Two of the top teams of the Major Rugby Championship and the future organization known as Major League Rugby went to battle in Glendale, Colorado on February 25th, and it was expected to be a close contest as two of the country’s top elite squads prepared to butt heads. However, it turned into a lopsided affair when the Glendale Raptors defeated the Austin Huns 41-10. Zach Fenoglio captured man of the match honors.
The first half displayed perhaps the best version of both sides, with the Glendale wings passing and moving fluidly while the Huns defense laid down some heavy hits and shut down many offensive phases for the Raptors. However, constant drops and knock-ons prevented either team from sustaining a phase long enough to put real points on the board.
The Raptors found themselves up 5-3 halfway through the first-half after a Dustin Croy delivered try. Despite the physicality of the Austin defense, their offense remained inconsistent while Raptor players such as Chad London and Fullback Maximo De Achaval were able to squash any attempt to get it out wide. A second try by way of Will Holder put the Raptors up 10-3 to close out the first.
The second half began with the Huns attempting for a fast start from the get-go. However, more costly turnovers and penalties prevented them from sustaining any kind of momentum. Glendale capitalized on one of these turnovers, getting deep down into Huns territory thanks again the speed and chemistry of their wings. Despite another great display of Austin’s goal line defense, Glendale’s Ata Malifa was able to take advantage of some out of position Huns on the outside for the Raptor’s third try of the game
The Huns would continue to get really hot through certain phases, the just as suddenly get cold. Matt Moore, who was himself hot and cold all day, had a big drop when the wings began to get going, and then Lomani Tongotongo (who was for the most part phenomenal all game) threw a heart-breaking interception at the 50th minute.
The Raptors committed what could have been a game-changing knock-on deep in their own territory, thus giving the Huns possession. The Huns kicked for touch, but lost the ensuing a line-out. However, a penalty for entering from the side on Glendale would give them another chance.
A second and even third chance for the Huns after a plethora of Raptor penalties (which would subsequently land Glendale’s #6 Brain Wanless in the Sin Bin) inevitably ended in another turnover and another missed opportunity for the visiting team. From that moment on, it was Glendale’s game.
With the Hun defense beginning to get worn down, Glendale seemed to kick into a new gear. Playing at one time 2 men down thanks to penalties, Glendale’s Peter Dahl, Zach Fenoglio (2), and Dustin Croy were able to break the light blue-line of the Huns for tries as the game quickly became a blow-out.
As the final seconds wore down and a victory was imminent on the outskirts of Denver, the Huns’ JoeDee Reyes was able to score the Huns’ first and only try of the match, ending the game with a final score of Glendale 41, Austin 10.
Shit. Not going to lie, going into the MRC I was a Raptors fan. But the last few weeks, I was really beginning to dig the Huns. They’re one of the clubs here in the U.S that is trying to make rugby get taken more seriously, and I respect that. But, like, fuck. That was a blowout.
You could tell in the first half the Austin boys thought they had this. They had come back before, and they could do it again. But nah bruh.
Okay, seriously though. We all know the Huns can get physical and play smash-mouth rugby. Which is why everybody loves watching them. But when you have guys like Ata Malifa and Chad London who absolutely tore up the PRO Rugby season from the wing with Denver, you have to know that game plan isn’t going to work. They’re too fast, and too technical to keep it in the trenches. The Huns have to get faster if they want to make a serious run at redeeming themselves on April 15th, when the Glendale boys head to Austin, Texas.
On March 11th, both teams will continue play in the Major Rugby Championship tournament. The Huns will travel to Louisiana to meet NOLA, hoping for some redemption. Meanwhile, the Raptors will get to remain in Colorado as the host Rugby Utah at Infinity Park.
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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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