After their outstanding performance on Day 1 of Round 1 of the World Tens Series in Bermuda, Rhinos managed to remain undefeated during the fowl-weathered Day 2 of Round 1, securing the top spot of the League Rankings.
Rhinos action-packed day was underway with a tight victory against the highly competitive Miami Sun. The first 10 minutes of the game was a proper contest for possession, both teams running hard at the defense lines trying to force a gap. Unfortunately the first half’s score remained level with no points on the scoreboard for either team.
It was only 6 minutes into the 2nd half when the fast-thinking USA Eagle Mikey Te’o took a quick tap from a penalty to setup Courtney Winnaar in the corner for a vital try. This was followed by a successful two-point conversion by Carl Meyer, giving the Rhinos the lead by 7-0. This however, did not break the Miami Sun’s spirits, and they responded with an overlap try from the former USA Sevens player Marcus Satavu, who dotted down the ball in the left corner with 2 minutes before the final whistle. An unsuccessful conversion kick gave the Rhinos the win, with a final score of 7-5 at the sound of the siren.
“We are very happy with our team’s performance so far. It surely has not been the best weather to play in, but the willingness of this team to succeed in such unpredictable circumstances has brought us even closer together. There is a sense of ownership amongst each player, taking responsibility for the job at hand. We hope to continue this winning streak” reflected Patrick Regan, one of the Rhinos locks.
The afternoon kicked off with what commentators referred to as “the contest destined to round off Round 1 of the World Tens Series in Bermuda”. Both Rhinos and the London Royals went into this game undefeated and neither of them were going to roll-over and hand the other the win.
The Rhinos kept the first half under thumb, dominating the territory and possession throughout the game. It was an opportunistic interception from the Royals’ Ross Neal, against the run of play in the 4th minute of the half, that left the Rhinos pacing towards their own touchline. This gave the Royals a 6-0 lead at half time.
The second half was eagerly contested with some exceptional running from the Rhinos, with Zach Bonte being strong on his feet and almost unstopped by defenders. Royals were consequently given a hard time between the four lines. With only seconds left on the clock, Royals AJ Davis showed some skillful running through Rhinos defense and scored, what would have been the winning try of the match. The try, however, was disallowed after Rhinos used their Captain’s Challenge to point out an offense on the Royals side.
The game was still very much alive with rain pouring down on the field. Rhinos geared up their opportunity into overdrive and Cyrille Cama scored a phenomenal pick & drive try next to the upright. The victory was sealed off with a 2-point conversion kick by the one and only Carl Meyer, concluding the match with Rhinos 7 – 6 London Royals.
Some feedback from Head Coach Ryno Combrinck after the match: “Brilliant performance by the team, we knew that it wasn’t going to be a handout and we went to great lengths to prepare the players physically as well as mentally for this one. The Royals proved to be the team to beat in this Round 1 and we are privileged to be in the top spot ahead of Round 2.”
“It was very pleasing to be on the winning side, there were some massive duels, and even without the win it would have been a very exciting and rewarding experience.”
“It’s good thing to be here and it is a privilege to be in this position. How long it will last, we are not sure, but we take it as a compliment. We know and accept that it is not going to be as easy the second time around. Two new teams will be freshly coming in and we have a tough schedule, so it is not going to be easy, but we are up for the challenge.”
Hats off to our Rhinos as they head into Round 2 of the World Tens Series in Bermuda. They entered this tournament as the underdogs but have ended the first round being at the top of the ranks with 16 points. We are in new territory for our organization and the Rhinos are exceeding expectations. We hope that the team will maintain momentum and continue to beat the odds in Round 2. Go Rhinos!