DI West Repechage – Life West v. Austin Blacks

DI West Repechage – Life West v. Austin Blacks

Life West Gladiators v. Austin Blacks – Saturday, May 6th, 2017 This past weekend our Gladiators traveled to Austin, Texas to face the second place team from the Red River, the Austin Blacks, in a Division I repechage match. The game was a rematch of last year’s National Semifinal between the Austin Blacks and the Life West Gladiators, and both teams were eager for another chance to test their fortitude on the Austin Blacks’ home pitch. Off the kickoff, the ball was cleared and the Gladiators earned a lineout in the Blacks’ 22. A long throw in lead to a maul 20 meters from the Austin line, and the Gladiator forwards charged forward with little resistance, with hooker Jay Finau picking up the first try of the day . First-five Gui Cazenave easily slotted the conversion and the Gladiators stepped out to an early 7 – 0 lead. In the 11th minute, the Blacks worked their way into the Gladiator half, stringing together several phases towards the goal line. The Life West defense held firm, and earned the turnover off an unplayable ruck. The ball was sent wide from the ensuing scrum to fullback Tyler Harrison, who took it to the halfway line. Quick ball was achieved, and a few phases later right wing Leki Latu took it up and offloaded to Harrison, who streaked down the right side, drew two defenders, and put a deft grubber inside to scrumhalf Devereaux Ferris to score under the posts. Cazenave again handled the conversion, and the score was 14 – 0 after 14 minutes. Off the kickoff, eightman Maka Tameilau broke three tackles and burst upfield,...
Pacific North Top 4 – Life West v. EPA

Pacific North Top 4 – Life West v. EPA

Life West v. EPA Razorbacks – Saturday, April 29th, 2017 Match photos by Bill Thomas here. The last weekend in April also saw the last match of this Pacific North Top 4 playoff. With all spots for the next playoff round filled by SFGG in 1st place and Life West in 2nd, it was an opportunity for Life West to show its depth against a physical EPA side with nothing to lose. The whistle blew for kickoff under the hot sun on Treasure Island, and both teams were out of the gate quick, seeking space out wide early. However ambitious, both teams made some simple mistakes, with four scrums and a few lineouts in the opening period. EPA pushed first into the Life West half with strong pressure, but the Gladiator defense held firm. A few penalties by EPA lead to a strong Gladiator lineout within the EPA 22 in the 9th minute, and a scoring opportunity beckoned. However, EPA held firm, and used the turnover ball to spread it wide and beat the cover defense for a try in the corner one minute later for the opening try. Galvanized, our Gladiators recovered the ball off the kickoff and made good yards through eightman Maka Tameilau. A few phases later, inside center Eugene Faumuina carried three defenders with him over the line for a Gladiator try. EPA kicked it dead off the restart, and scrum half Dev Ferris sent a grubber in behind the EPA defense off the ensuing scrum. The Razorbacks touched it down first for a 22 dropout, which was fielded just inside the Gladiator half by first-five Calvin Nell, who broke...
Pacific North Top 4 – Life West v. Olympic Club

Pacific North Top 4 – Life West v. Olympic Club

Life West v. Olympic Club – Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 Watch the full match here, and find photos from the match by Bill Thomas here. With both Life West and Olympic Club tied on points for second place in this Pacific North Top 4 playoff, the two teams met at St. Mary’s College in what promised to be an exciting and high-energy match. Both teams took the first ten minutes to find their footing, with a handful of turnovers and mistakes on both sides of the ball. But after five minutes, the Gladiators coalesced their shape through a multi-phase attack in the Olympic Club half, with a strong carry from prop Siliveinusi Tomasi finishing the job. In the 10th minute, however, the Olympic flyhalf crossed the whitewash for a 5 – 5 score. The Gladiators continued their pressure, but were tripped up through simple mistakes, with an enterprising break at 13’ through a creative offload from left wing Calvin Nell squandered by a forward pass. With both teams struggling to make headway, it was Olympic who got points in the 20th minute with a penalty in front of the posts. Life West’s next score came at 24’ from a lineout steal in the Olympic 22; the ball was sent wide from the ensuing ruck, and fullback Tyler Harrison stepped inside his defender and scored despite the efforts of the defense to hold him up. The conversion was again unsuccessful, and Life held a slim 10 – 8 lead. Olympic again responded with a strong drive into the Life half, and scored off a maul for a tenuous 3 point lead in the 32nd...
Pacific North Top 4 – Life West v. SFGG

Pacific North Top 4 – Life West v. SFGG

Life West v. SFGG – Saturday, April 15th, 2017  This weekend our Life West Gladiators faced San Francisco Golden Gate in the most important match of the season so far. The Pacific North D1 playoff format consists of a four week round robin; the team with the best record advances to play the Pacific Northwest champion for a spot in Nationals on May 6th. Additionally, the second place team in NorCal will play the Red River #2 in Texas on May 6th for entry to Nationals. The match was a must-win for Life, as each victory is essential for all clubs as tie-breakers may determine who advances farther in the postseason. The week leading up to the match carried rumors of rain, but kickoff at Cal Maritime was beneath a clear sky on a warm spring day. The action started from the first moment, as the Gladiators recovered the kickoff and surged strongly towards the SFGG goaline. Their pressure reaped rewards, as flyhalf Gui Cazenave dummied and scored near the posts in the second minute, taking an early 7 – 0 lead. Cazenave had a brilliant game, showing poise and precision with every decision, as well as producing some wonderful tackles. On the restart, the tension between the two teams spilled over, with Life West scrumhalf Dev Ferris spending 10 minutes in the bin as a result. SFGG answered with a penalty kick from flyhalf Volney Rouse at 9’, then notched its first try to take the lead at 13’. The game kept up a ferocious pace, both sides seeking space on the edges and behind the defense. Blindside flanker...
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,...