By Austin Brewin
Both teams had been eager for this encounter between the league leaders. Life suffered their only loss to the undefeated SFGG Gold early in the competition. The game was played at an intense pace, with some outstanding defense by both teams. Just a minute after the start, VOLNEY ROUSE opened the scoring with a 35 meter penalty kick. Life got momentum after the restart, moved the ball near the SFGG goal and spent the next 7 minutes attacking from inside the 20. The SFGG defense stood firm and kept Life off the board. SFGG finally moved the ball down the field with DANNY LAPREVOTTE taking a quick tap on a penalty, hooking up with NEILL BARRETT who took a tackle forcing a holding on penalty – this taken by Wing PILA HUIHUI who advanced to the 5 meter line and it was Life’s turn to defend.
At the 15 minute mark, Northern California referee Tim Lew sent one of the Life backs to the sin bin with a Yellow Card for tackling a man in the air fielding a kick.
Life defended well for the next 6 minutes, but HUIHUI picked up a ball from a ruck and beat the defenders for a try in the open side corner. ROUSE converted to finish the scoring for the first half – but not the hard physical attack and defend for each side. Man of the Match AUKUILA PEPE UAISELE was key during this first half while the scrums were feeling each other out. He was able to turn difficult ball into attacking ball and keep the pressure on the Life defense.
When play resumed, SFGG kicked off and were able to regain possession. At 53 minutes, Scrum Half COLBY STEVENS fed replacement LANGILANGI HAUPEAKUI who brushed off the defending back and raced under the posts for 5 points. After ROUSE’s conversion, SFGG took a commanding lead 17 – 0.
The intense, defense dominated game continued – ROUSE intercepted a pass as Life was pressing and streaked down the sideline untouched to add another converted try at 60 minutes.
BARRETT made a noble attempt to keep a ball out of touch and in play minutes later – in so doing encountered several Life defenders, sideline people, AR John Coppinger and the Sheeran Field west side chain link fence. This all resulted in a Yellow Card – followed by another Yellow to HUIHUI at 70 minutes for hands in the ruck. Taking advantage – Life pressed their advantage and got on the board with a converted try at 79 minutes to end the scoring SFGG 24 – Life 7.
Coach NEILL FOOTE was pleased with the effort. “It was the best game we have had in 2 years. We played to our basic pattern, used our field position intelligently, and supported well. The defense was outstanding. Centers EAE OKUSI and SONE PONE shut down that lane, and we had men in position for every threat. Lock NICK GRASS took great advantage of the new Life lineout personnel to give us ab attacking platform. Also, having PILA IONGI return to fullback bodes well as we move toward the championship and beyond. TOM ROOKE and BRENDAN DALY will be back soon. All his fans will be pleased to learn that Coach GRENT WELLS is recovering from his torn bicep – out of the cast and following his rehab instructions as best he can.
We will continue to move players around, getting some time to rest and recover next week against EPA, then have Life again on the 15th (? At Cal Maritime Academy field?)”
SFGG Green 0 lost to SANTA ROSA 50
SFGG Green, 18 men strong, traveled to Santa Rosa to endure another loss in the widely disparate Division 1. The men were ready to go, but suffered from some poor tackling and disorganized defense on the perimeters. The forwards again played well and got into solid phase play, but the turnovers overcame and the talented Santa Rosa men had a good afternoon. CHANCE had a good afternoon, but not enough. Next week calls for another long day on the road – we travel to play the Sacramento Lions.