This week we catch up with the increasingly powerful Life West Rugby program. The Hayward, CA based team benefits from being linked to the Life West Chiropractic College. Not to be confused or associated with the Life Running Eagles from Atlanta, that for many years, under the guidance of now, USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne, challenged at the highest level of Elite Mens Club rugby.
Life West have steadily grown over the last five years, winning a D2 Championship in the process and reaching the final of the 2017 California Cup, defeating Bay Area rivals SFGG Rugby twice in the process. Having been able to secure some highly accomplished professional players over the years including Nili Latu (currently Newcastle Falcons & Tonga) and Orene Ai’i (NZ 7s, Super Rugby and Top 14), demonstrates the impressive caliber of the LW program and its aspirations. Life West is not only a mens program, but also has a power house womens program, who most recently won the 2017 D1 Championship. Adriaan Ferris, the former Northland Rugby DOR (NZ), is the man in the hot seat for the LW program. Fulfilling the role of school Athletic Director and Head Coach to the Mens PRP team.
How has early pre-season has gone?
We have been working well since early December with an enlarged squad and will look to refine the team closer to the first round. A number of players are working hard and putting their hand up for selection in our elite squad.
Initial approach to pre-season? Fitness? Structures? Skills?
Naturally, conditioning at this time of the year is important as we need to establish high levels of conditioning to play the style of game we want to this season.
Any games already played? How did they go? Work on?
We haven’t played any games during the preseason and will rely on inter-squad scrimmages and high intensity trainings to replicate game-like conditions. This is not an ideal build up and we will have to adapt quickly in the first few rounds of the season.
Other pre-season games? Goals for those games?
A rough player in/player out report? Leaders?
Our squad remains largely the same as last year. Although, we will be without last year’s Cal Cup Co-MVP Devereaux Ferris (halfback) and Huluholo Moungaloa (prop) for 3 or 4 rounds of the competition as they assemble for the Eagles ARC campaign. Naturally, they will be a loss for us during the early rounds but we will have to adapt.
We welcome back specialist openside flanker, Charlie Brennan to the team after injury kept him out of the 2017 season.
Naibuka Tawake, Zack Bonte, Jay Finau, Devereaux Ferris and Martini Talapusi will form our leadership group this season.
Coaching staff in/out?
Former US Eagle Flyhalf, Nese Malifa has joined the coaching staff at Life West to assist skill development and he will work on our attack systems. Alex Houser remains as Assistant Coach.
LW certainly have the coaching staff, facilities and resources in place to compete with all of the teams in this years PRP. It will be exciting to see if the squad can cement some of the winning form that helped them be so successful in the 2017 Cal Cup.