Raptors perched at top of Pacific Rugby Premiership

This story originally appeared on glendalerugby.com

Five games into their 2016 Pacific Rugby Premiership (PRP) campaign, the Glendale Raptors record remains unblemished, following a 63-7 victory over visiting Belmont Shore this past weekend.

Despite the dominance his team has shown in the early stages, the result took Raptors head coach Andre Snyman a bit by surprise.

“Looking at the past game between the two teams, it’s always been close so we thought it was going to be closer.” Raptors Head Coach Andre Snyman

In the Raptors’ return to Infinity Park, they looked in form in front of their home crowd, building up a 34-0 lead by the half.

“The big thing for me is that the players stuck to their structure,” Snyman explained. “The fact of the matter is the guys stayed focused on the task at hand.”

The lead ballooned to 41-0 in the second stanza before Belmont scored its first try of the match to cut the lead to 41-7. But Glendale’s defense stiffened up and additional offensive firepower helped to close out the match with a final score line of 63-7.

Back Martin Knoetze helped bolster the attack, scoring his third hat trick for the Raptors this season.

“[Knoetze] is a try scoring machine,” Snyman said. “He played really well. He runs really good lines and he finds himself in good positions to finish.”

Additionally, Raptors team captain and USA Eagle Zach Fenoglio returned for his first action of the season following his recovery from a neck injury sustained during last year’s Rugby World Cup.

“It was nice to see him back on the field with his leadership and the way he played coming off of an injury,” Snyman said of Fenoglio’s performance. “He looks good. He’s not 100 percent fit but he’s working really hard on that. He played a solid 40 minutes.”

With the win, Glendale returned to the top of the PRP table with bonus points. Yet despite another victory, the Raptors will continue to remain focused on fine tuning various aspects of their game this week, in anticipation of their upcoming match against crosstown rivals Denver Barbarians.

Said Snyman, “This week we’re going to focus on our discipline in terms of executing. Our catching and passing wasn’t that great. I understand why that happened. The boys were so enthusiastic that they snapped at the ball instead of catching it. So we’re going to work on handling drills this week to calm the nerves down.”

The Raptors next match against the Denver Barbarians at Infinity Park is March 19 at 3pm. Tickets are available online at gelndaleraptors.com or at the gate. The match will be live streamed via Eversport TV at rugbytown.us/stream

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