Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Cal Cup Preview: Life West Gladiators

We've partnered with the Cal Cup this year and as part of that partnership we're re-posting the team by team previews they are putting up on their site. This time it's the Life West Gladiators. The original can be seen here

The Cal Cup is just days away from kicking off. To help fans get prepared for the season of the season we talked with representatives from each of the six teams to find out more about what they expect from the year. In this edition we chatted with Adriaan Ferris from Life West.

Players Added: Naima Fualaau (Peninsula Green), Tavite Lopeti (Peninsula Green), Nua Vete (Toloa Old Boys, Tonga), Siupeli Sakalia (EPA Razorbacks), Mele Ratumaimuri (EPA Razorbacks), Tone Ngaluafe (EPA Razorbacks), Save Muasika (Southland, NZ), Guillaume Casenave (US Colomiers, France), Rich Knight (Sacramento Blackhawks)

Players Subtracted: Fancy Namulauulu, Jay Finau, Niko Lolohea, Maka Tameilau, Sisi Mahoni, Devereaux Ferris, Junior Helu, Nemia Qoro (all Pro Rugby), David Tameilau (Narbonne), Tino Mafi (Football Scholarship @ North Dakota), Anthony Munoz (NZ), Orene Aii (retired)

Take the jump to read more.

Note: No Life West player who played PRO Rugby has been released to play in the Cal Cup for Life West. They have been released to play for SFGG or Olympic Club only, so you will actually see Life West players playing for our competition this season. Naturally, as a club we are disappointed in that decision from PRO Rugby North America. However, the players are professional now and if they are told by their employer to play elsewhere then they have to comply. We have no control over that, we just have to accept it and move on. There is no point whinging about it.

Coaches: Head Coach: Adriaan Ferris, Assistant Coach: Alex Houser, Assistant Coach: Chris O’Brien & Technical Coach: Paul Keeler

Team Leaders: Akuila Uaisele (No. 8), John Austin Colvill (Lock), Suli Holani (Inside Center) & Calvin Nell (Fullback)

Players to Watch: New recruits, Nua Vete and Guillaume Casenave will be interesting to watch. Both have been training well and show they have a strong understanding of the game. We are also excited about the prospects of two young local players who have just graduated high school, Naima Fualaau and Tavite Lopeti. Both players are on the USA U19 team radar and both have big futures in the game. Naima Fualaau has recently returned from a USA 7s Selection Camp at the OTC in Chula Vista, where he has impressed enough to be selected to return for the pre-Dubai Selection Camp.

Our team is made up of many of the players who got us through to the National D1 Semi-Final last season. Some key players include forwards Ben Fano, Zach Tannous, Huluholo Moungaloa, Naibuka Tawake, Charlie Brennan & Captain / No. 8 Akuila Uaisele and in the backs; Tyler Harrison, Calvin Nell, Suli Holani, Josh Drake, Leki Latu, Taniela Vakauta and Tevita Tonga.

Please Describe the Style You Like To Play: Open, expansive and exciting to watch

Warm-up Matches (w/results): A run out with the NorCal Pelicans.

Please offer a paragraph on how you think your team will compete this year including strengths, weakness, and goals: This is a step into the unknown us, being such a new club. The level of competition alone will test our players ability. Playing against more experienced teams and players will require us to front up both physically and mentally but we are looking forward to the opportunity to test ourselves against the very best teams in California. It will give us an opportunity, as a program, to grow. I’m not one to predict the future but I do expect all players to work hard at every training and in all games. So I believe you will see us as being a team who will compete and aren’t afraid to try things. Some things will work and some wont, we will get some things right and we will make some mistakes, however, as long as we have a willingness to compete and give the level of effort we expect from each other, then we should be competitive. Regardless of what happens, I believe you will see us continuously improve from the start of the Cup to the end. 

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