Seawolves Hunt In Second Half to Sneak Past Elite

09-Jun-2018

Image Courtesy: Norma Salinas

Following a short week of training, the Seattle Seawolves returned to Texas for the second weekend in a row to face off against Austin Elite Rugby. After securing a spot in the inaugural Major League Rugby post-season, the Seawolves were on the hunt for their sixth win of the season against a playoff hungry Austin squad.

The Seattle squad this week featured the premier of Auburn native Louie Henson on his first roster of the season and a number of Seawolves looking to prove their worth as starters in the absence of five Seawolves on USA or Canada National Team duty.

The Elite were first on the board after a penalty against Seattle allowed Austin the chance to kick for points. Timothee Guillimin's kick was good and the score was 3-0 early. Five minutes later, another penalty against Seattle in their own territory gave Guillimin the chance to put up three more. His kick was good and the Elite jumped to an early 6-0 lead.Finding themselves on their heels early, the Seawolves were in an unfamiliar position, down six points nearly halfway through the match with Austin knocking on the door again. Although the Seawall was able to stop several phases of Austin’s forward ball, the Elite’s Ross Deakin was able to sneak through under the posts and score the first try of the game. The kick was good, and the Elite increased their lead to 13-0, 17 minutes into the game.The Seawolves needed to come up with a response, and they found their answer in the 21st minute thanks to the Seattle back-line. Following an Elite knock-on, the Seawolves backs executed off the set piece to get the ball to Dion Crowder. Crowder chewed up the sideline with his eyes on the try-line but was stopped short. William Rasileka was in support and was able to pick up the ball and charge through Austin defenders for Seattle’s first try of the game. Will Holder s kick was no good, but Seattle was on the board with a score of 13-5 in Austin’s favor.

The Elite continued to test the Seawolves scrum with 15 minutes to play in the first half. Earning the scrum penalty, Austin opted to kick for points and inched their lead ahead 16-3. The Seawolves were able to build some momentum into the half following their own line-out in the 37th minute. A brutal run and stiff-arm from Nakai Penny propelled Seattle into Austin’s territory, and a penalty against the Elite offered another chance for Holder to kick for three. Holder’s kick was good as Seattle closed on Austin’s lead, 16-8. Miscommunication mishaps and line-out misses caused the bulk of Seattle’s first half errors, the Seawolves looked to re-tool at the half and gain control over the flow of the game.

Opening up the second half, a penalty against Austin allowed Aladdin Schirmer to quick tap and make a solid charge for the try line before being tackled. In the Elite’s territory, a well-time pass from Mat Turner delivered the ball to Sequoyah Burke-Combs. The Seawolves wing backed himself to dive into the corner for a momentum changing try. Holder’s kick was unsuccessful as the Seawolves continued to fight their way back, 16-13 to Austin in the 4th minute.

The Seawolves second half resurgence stayed alive thanks to another beastly performance from Eric Duechle. A turnover allowed “The Beast” to come up with the ball and turned on the gas. Duechle’s 30 meter run put Taylor Krumrei in a good position as the former Oregon Duck dove over the line for his first try of the season. Holder’s kick was successful and the Seawolves took over the lead for the first time in the game, 20-16 with 17 minutes left to play.

Following a penalty against Seattle for a dangerous tackle, Austin had the opportunity to close the gap on the Seawolves lead. Guillimin slotted it through for three points bringing the score to 20-19 with 12 minutes remaining. Regardless of the time left on the clock, that is where the score remained. The Seawolves controlled the remainder of the time and picked up their sixth win on the season, holding onto their undefeated record on the road.Improving to a record of 6-1, the Seawolves now look to their final match of the regular season against the Glendale Raptors. Local and regional viewers can watch the rematch on ROOT Sports NWand all domestic viewers can tune in with the ESPN+ app streaming service. International viewers can tune in by heading to Major League Rugby’s Facebook page for a live stream.