By Liam Poach
Last night, the Utah Warriors took the field for the first time ever to do battle with the visiting Glendale Raptors, and what a night it was.
The match began with an unexpected development, and that was the Utah Warriors getting the first score of the night thanks to the Whippy brothers setting up space for Ben Nicholls to take it in for the try. Unfortunately, that would be the only lead of the night held by the home team.
For the rest of the game, so many things seemed to go wrong for Utah, as they found themselves on the wrong end of more penalties (THREE yellow cards) than scoring opportunities, which allowed the Raptors to find their footing even in instances where it seemed like Utah was beginning to gain momentum. And I’m not just talking about simple handling penalties (although there were plenty of those too), I’m talking about a plethora of high-tackles, as well as ruck and scrum violations. These are things that could be easily avoided with greater discipline awareness.
However, Utah’s misfortune wasn’t entirely their fault, perhaps more-so their training staff, as it seemed as if the Warriors had a player down on the field every couple of minutes. So if you take into consideration all the yellow cards and time spent with players down on the grass, Utah was playing outnumbered for nearly half the match.
Glendale, meanwhile, certainly didn’t look a lot like their normal selves…at first. Yes, it started out pretty slow in the first twenty or so minutes of the first half (I mean, it’s the Raptors, so the standard is kind of high), but Utah was playing a physical and fast game, which may have initially caught Dave Williams’ squad off guard. One of the Warriors few bright spots in this match was their counter rucks in the first half, a facet of their game which allowed them to close out the first with a hard fought try from inside the five-meter.
But, it became clear, especially in the second half, that Utah wasn’t capable of keeping up that pace. Every so often, you would have a Warrior player break away for a huge run. but they tended to out run the support which always seemed to be lagging behind, leaving the runner without a chance to retain possession once a pack of Raptors had set upon him like a scene out of Jurassic Park (Clever girl…yes I’m aware they’re not those kinds of raptors, but they should be!).
Meanwhile, Glendale displayed their usual fluidity in the passing game, at one point scoring a try thanks to a crazy cavalcade of quick passes and offloads that left Utah players all over the field wondering what hell was happening. Scrumhalf Shaun Davies was especially on point last night, showing some great touch on his passes that allowed his runners to catch them at the perfect point to attack the gaps in Utah’s defense.
In the end, Glendale marched to victory with a final score of 42-15, with Will Magie going a perfect 6/6 on conversions, satisfying fans who may be more accustomed to football-style scoring.
Main things I took away from this game:
-Utah has some bright spots, but they need to learn how to finish. In the second half they seemed to fall asleep or else just got tired. They might not have been able to pull an outright victory over the Raptors, but they could have had the score a lot closer had they been able to keep up the same kind of pressure that they did in the first half.
-Utah’s Jared Whippy went 0/3 on conversions. That’s six points left off the board which could prove crucial against teams less competitive than the Raptors.
-Discipline. Although Utah took the cake with all the yellows and other violations, Glendale had their own fair share. Although, most of them tended to be knock-ons. But, if Utah wants to take full advantage of the massive amount of talent on their roster, they need to make sure their players on the field to do so.
-This league is Glendale’s to lose…at least in 2018.
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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.
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