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In the opening weekend of the newly formed DI North Atlantic Rugby Conference, Portland (1-0) defeated Amoskeag (0-1) 46-10 in Portland, Maine Saturday. In a matchup between two former DII rivals, Portland and Amoskeag started their foray into DI play in very different fashions.
The first 10 minutes of the match were very well contested. For the remaining 30 minutes of the first half, however, Portland established continued possession and was able to exploit the 10-12 channel for four first-half tries. Flyhalf James Read and center Garreth Roberts each had two tries apiece. At the half, Portland led Amoskeag 34-10.
“We dominated possession after the first 10 minutes and were really able to control the supply for the next 30 minutes or so and that is when our tries came,” Portland coach Tom Lovering told Rugby Today.
Portland added 10 points in the second half while keeping Amoskeag off the scoreboard. The second stanza was very sloppy, including a high penalty count for both teams. Portland displayed some over eagerness at the breakdown and will need to improve on that moving forward.
“I think we got a little too comfortable in the second half. Things got a bit ragged. We started rolling on subs and lost our shape a bit,” Lovering added.
Nevertheless, Lovering was very satisfied with his team’s performance in their first game in DI. "We are keen to prove ourselves here in DI and show everybody this is where we belong," he said. "The win was nice to validate what we thought we were capable of.”
Portland and Amoskeag had been battling in the NERFU DII for several years before making the jump to DI. For both teams entering unchartered territory, it was nice to play a familiar opponent in the first league match.
“We were a little nervous moving to DI but were a bit fortunate with the scheduling. Amoskeag is someone we know fairly well and have had a good rivalry over the years. We came up to DI together this year and we had a good sense of where there strengths would be.”
Portland will face a tough Mystic River squad next week. Lovering indicated that the team would have to take their play to another level to match Mystic’s talent and intensity. “Next week is another big test for us with Mystic on the road," he said. "Trying to get an 80-minute performance where we are consistent is going to be important.”