Denver retain their unbeaten record

Date published: June 7 2016

Denver extended their unbeaten record in the only match in Round Eight in the USA PRO League when they beat San Diego 24-23 at Torero Stadium on Sunday.

This was the second time that these two sides met, the visitors claiming both victories by a narrow margin. The first encounter came back in the first week in May which Denver won 22-16 at the same venue, which Denver, in similar fashion to Sunday's narrow victory, outscored San Diego three tries to one.

The return fixture, however, was a more tightly contested affair which saw the lead change hands on seven occasions. It was once again the accurate kicking form off the tee from Will Magie that proved to be the difference, as it was back in May, between these two sides.

Magie kicked three conversions and one penalty, but it was his 74th conversion of Martin Knoetze's try that helped Denver see off their opponents by just one point. His opposite number, Kurt Morath, kicked a total of six penalties taking his personal tally up to 18 points.

The visitors' tries came from Maximo de Achaval, Christian Wiessing and Martin Knoetze while only Kalei Konrad crossed for San Diego.

Up front, Denver were, as they have become known, powerful and used their physical domination to good effect which allowed for their exciting backs to run hard at the San Diego defence.

Despite the match being marred by professional fouls and a lack of discipline from both sides, referee Derek Summers only handed out on yellow card. 

Denver's inside centre Ata Malifa was sent to the sin bin following a dangerous shoulder tackle on speedster Takudzwa Ngwenya.

Mike Te’o's counter attacking abilities has been one of San Diego's strengths and it was as result of one of his trademark breaks that saw replacement back Kalei Konrad cross the whitewash as the final quarter approached, which took the score to 23-17 as the home side was firmly in the driving seat.

As the final five minutes approached, this shortlived lead was reduced when Te'o misdjudged a corner kick and a favourable bounce saw Knoetze pounced on the ball to stretch over the try line, in the corner, despite a brave diving tackle from Pono Haitsuka it wasn't enough to stop the South African-born player from scoring.

With the score on 22-23, Magie still had to fight off the nerves to slot a conversion attempt from up against the touchline which he calmly converted and Denver, once again, manage to walk away with the spoils.

The scorers:

For San Diego:
Try: Konrad
Pens: Morath 6

For Denver:
Tries: De Achaval, Wiessing, Knoetze
Cons: Magie 3
Pen: Magie
Yellow Card: Malifa

San Diego: 15 Mike Te’o, 14 Takudzwa Ngwenya, 13 Ben Leatigaga, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 Phil Mackenzie (c), 10 Kurt Morath, 9 Charlie Purdon, 8 Sione Tu’ihalamaka, 7 Bruce Thomas, 6 Nikola Bursic, 5 Tai Tuisamoa, 4 David Dolinar, 3 Jake Ilnicki, 2 Joe Taufete’e, 1 Hubert Buydens
Replacements: 16 Mike Sosene-Feagai, 17 Brice Schilling, 18 Mason Pedersen, 19 Ian Carpenter, 20 Jean-Baptiste Gobelet, 21 Kalei Konrad, 22 Zach Pangelinan, 23 Pono Haitsuka

Denver: 15 Maximo de Achaval, 14 Mike Garrity, 13 Chad London, 12 Ata Malifa, 11 Timana Tahu, 10 Will Magie, 9 Mose Timoteo, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg (c), 7 Peter Dahl, 6 Hanco Germishuys, 5 Casey Rock, 4 Christian Wiessing, 3 Chris Baumann, 2 Nick Wallace, 1 Ben Tarr
Replacements: 16 Zach Fenoglio, 17 Luke White, 18 Jake Turnbull, 19 Brodie Orth, 20 Logan Collins, 21 Bobby Impson, 22 Martin Knoetze, 23 Dustin Croy

Referee: Derek Summers