The Potomac Exiles traveled into DC to take on the Washington Renegades. The sloppy tackling started early, and was a precursor for the rest of the game. Potomac found themselves in a 14-0 hole before center Ryan Tribue broke through. Fly half J’Son Townes converted the kick to bring the visitors within 14-7.
However, that would be as close as the Exiles got, as the Renegades scored 29 unanswered en route to the blowout victory. Potomac finally ended the scoring drought at 63,’ but would give up another try at the end for the game’s final score, 50-14.
The battle of the Exiles was a hard, brutal game in terms of hitting and sloppy play. Schuylkill River emerged as the victors winning 26-12 over Potomac. Schuylkill doubled the tries of Potomac in each half in route to the win. With the domination of the set piece and a stout defense, Schuylkill has stretched it’s undefeated streak to four games and leads the division with 20 standings points.
“[Domination of the set piece in the second half] made the difference,” Schuylkill River head coach Nick Clapinson said. “We weren’t playing as much rugby as we were playing the last few weeks. An ugly win with a lot of defending and a lot of set piece work. We managed to get parity in the lineouts and steal a couple of important balls and disrupt theirs… I was a lot happier with our defensive effort today. It was one of those games where it stayed close and it was uncomfortable all the way through until about ten minutes to go.”
Schuylkill got on the board a minute into the match with a Will Doherty intercept try and it was followed by a line break by Bruce Dolan to score in the corner. Trailing 12-0, Potomac cut the lead to seven points after a try by wing AJ Johnson and the score remained at 12-5 until halftime.
Matt Angelucci extended Schuylkill’s advantage to 19-5 eight minutes into the second with an eightman pick try from a five-meter scrum. Jason Vanterpool’s try brought the lead closer for Potomac, but a driving maul try by Owen Jones in the 61st minute proved to be all Schuylkill needed for the victory. Schuylkill’s defense withstood Potomac’s attack for the remainder of the test.
Commenting on his team’s performance, Potomac eightman Alex Diegel said, “We didn’t play as a team. We’ve got into a bad habit this season of gifting teams points early and it seems to effect out play negatively throughout the rest of the games. People are trying to make up for it with one superman play instead of staying patient, playing our game, and waiting for our opportunity to strike. We’ve got to play smarter, clean up our discipline, stop giving teams points, and just play our game. Hopefully, we will get back on the right foot here with the last two games.”
Next week’s match against Norfolk will be Clapinson’s first engagement with the Blues. “It’s another step up. It’s all new to me, but I have heard they are direct, physical, and well organized. We know we need to keep improving our defensive effort and ball retention. For us, we are trying to keep our focus on our own performance.”