Players Subtracted: Howard Silioto, Mahe Fangopa, Tim Buchanon, Brent Hamlin, Jack Rowntree, Pita Moala
Coaching Changes: Neil Foote replaces Mark Giacheri who was unable to return as head coach.
Team Leaders: Neill Barrett, Brenden Daly, Volney Rouse, Paula Fukofuka
Players to Watch: Bruce Thomas, Tai Enosa , Patrick Latu and Bendon Daly
Warm-up Matches: St. Mary’s, won 44-3
For nearly the second year in a row San Francisco Golden Gate almost beat the Glendale Raptors at Infinity Park for the championship. Unfortunately for the club they were unable to recreate the heroics of 2014 and finished runners-up. For this year the goal is clear. “Goal wise we are looking at being in the championship game in May,” said Bruce Thomas. “But we’re working hard at performance goals week to week. Want to have styles we can adapt to opposition. Want to be best defensive team in PRP.”
Their defensive ability has been on full display the last few seasons. They held their opponents to a league low last year while at the same time scoring the most points. In all it they had many wins turn into lopsided wins. At the same time, they let themselves down on a few occasions with two losses and two draws. It’s something that Thomas says the team is focusing on this year. “We need to be better conditioned and improve our overall performance. Need to become an 80 minute team.”
The team will once again rely on the likes of Tai Enosa, Brendan Daly, Mile Pulu, PRP leading try scorer Pila Huihui, and overall leading scorer Volney Rouse. That is going to allow them to play an expansive style of rugby where they can attack from multiple areas of the field. Once the team gets going and on the right page they are hard to stop.
Coming into the team this year is Spanish international Fernando Dominguez, Luke Watson from Cal, Adrian Curry and Kadin Te Nana from New Zealand, and Mark Bowers from St. Mary’s. Out of the side are influential players Howard Silioto and Pita Moala as well as some back line depth. Patrick Latu should help with the loss of Silioto but it’s going to be up to the back line replacements to keep the continuity.
Straight from the start SFGG will be challenged against Belmont Shore in the opening weekend. Then it’s Santa Monica, Denver, Glendale, and Olympic Club before the break for the Vegas 7s. That match against Glendale looms large with whoever wins that match being in a strong position for the rest of the season.