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Belmont Shore is holding onto second, barely, thanks to Saturday's 44-10 defeat of Olympic Club Saturday at Treasure Island in San Francisco.
The game was part of the Pacific Rugby Premiership Mid-Season Clash played at San Francisco Golden Gate's home ground of Ray Sheeran Field. All three games were LIVE on FloRugby.
Olympic Club held the run of play for a large chunk of the first half, with wing Jared Braun getting some space to run, and No. 8 Drew Gaffney asking questions of the Short defense. Belmont Shore, however, answered those questions. Sean Gorman led a sterling defensive effort from the Belmont Shore back row, while Zachary Shapiro and Sam Lilley were very solid at lock.
But it was Belmont Shore's athleticism in the open field that killed Olympic Club's hopes. After a long period of running through the phases, O-Club came away with just a penalty after 17 minutes of rugby.
Patient and unfazed, Shore answered with a penalty, and then, midway through the first half, Ben Weischedel capped off an attacking movement with a slicing run for a try. O-Club responded by once again putting Shore under pressure. But a turnover set up hands out to fullback Viliame Iongi, who just turned on the jets and cut through to score.
Iongi was all kinds of problems for The Olympic Club, and he scored in the corner later in the half on a movement that owed much to a break and pass from hooker Scott Finlay.
The second half saw Belmont Shore put the game away, although Olympic Club did score a much-deserved try through Josh Tucker. Iongi got his third, and then his fourth, and Finlay was very impressive in the open field. Alex Fletcher added another try to make it 44-3 before Olympic Club scored. But interestingly, Belmont Shore did all of its scoring in a period of 58 minutes. The first 17 and final 15 yielded no points.
O-Club just could not break the gain line with frequency, and Belmont Shore's ability to score from long range thanks to a speedy backline, won the day.
Belmont Shore 44
Tries: Iongi 4, Weischedel, Fletcher
Convs: Thomas 4
Pens: Thomas 2
Olympic Club 10