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Glendale Raptors Rugby hosts USA Eagles 15 Select Side at Infinity Park

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On a perfect evening for rugby, the USA Eagles 15 Select Side came to town to face the 2011 Division I Champions, The Glendale Raptors, at Infinity Park Wednesday.

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Dominating possession in the first half, the Eagles 15 consistently pressed the Raptors’ try line, but a stingy Glendale defense routinely frustrated the Eagles throughout the first forty minutes. The USA finally opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a try (converted).The Raptors answered quickly with a successful penalty kick two minutes later, narrowing the score to 7-3. Two additional tries put the Eagles up 19-10 at the break.

As with most teams kept on the defensive, the Raptors eventually tired, and in a second half lousy with penalties for sloppy play in the rucks from both teams, it was all Eagles on the scoreboard, scoring 39 unanswered points to finish off the Raptors 58-10.

The friendly (scrimmage) against the 2011 Division I Champion Raptors was the first of three matches scheduled at Infinity Park this week, and gave USA Rugby coaches an additional opportunity to evaluate the national side’s players prior to the Aug 22 World Cup roster deadline.

On Saturday the Eagles will try to avenge last week’s 28-22 loss to Rugby Canada before traveling to Japan for their final international test leading up to the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand next month.

Tickets for Saturday’s international test are available online or at the Infinity Park Ticket Office.

The Raptors will begin their quest for a second Division I Title when they host the Denver Highlanders in their season opener on Saturday, September 25.

New to Rugby?

Rugby is the second most played game in the world, and its popularity is growing in the United States. Colorado is home to over 60 rugby teams, ranging from high school boys and girls to Olde Boys where many players are over fifty.

Each match is played in two forty-minute halves (thirty for High school) with a ten-minute halftime. The clock continues to run through the game unless an injury prompts the referee to stop time.

A try is similar to football's touchdown and is worth five points. A successful conversion (similar to football's extra point) adds two additional points. Penalty kicks and drop goals are scored at three points each.

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