forgotten review… sorry

After numerous problems before Christmas, Rodos Colossi finally showed their talents with an impressive 53-15 victory at previously unbeaten Thessaloniki Lions.

Destroyer-in-chief for the Colossi was Georgian full-back Gio Puckorius who ran up a personal total of 26 points with two tries, five conversions and two penalties, as well as having a hand in two more of the Colossi’s seven tries altogether.

Yet things started badly for the island side with player-coach Anestis Karageorgiou yellow-carded after just four minutes for a dangerous tackle and Lions took a 3-0 lead with a penalty for that offence.

Puckorius struck back three minutes later with his first points of the afternoon when he landed a simple penalty from in front of the posts to level the scores.

Still with only 14 men, Colossi were under pressure, defending strongly on their own line until their defence finally cracked and Lions went back in front with a converted try.

Once their coach was back on the field though Colossi came back into the game and five minutes after Karageorgiou’s return a quickly-taken penalty saw Georgos Syrrakos cross for a try which became a penalty try under the posts for a dangerous tackle on the Rodos flanker as he scored.

Puckorius easily added the conversion, but was off target six minutes later with a 35m penalty attempt.

It was the full back who struck again though ten minutes later as he chipped over a flat-footed Lions defence, but was then obstructed as he chased his kick and a second penalty try was the result, which Puckorius again converted to give the visitors a 17-10 lead at the break.

40 seconds into the second half the little full back stretched the Colossi lead with his second penalty, while seven minutes later Lions were short with a long penalty from inside their own half.

On ten minutes Colossi produced a classic try, the ball sailing smoothly across their experienced back line for Puckorius to make the extra man and score in the corner, although this time he missed the conversion.

Ten minutes later he was again set up by a flowing backs move, but generously handed a scoring pass to winger Dimitris Kefalas, who scored his first try for the club with Puckorius adding the extra points and Colossi were almost out of sight at 32-10.

The Lions pulled back a try after the ball was blatantly knocked-on in a tackle and the Rodos players foolishly waited for the whistle to blow, but three minutes later Puckorius was in the act again, accepting a pass from Kefalas almost on his own line and running the length of the field for the Colossi’s fifth try, again adding the conversion.

On the half hour Puckorius missed a penalty and two minutes later Ruairidh Thomson saw an audacious 45-yard drop goal attempt just dip under the bar.

It didn’t worry the Colossi as they grabbed a sixth try a minute later when Anestis Karageorgiou seized on a loose ball to leave Puckorius a simple conversion and Karageorgiou struck again in injury time to claim his second try after a great drive from the forwards at a scrum.

This time Thompson took the conversion with a drop kick which sailed between the posts to leave Colossi deserved winners by 53 points to 15.

It was the first time the Colossi had actually fielded a full team at a game in Thessaloniki and the mix of experience and enthusiasm paid off well for them with the forwards, driven on by scrum half Olly Gill, growing in stature as the game went on and the back line cutting the Lions defence to ribbons almost at will.

Despite a defeat at Iraklis and forfeiting their game against Athens, who refused to support the Colossi’s request for a postponement, Rodos could still figure in the end of season play-offs for the title – and on this form they could even be looking at winning it.

Colossi team: Gio Puckorius; Angelo Seitis (Anagnostopoulos 60); Michalis Karageorgiou; Ruairidh Thomson; Dimitris Kefalas (Arnaoutakis 70); Anestis Karageorgiou; Oliver Gill; Chris Panagiotopoulos; Atham Tsuchnikas; Stergos Lempetlis (Garbutt 50); Dimitrs Roussos; Thotoris Ananias; Tony Papantoniou; Michalis Hatziantoniou; Replacements: Georgos Anagnostopoulos; Dimitris Arnaoutakis; Simon Garbutt.

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