Austin, TX (January 31, 2017). It was a beautiful, sunny day in the capital of Texas, as the Austin Huns prepared to battle the 2017 California Cup Champions Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC) in a highly anticipated home opener. The exciting matchup featured a veteran elite team (OMBAC) and newly formed squad (Austin Huns Elite). The Huns get the best of the veterans in electrifying fashion, scoring a try in extra time winning 24-21, and extending their winning streak to 3 matches.
The match was everything a sports fan could ask for: fast-paced, big hits, great defense, and a game that came down to the wire! OMBAC got off to an early lead scoring a 3-pt penalty kick just 6 minutes into the match, but the Austin Huns responded quickly with a 55-meter run to the corner by fullback Zinzan Elan-Puttick. From there it was a back and forth match. Within minutes OMBAC demonstrated why they are the seven-time XV’s national champion, dotting a try by winger Tim Stanfill, putting OMBAC ahead 8-5 after the missed conversion. Two more lead changes happened before half time, a try by Huns flanker Hanco Germishuys, and another penalty kick by OMBAC gave them the 14-10 lead at the half.
It was evident in the second half both teams had made significant adjustments to account for each other attack. It wasn’t until 20 minutes into the half when the Austin Huns struck first with a try by team captain and inside center Lomani Tongotongo, giving the Huns a narrow 3-point lead after the conversion by Puttick. For the next 20 minutes, the teams displayed the importance of defense and poise under pressure with both teams denying each other tries within 5 meters of the post.
At the 82-minute mark in extra time, with the Austin Huns playing a man down, OMBAC finds the corner flag, giving OMBAC a 4-point lead after a crucial conversion by the fly-half, Ben Batger, from the touchline. With only 2 minutes left in the match, the Austin Huns needed a miracle to pull off the win. After receiving the restart, OBMAC attempts to run out the clock by compressing and running the pick n’go. Through some great counter rucking by Germishuys, OMBAC gets penalized for holding on, and the Huns kick to touch for a lineout. The Austin Huns win the lineout, with a fingertip catch, the backline spreads the ball and gets within meters of the try line. The Huns keep pounding, and a few phases later OMBAC gets an offside penalty. While OMBAC retreats, scrumhalf Michael Reid taps, go’s, and slips between two defenders for the game-winning try. Zinzan Elan-Puttick knocks through the conversion to give the Austin Huns the 3-point victory over OMBAC, extending the Elite Team’s winning streak to three.
The Austin Huns’ next home game is Saturday, February 4th against the 2016 Red River Rugby Conference Champions, the Dallas Reds.
Remaining Austin Huns Elite 2017 Season Games
February 4: Austin Huns vs. Dallas Reds
February 18: Austin Huns vs. Austin Blacks
March 18: Austin Huns vs. Dallas Harlequins
April 1: Austin Huns vs. Rugby Utah
April 15: Austin Huns vs. Glendale Raptors
April 29: Austin Huns vs. NOLA Rugby
February 25: Austin Huns vs. Glendale Raptors
March 11: Austin Huns vs. NOLA Rugby
April 8: Austin Huns vs. Dallas Reds
April 22: Austin Huns vs. Austin Blacks
May 13: Austin Huns vs. Rugby Utah Follow the Huns on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@AustinHunsRugby) to get the latest news on the Austin Huns!
Photos provided by Norma Salinas Photography.