Bipolar Play Continues for Ohio against Sacramento
Ohio Pro Rugby Game Coverage Written by Chase Thompson for Columbus Wired
Highs and lows are the stories from this season for our local Pro Rugby team, and this weekend was nothing short of the same, just another weekend of highs and lows.
It began last week with the late heartbreaking loss coupled with the loss of outstanding fly half JP Eloff, who left the game, due to injury, last week causing the kicking game for Ohio to go even more sideways after having already been turbulent.
Eloff has officially been diagnosed with a broken fibula and torn ligaments in his left leg. Assistant Coach Paul Holmes had this to say about the loss, “ Losing JP last week was huge, and it wasn’t just for last week. Unfortunately, we probably have lost him for the season. Obviously he will still be with the team all season, he was here training all week and motivating the boys”. The loss is a huge blow to the team as it is still scrambling to get the kicking game righted.
Over the past few weeks, the kicking game has been spotty at best. “It’s cost us, but we’ve been working hard on it.” (Holmes). This week, the game began and there were some bright spots for the future of the team’s kicking with the return of Shaun Davies and moving Robbie Shaw into the 10.
When asked about how the return of Davies impacted the team, Holmes said,”Having Shaun Davies back , and his leadership, has helped us [with kicking], and it was a big step up in this game, but there is still a lot to work on moving forward.”.
After an early penalty right of the kick off, Sacramento took a 3-0 lead. Ohio battled back and went up 33-3 at half. The second half was more of the same and the final tally was Ohio 50 – Sacramento 17, with tries from Matt Hughston (2), Filippo Ferrarini, Sebastian Kalm, Jamie Mackintosh, and Spike Davis (2). All conversions were from Shaun Davies (5 of 8).
The home side showed lots of promise heading into the mid-season push for the title. The stifling defense, that has been a mainstay over the course of the season, continued and the bench showed it’s true depth with the boys in blue playing just as well with the reserves in. A few weaknesses, besides the kicking game, was the scrum performance. In past weeks, it’s been part of the success, along with the rest of the set piece, but struggled this week with only winning half of their own put in.
Three more bright spots emerged, with great play by Filippo Ferrarini, Sebastian Kalm, and Spike Davis. The fan favorites brought their best for the home crowd and gave us plenty to cheer for. After Sunday’s game, Davis and Kalm are tied for first in tries scored this season, with Ferrarini at 6th. Ohio also sits atop the board for most tries scored as a team and with most points scored this season.
If the kicking game gets sorted out, Ohio sets to make the remainder of this season very interesting and put pressure on the league leaders in the mile high city. Ohio heads to San Francisco next weekend and plays at 6pm ET/ 3pm PT.