thanks to an excellent effort in the tackle, however, Downtown struggled to translate possession into points.
“With our dominant tackles and the way we kept our defensive shape, defense was not an issue,” OMBAC captain Darren James told Rugby Today.
Despite the sluggish start, OMBAC got on the board first. Off a scrappy play, with possession changing hands several times, OMBAC found a crack in the defense and dove over for a 7-0 lead. James Kearns doubled the lead for OMBAC before the Los Vegas based side struck back with a try.
OMBAC added two more scores and reached its biggest lead of the night with a 24-5 advantage. Downtown mounted a comeback but ultimately it was too little too late as it fell 24-15.
Downtown Rugby player Tom Carter lamented that the team seams to be having the opposite problem from last year. In 2015, the team could not close out games after jumping out to leads and this year it gets out of the gate slow. He mentioned that the team struggled at the breakdown, something that James also iterated.
“We were pretty dominant in the forward pack,” added James. “We just kept going wave after of pick and ruck up the pitch.”
San Diego notched its first win of the season thanks to a strong second half. Pasadena led 11-7 at the break but struggled to keep pace in the second half.
“The first half we played essentially to our game plan,” said Pasadena coach Alex Tanner. “We have been struggling with injuries and the in the second half I think we just ran out of gas.”
The Aztecs scored two quick unconverted tries out of the gate to take a 17-11 lead. Pasadena bounced back after poaching a ball at a ruck with winger Jeremiah Flood sprinting 40 yards for a score. The conversion failed and the game remained 17-16. The Aztecs added a late try and sealed the game with a penalty for a 27-16 victory.
A pair of forwards led the way in the second half for San Diego. Lucas Edwards got over the gain line on numerous occasions, scored a try and earned praises from both teams. Leon Heyward at lock earned man of the match for his efforts.
“In the second half I think out our fitness ultimately won us the game in the end,” said San Diego’s Jaco Breytenbach.
In the final game of the weekend, Santa Monica defeated Los Angeles 31-24.