Life West Rugby took another step towards the National Play Offs with both their Men and Women’s programs.
Commonly known as the Gladiators and Gladiatrix respectively, both sides stormed to victory in the Northern California league semi-finals on Saturday, April 16th at St Mary’s College in Moraga, California.
Kicking off the first game of the day in perfect Northern California sunshine, the Gladiators played a formidable Sacramento Lions side, a team with a vast play off experience. In their earlier season clash, the Gladiators got home by a small margin victory of 14-10, so going into Saturday’s game expectations were already set for it to be intense.
Life West scored in the opening stanza of the game by a well-worked try to left wing Leki Latu. After receiving the opening kick off, abrasive hooker, Tino Mafi, ran the ball to the line and his exceptional foot work allowed him to penetrate through the defense and passed the ball to live wire full back Anthony Munoz. Speedster Munoz, changed his line of attack to evade the Sacramento defense then passed off to try scorer Latu. who ran unopposed and scored the try under the posts. The try was converted by 2nd quarter student Tyler Harrison.
The rest of the half was a competitive affair with the Lions dotting down twice before another Life West try was awarded in the corner. The conversion was missed but the Gladiators went ahead 15-14 with a short-range penalty kick to Harrison.
Turning with the wind at their backs, the Life West Gladiators upped their work rate and intensity and finished the game strong to win 37-26.
Head Coach and Athletics Director, Adriaan Ferris, praised the effort of his team and knew both sides had to work hard towards victory. Ferris stated, “Sacramento Lions play an abrasive style. They have power up front and a strong running game. We matched up physically and played to the conditions.”
The Gladiators will soon face bay rivals EPA Razorbacks in the finals of the Northern California Championship on Saturday, April 23, 2016 at Treasure Island in San Francisco, California.
With the women’s team, the Life West Gladiatrix proved far too strong for the Berkeley All Blues, one of USA’s traditional powerhouse programs. The Gladiatrix strolled to victory with a winning score of 74-10. The game, despite the score line, was far more competitive in the first half than the final result showed. The ‘Trix were put under pressure early from a committed All Blues forward pack and succumbed to an early lead after the All Blues forwards drove over for a try in the fifth minute of the game. Twenty minutes into the game, the score was 17-10 to the Gladiatrix. But within ten more minutes, the ‘Trix got into their groove. It was open traffic from there to finish first.
To learn more about the rugby schedule or program, please visit them online at www.lifewestrugby.com.