By Liam Poach
The Utah Warriors came within a converted try’s worth of points to upsetting the Glendale Raptors and shocking the USA Rugby Universe. However, as usual, Coach Dave Williams and his men found a way to pull off the victory 36-29, with Harley Davidson (two tries) capturing Man of the Match honors.
Just as they did in their pre-season exhibition match, the Warriors managed to keep the Raptors scoreless for the first ten minutes of the match, displaying a much more structurally sound defensive front than what we had seen from them thus far. However, within the next seven minutes, the home team would find themselves down by ten to a squad known for blowing out lesser competition.
Not wanting to become just another statistic in Glendale’s rampage across the MLR landscape, Utah responded with ten unanswered points of their own, beginning a course of events that might turn out to be one of the best matches of the season. When all was said and done, we ended up seeing nine combined tries to go along with 4 lead changes.
The big difference for Utah in this game was as I said before, defense. Instead of allowing their opponent to exploit huge numbers advantages on the outside by drawing them into the middle, Coach Daniels has apparently gotten the message across to his guys that you need to stay disciplined and in position in order to not have 50 points put up on you.
Their offensive attack also showed some marked improvement, beginning with scrumhalf Joseph Nicholls successfully and quickly distributing the ball to his playmakers like Paul Lasike and Tonata Lauti. While in weeks previously it seemed as it Utah was dependent on the occasional splash play to get them into scoring position, this afternoon we actually saw an excitingly fluid and effective passing game with some true-to-form Tongan style offloads in tight spaces.
Meanwhile, the Glendale Raptors did just enough to keep the resurgent home team at bay to eke out the win. In the first half, a few players seemed to be asleep at the wheel, seeing a handful of phases go nowhere in terms of gaining ground while errant penalties also reared their nasty head.
It’s thanks to players like Bryce Campbell and Harley Davidson that this score didn’t go the other day. Whenever the Raptors succeeded in getting the ball into one of their hands, it either ended in a healthy chunk of meters gained or points on the board. Will Magie and his leg were also crucial to this one, going 4/5 on conversions and 1/1 on penalties.
While the Warriors have now fallen to 0-2 on the season, this game has certainly provided a glimmer of hope for the already strong bands of Warrior-faithful. If they’re able to go into every game with the same intensity and efficiency that they did today, I’m sure plenty of their matches in the future will yield a different final result.
Connect With Us on Facebook and Twitter!
Penguin Tundra Sports Blog was created in 2016 by a very bored college student who was obsessed with Rugby and Football. That same college student knew how to write pseudo-intelligently, so what better way to show off than to create a blog. Along your journey though the Tundra's domain, you may come across outlandish opinions, horrible spelling errors, and some shit that is just outright wrong. Well then, you should comment, give my blog more attention, and we will have our day in internet court. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy talking about sports as much as I do.
Logo Typography Credit: PhotoBucket