After so slow starts in the early part of their Major Rugby Championship campaign, the Glendale Raptors got things going early and often in their return to Infinity Park against Rugby Utah. After 80 minutes of action under an overcast sky, the Raptors arose victorious in an 94-17 win. The 77-point margin of victory marked the largest by Glendale this season, which remains undefeated for the 2017 campaign.
The Raptors broke out for a 12-0 lead in the opening six minutes of the match with tries from Johnny Ryberg and Dustin Croy. Ryberg dotted down his second try of the match six minutes later to extend the lead to 19-0. They never looked back.
Despite the dominant display in the attack, Raptors head coach David Williams was perhaps more impressed with holding Rugby Utah to just 10 points and a single try in the opening 40 minutes of action.
“I think defensively, we’ve been great,” Williams said at halftime, mentioning that such an effort against their regional rivals was “tremendously important” in the grand scheme of the Raptors’ MRC campaign.
The Raptors head coach also gave props to the hundreds of fans which made it out to support their local rugby club who weathered the rainy conditions and cool temps.
“It’s phenomenal,” Williams said of the support. “I think the more fans we can get out, the boys love it.”
Ryberg was selected as the Glendale Raptors’ Rugby Athletic Player of the Match.
“I’m just out there on the wing, so it just means the 14 people playing aside me are playing for me,” a modest Ryberg said postgame. “Just making the [23-man roster], we’re out there killing each other every week in practice. So, it was great to get out there and score some tries.”
The Raptors will now head into a bye week, but will keep their focus on Utah, with an upcoming road trip ahead to face BYU in Provo at 1 p.m. on March 25. The Raptors will then return to Infinity Park on April 8 to face New Orleans at 3 p.m. which is preceded by Division One women’s match between the Glendale Raptors and Utah Vipers at 1 p.m.
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