(San Francisco) Center Pila Huihui's pair of tries paced the SFGG Rhinos to a workmanlike 39-17 win over the Olympic Club Saturday at Sheeran Field.
The center's 37th-minute score, culminating the Rhinos' best first-half sequence, brought the hosts to within 10-8 while seeming to drain the last of O Club's early impetus. The increasingly ragged visitors then conceded a Luke Watson injury-time try, going to the break of a game they should have been winning down by 3.
Huihui, who did not figure in last week's late home loss to Glendale, struck again 10 minutes into the second stanza, picking up from dummy half and going straight through defense to give SFGG a 20-10 edge.
At 55 minutes, lock Brendan Daly's short-range, converted try all but put the game out of reach.
O Club had jumped to 10-3 lead after 13 minutes through a Keegan Engelbrecht penalty goal and a Jared Braun try, launched from a stolen lineout inside SFGG's 25. But with the Rhinos conceding a a 5-2 penalty count in the opening 25 minutes, the visitors ought to have put more points on the board. Inaccurate setpieces throttled their cause.
Finding their trademark counterattack mostly contained, SFGG ultimately took charge by playing a vertical game.
Braun's second try, coming from broken play at 62 minutes, was followed by touchdowns from Tai Enosa and substitute Houston Noema, who intercepted in injury time.
In Sao Paulo, the US fell to Brazil 23-21 on a last-second penalty goal. The stunning result brings a sudden end to first-year coach John Mitchell's honeymoon.
SFGG Rhinos 39 Olympic Club 17 (halftime: SFGG 13-10)
Tries: Pila Huihui (2), Luke Watson, Brendan Daly, Tai Enosa, Houston Noema
Conversions: Adrian Curry (2), Brendan Daly
Penalty: Adrian Curry
Tries: Jared Braun (2)
Conversion: Keegan Engelbrecht (2)
Penalty: Keegan Engelbrecht
Referee: Josh Houston (Chicago)
Attendance: 300 (estimated)