Flyhalf Francois Viljoen baffled the defense with an inside break for a 79th-minute try, leading Belmont Shore to a 27-21 win over the Chicago Lions and the Super League title.
The Lions held a 21-7 lead into the fourth quarter, but with a typically gusty San Diego wind at their backs, the Long Beach, California, club produced a poised finish to claim its RSL fourth championship, three in the past six years. The result capped Belmont’s unbeaten season, which included a 36-27 road win over the Lions in April.
Kiwi-born Caine Elisara claimed MVP honors, edging ex-Blue Bulls Under 21 player Viljoen, who finished with two tries and 19 points. Another New Zealander, center Andrew Tihore, paced the Lions scoring.
California’s Hayward Griffins downed the Austin (Texas) Blacks 30-16 to claim the first division championship. Leading 17-16 at half, the Griffins held their opponents scoreless in the second frame.
The championship is Hayward’s first in
four five visits to the final four, the most recent coming in 2002 2006. Center Semisi Finau claimed MVP honors.
The Pacific Coast rolled up the collegiate territorial championship, its 3d straight and 14th overall.
Final: Belmont Shore 27 Chicago Lions 21 (halftime: Chicago Lions 21-7)
Belmont Shore 27
Tries: Francois Viljoen (2), Joey Nanal
Conversions: Francois Viljoen (3)
Penalties: Francois Viljoen
Field goal: Valense Malifa
Chicago Lions 21
Tries: Scott Jones, Josh Cocking
Conversions: Andrew Tihore
Penalties: Andrew Tihore (3)
Referee: Paul Bretz (Pacific Coast and United States)