Season Update – Pacific North D1 – Top Four Playoff

Season Update – Pacific North D1 – Top Four Playoff

Pacific North Playoff Update Life West v. Olympic Club – 04/08/17 Saturday found the Life West Gladiators on Treasure Island, facing Olympic Club for the first time in this Pacific North D1 playoff. They started well in the 3rd minute through a strong surge by Tavite Lopeti, but the Gladiators were turned over at the ruck for holding on. Olympic Club capitalized on their advantage through a set piece try, pushing ahead 0 – 5 in the starting five minutes. Life responded through a Moni Tongauiha try from a five-meter scrum in the 9th minute, tying the game 5 – 5. Following this fast-paced opening ten minutes, both teams tried to settle into their patterns and find holes in their opponents defenses. However, both teams were unable to get into a proper rhythm, and it wasn’t until the 27th minute that a period of sustained Olympic Club pressure on the Gladiator’s goal line led to a try, 5 – 12. Just before the half, fullback Tyler Harrison picked up a try through a quick tap by hooker Jay Finau, who offloaded to captain Zach Bonte for a strong carry. Bonte fed the ball out to Harrison, who dotted down 15m from touch. Half time: Life West 10 – 12 Olympic Club After the half-time break, both teams came out looking for momentum and a foothold over their opposites. It was Olympic Club who struck first at 53′ with a penalty in front of the posts, pushing out to a 10 – 15 lead. A yellow card to flanker Naibuka Tawake further galvanized the Olympic side, and they held a period of sustained pressure in the Life West 22. However, a wayward pass was scooped up...
Pacific North Top 4 – Life West v. EPA

Pacific North Top 4 – Life West v. EPA

This weekend marked the beginning of the Pacific North Top 4 playoff, with our Gladiators hosting the East Palo Alto Razorbacks at Sunset Park in Hayward. Every point will matter in the journey towards regional playoffs. With the Gladiatrix taking the weekend off, all focus was on our Gladiators as they stepped on the pitch under a warm Hayward sun. Despite recent rain, the pitch was firm underfoot, allowing for quick ball and flowing attack. Every match against EPA has been an aggressive and physical contest, and Saturday proved to be no exception. Life struck first in the opening period, with hooker Jay Finau dotting down off a rolling maul from a 5m lineout. Fly-half Gui Cazenave, ever reliable from the boot, put the conversion on a string and Life stepped out with a 7 – 0 lead. Off the restart, EPA turned the ball over and earned a penalty in front of the post when Life infringed at the ruck. EPA’s Taniela Vakauta slotted the penalty easily in the 8th minute. In the 13th minute, after a period of sustained pressure, Vakauta had another chance at goal. He struck it well but it bounced off the post, leaving the score 7 – 3 after the first quarter-hour. A few minutes later EPA scored in the corner through a fortuitous grubber, but were unable to convert. Our Gladiators responded vehemently, as scrum half Devereaux Ferris took a quick tap from a penalty and took it 40m upfield. A few phases later, Life made it over the EPA line but were held up. The ball was sent blind from the ensuing scrum,...
03/18 Match Report & Top 4 Playoffs Preview

03/18 Match Report & Top 4 Playoffs Preview

Both our men’s and women’s team had matches this weekend, our Gladiatrix against SF Golden Gate, and our Gladiators against the Sacramento Lions. Gladiatrix The first match of the day was first-place Gladiatrix v. second-place SF Golden Gate, with SFGG being their only real competition so far this season. Although overcast, the pitch was firm underfoot, and running rugby was in the cards for the Trix. After a slow first 20 minutes, our Trix began to assert their dominance in defense and used their set piece and open play to spread opened up SFGG with five tries in ten minutes, including two by Jordan Gray, one through a brilliant kick return by Mirelle Raza, and one though a classic Cameo Motley 60-meter sprint. At the half, they lead 43 — 0. They carried their momentum though the break, scoring off the kickoff through Mata Hingano, who picked up six tries on the day. Following the conversion by Nastasha Pedjase, the Trix secured the ball again on the kickoff. One minute later, they got the ball through a massive scrum, and Mele Taumoefolau ran forty meters for the try. Their set piece steadily improving through the day, the Trix stole an SFGG 5-meter lineout in the 58th minute and returned it for a try at the other end, again through Mata, her third of the day. Two minutes later they demolished the Golden Gate scrum and scored in the corner though Mirelle Raza, putting the Gladiatrix up 77 — 0. They were relentless. Again off the kickoff, the ball was sent wide to Amy Naber, who hit centre Hali Deters on...
NorCal D1 Midseason Report

NorCal D1 Midseason Report

With both Life West Men’s and Women’s team’s taking a mid-season break from their D1 season for the Las Vegas Sevens, it is an ideal time to take a quick look back at their season to date and then preview the rest of the season, including post-season playoffs. Gladiators With the Gladiators fresh off a strong California Cup campaign where they were beaten finalists, losing 26-22 against OMBAC on January 21, 2017. The Adriaan Ferris coached team moved straight into the Northern California D1 season play the following week with a close fought 30-27 victory over East Palo Alto Razorbacks. Buoyed by this success, they moved on to play a rejuvenated San Francisco Golden Gate side at their home field on Treasure Island. Life West took an early lead through a try by Cal Cup MVP, scrumhalf Devereaux Ferris. Despite a new look side taking the field against SFGG, the result didn’t go the Gladiators way, failing 35-19 against a strong Gate side. Coach Ferris was positive in his reflection of the D1 season to date stating “whilst we were happy with how we performed in the Cal Cup, the D1 season is now our focus and we are a new side with some exciting young players”. Coach could well be referring to 23 year old 8-man, Maka Tameilau, younger brother of USA Eagle and fellow Gladiator Tevita Tameilau, who now plays for Narbonne in France in the Pro D2 league. Maka has been a revelation after a positional switch from prop to Number 8. Coach Ferris noted “he is big, strong, fast and skillful. He has great vision...
Life West’s Naima Fualaau accepted into USA 7’s Residency program

Life West’s Naima Fualaau accepted into USA 7’s Residency program

Life West Rugby’s growing reputation as a program that develops talent grew this week with the placement of 18 year-old Maanaima (Naima) Fualaau in USA 7’s full time residency program. Fualaau will be the youngest player at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center (EATC) and will integrate with the current US 7s residents there. The Hayward, CA resident has enjoyed a rapid rise over the past 12 months, playing U19 rugby for the Peninsula Green Beavers before taking a step up to join Life West’s Elite side in the inaugural California Cup this winter. The youngster has distinguished himself as a talented playmaker with good game sense. Life West Head Coach and former NZ Under 20 Selector, Adriaan Ferris said, “Naima has attracted the attention of Mike (Friday) and Chris (Brown) –  USA 7 Coaches, with his skill set and potential. He is a natural playmaker who creates space for others and is fast and evasive. I’m pleased to see USA Rugby investing in him to see his future potential realized.” The support from the Life West community has been instrumental in helping Naima reach his goal of one day playing for the US National team. As Ferris notes, “the philosophy we have at Life West is to provide what is best for a player’s development, and to create opportunities for our players to play at the highest level”. “I am excited for the chance to train in a full time environment with Olympic athletes and the full-time US rugby players,” said Fualaau on the morning of his selection. “I think I have a great feel for the...