This story originally appeared at glendaleraptors.com
The Glendale Raptors (8-0) maintain a commanding lead atop the Pacific Rugby Premiership (PRP) table, but their latest victory, a 18-16 nail biter over Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC) was a little too close for comfort.
“We expected a tough game and they delivered,” Raptors head coach Andre Snyman said. “OMBAC is playing good rugby at the moment. We knew coming back, they wouldn’t be the same team.”
After a 33-6 victory by Glendale in the two sides’ previous meeting, the rematch played out differently with OMBAC jumping out to a narrow 13-12 lead by halftime.
“We really had to work for it and OMBAC gave us a run for our money,” Snyman explained. “They played the right game plan and put us under pressure.”
Glendale took its first lead early in the second half with a penalty that put the Raptors up 15-13, but OMBAC responded with a drop goal to re-take a 16-15 lead in the late stages. In a last gasp effort, Armandt Peens scored the final points of the match with his stoppage time penalty to take the 18-16 victory.
“That’s why we want to play in the PRP; it’s these kind of games,” Snyman said of the narrow victory. “Against [San Francisco Golden Gate] the same thing happened. The close games are the games we want to play. I don’t know if it’s good for my health, but it’s good for the team. It’s character building.”
Zac and Justin Pauga earned Raptors Player of the Match honors, but the duo were among the many “old faithfuls” that provided contributions.
“I can’t say that there was one player that stood out,” Snyman commented. “It was a team effort to secure the win.”
But the win wasn’t without sacrifice. Glendale lock David Hardy and prop Chris Hathaway both went down with leg injuries and are questionable heading into next weekend’s action.
“We just want to reassess the situation with injuries,” Snyman said. “There will definitely be one or two new faces in the team.”
Despite the setbacks, Glendale continues to plug along with an undefeated record and a clear path to defending its PRP title.
“We went into the game hoping to get the win and we did, although it wasn’t pretty,” Snyman concluded. “It was a different game, but ultimately the boys showed some character and discipline at the end.”
The Raptors next match against Santa Monica Rugby at Infinity Park is April 9 at 3pm.