LA Overpowers DC in First Leg of Road Trip
By Evan Lappen
In the second game of a doubleheader at the LA Coliseum, Old Glory DC proved no match for the star-studded LA Giltinis and fell, 47-17. DC drew first blood, but LA scored the next 47 points, including seven tries. Old Glory played well, but the Giltinis were just better. Still, DC never gave up with two late scores and will try again next week against the Utah Warriors. With Doug Fraser and Dylan Taikato-Simpson expected to join the club in Utah, DC will hope to end its road trip with a victory on Saturday.
The game was very physical from the outset with both teams hitting very hard in defense. The commitment of both teams in this area could not be faulted. Offensively, DC was successful in stringing together several phases, only to lose the pill and be quickly subjected to a counterattack. LA attacked in waves and was surgical with its offloads. Matt Giteau used his astute kicking to put DC under pressure and whether by using clever chips over the backline or deep kicks into the 22, he frustrated DC with his tactics.
Dressed in their away whites, Old Glory came out with aggression and following an exchange of kicks for field position, OG found itself outside the 22 with a scrum. The forwards pounded the defense inside the opposition 22 and LA was guilty of not rolling away. Old Glory immediately decided to go for the posts and Jason Robertson nailed the penalty for the 3-0 lead.
After DC kicked away possession, the first flash of the Giltini attack was seen. DTH van der Merwe moved the ball up field but the effort to swing the ball wide was knocked on. A turnover saw OG maneuver itself inside the 22, but the Giltinis’ Corey Thomas stole it right back. Old Glory continued to press the action with its third time in the red zone, but the LA defense stood strong. An accidental obstruction thwarted DC’s advance.
Off the ensuing lineout, LA got the ball out quick. Adam Ashley-Cooper was not held in the tackle and quickly regained his footing. Through the line, the Aussie had four players in support and passed to Langi Haupeakui for the 50-meter try. Giteau bent the kick through the uprights and LA led, 7-3.
An early substitution saw Casey Renaud replace Tevita Naqali. A penalty again stopped OG’s momentum and LA took advantage. Off the lineout, the Giltinis’ multi-layered attack found daylight with two strikes from John Ryberg. After a seemingly endless series of offloads, Ashley-Cooper was wrestled to the ground for the score. Giteau converted the try for the 14-3 lead after 16 minutes.
OGDC attempted to get back into the game on its next possession. Robertson connected with Renata Roberts-Te Nana with a cross-field kick, but the winger’s grubber ahead ran out of room. The referee stopped the 22 drop out for the twenty-minute water break and for the medical staff to tend to a cut above Jamie Dever’s eye.
Back into the action, DC peppered the LA defense. A poach for Charles Abel was flicked to JP Smith, who kicked into space behind the DC defense. A race to the ball was booted by van der Merwe who dove on it for the try. After 28 minutes, LA was firmly in control, up 19-3.
Minutes later, LA was in striking distance again after a stolen scrum and deep kick into DC territory. With a lineout inside the 22, Dave Dennis and Nathan Den Hoedt made it look easy with a couple of offloads and Giteau dotted down for his first score of the season. LA wasn’t finished in the half and added another with a try from JP Smith. Giteau made both the conversions and the Giltinis led 33-3 at the half.
Old Glory kicked off to start the second half and began the period with a bang. After strong runs from Mikey Sosene-Feagai, a pass from the hooker was kicked by Mike Dabulas through the defense. The fullback chased the ball, but it just evaded him and slid over the dead ball line.
Restarting from a lineout at midfield, the Giltinis ran it up the gut with their forwards. Harrison Goddard and van der Merwe did a little give and go and the wing and connected well with Lindsey Stevens and Christian Poidevin with offloads. Van der Merwe got it back in the end for the try. Giteau’s conversion made it 40-3.
DC tried to get the ball rolling in its direction, but couldn’t get a break. LA kept pressing the pace and gave itself extra opportunities with its offload game. The Giltinis played most of the third quarter in DC’s half and Angus Cottrell made a statement in the 60th minute running through four defenders for the try under the posts. The automatic seven-pointer pushed the LA advantage to 47-3.
Coach Andrew Douglas sent in his reinforcements. DC retained most of the possession and territory in the last 20 minutes and finally got some reward for their efforts.
DC never stopped competing and just as it looked like LA would add another score on an interception, Osea Kolinisau made a heads-up play on a DC penalty. The Fijian Olympian caught the defense sleeping with a quick-tapped ball and dove into the corner for his second try in as many games.
Old Glory kept the momentum after the next restart. LA’s Glenn Bryce dropped Danny Thomas’s perfect box kick and Dmontae Noble collected the rebound to stride away for a 55-meter try down the sideline. Robertson made his second conversion of the night and the game ended minutes later at 47-17.
Old Glory will regroup and refocus in Las Vegas this week before traveling just outside of Salt Lake City to battle the Utah Warriors on Saturday.