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Life beat Boston 52-16 Saturday in both clubs’ Elite Cup debuts in Marietta, Ga. The Running Eagles dotted down seven tries, all converted by AJ MacGinty, and one Aza McMaster penalty. Boston slotted three penalties and managed one converted try.

“We were able to get a lot of success first phase off the set piece,” said Life director of rugby Dan Payne. “James Isaacson threw really well off the lineout and Kris Headlee, Tom Katzfey and even Benji Goff at the back did a good job, along with Seth Strauss, at finding the space in the lineouts and we were able to execute off that.”

The game was one of comebacks for the Running Eagles, as wings Cornelius Dirksen and Sean Van Rensburg returned to the field following injuries and Eagle hooker Phil Thiel returned to the pitch for what seems like the first time since the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

“Cornelius had a great first half and it’s nice when you can sub Cornelius out and sub in Sean Van Rensburg as his replacement,” said Payne. “We got some productivity out of both of them.”

Dirksen set up Life’s second try with a line break, and Van Rensburg scored one of his own in the second half.

Thiel played about 35 minutes at tighthead.

“He looked good all things considered. He hasn’t played live rugby in probably a little over two years, and it doesn’t take long for a guy who’s played as many games at the level he played at to get back into it,” said Payne.

“He’s strong. He’s big right now. He’s obviously got some live game fitness to work on, but he got minutes in today, he’ll get minutes in next week, and he’s working on his fitness in training.”

Life is back at it next week against Old Blue in Marietta, and Boston hosts rival NYAC.

Life 52
Tries: MacGinty (2), Katzfey, Osborne, Beach, Van Rensburg, Headlee
Cons: MacGinty (7)
Pens: McMaster

Boston 16
Tries: 1
Cons: 1
Pens: 3