Match Report: Champagne Rugby win for six-try Giltinis

5 months ago

Champagne rugby. Champagne Cup. The LA Giltinis blitzed Rugby New York with a six-try shutout for the club’s fourth straight win on Sunday afternoon.

The energized Giltinis won a clearcut 43-0 decision with one of their best showings of the Major League Rugby season at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Incisive fullback Jordan Trainor and centre Ben LeSage were excellent while winger John Ryberg had his best game of 2022 with a busy, roaming two-try afternoon.

The forwards, well led by skipper Dave Dennis (below), set the scene by winning the physical battle. Lock Luke White was a standout with his ball-carrying and urgency, prop Charlie Abel set the strong defensive tone with two big early tackles and the try from No.8 Hanco Germishuys was the symbol of the intent throughout.

The victory had multiple spin-offs with the Giltinis rising to 6-3 in the standings, grabbing second spot in the tight Western Conference and getting their hands on the Champagne Cup for the first time.

The giant trophy is the symbol of West Coast v East Coast rugby supremacy between teams representing the two biggest cities in the USA. It was filled for celebrations after the team avenged the 18-16 loss in New York last year.

The “West Is Best” theme was set early when flanker Christian Poidevin plunged over for a try from a clinical driving maul off a lineout.

The expression of physical dominance came at the 25-minute mark. No.8 Germishuys swept around the left side of the ruck and made a storming run to the tryline for 12-0.

His bump and fend flattened hefty Rugby New York centre Faasiu Fuatai in a huge statement of what this match-up meant against his former club.

"The Champagne Cup is full of champagne," delighted Giltinis head coach Stephen Hoiles said in the locker room."We prepared for this game like we we were playing a really good side and that's how we performed. I'm really pleased.

"It's not just being pleased with the attack and the extra patience there but from a defensive point of view. We've never kept an opponent to 'zero points' before and you could tell what it meant because we defended as strongly in the last five minutes as in the first five."We did make a point in the lead-up that the Champagne Cup was the only trophy we're able to win that we didn't have and didn't come close last year. It's a very good feeling when we had so many strong performers you can't single any one out."

The knockout blow came with a fast, clinical one-two late in the first half that escalated the score to 26-0. A one-handed Billy Meakes pass put scrumhalf Harrison Goddard over after the Giltinis had tenderised Rugby New York up the middle.

Three minutes later, prop Djustice Sears-Duru crashed over on a pick-and-go after Trainor’s stepping, veering run had put the Giltinis in striking range.

The best defence in MLR kept Rugby New York tryless for the second time, including the 10 minutes that Sears-Duru was in the sin bin either side of half-time.

White’s family were in town from Australia and he gave them a moment to celebrate midway through the second half. Trainor was again the trigger with a dash and one-handed pass to release winger Adam Channel down the left touchline.

When the pass inside was deflected, it was White, racing through in support, who dived on the loose ball on the turf. His pop pass put Ryberg over for his first try of 2022. It was another show of urgency because Ryberg had tracked from the right wing.

Ryberg (below) put a quiet start to the season behind him with a second try on 70 minutes for 43-0.


Tries: John Ryberg (63 min, 70), Christian Poidevin (11 min), Hanco Germishuys (25), Harrison Goddard (33), Djustice Sears-Duru (35)

Conversions: Orene Ai’i (25, 33, 35), Luke Burton (63, 70)

Penalty Goal: Orene Ai’i (43)



Half-time: 26-0 Giltinis

Venue: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

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