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Eight teams converge on Treasure Island this weekend to start the Northern California 7s Series.
The series is the first time in a long time that teams in the area have had to play a qualification series to get to their territorial tournament. This is the first in a three-tournament series that also includes Stanford and Sacramento.
This weekend SFGG hosts the tournament and will lead Pool B, along with the Sacramento Lions. Both teams showed well in a warmup event last weekend. They will be joined by Santa Rosa, a bit of a wild card but a smart, athletic team, and San Jose, who have the pace to shock some teams.
In Pool A, Olympic Club, which is looking to get back into 7s success. They certainly have recruited, as O-Club has CIPP’d 27 players since the beginning of June, including former St. Mary’s captain Andrew Cook, Stanford standout Daniel Ibarra, and former Cal scrumhalf Connor Ring. Justin Henry, another St. Mary’s player, is there, as is Stanford underclassmen Sam Falkenhagen and Mark Shughart. Not all the youngsters will play as if they can unleash Dustin Muhn and Rikus Pretorius, they have some experienced talent.
It’s no cake walk for the Olympic Club, as the East Palo Alto Bulldogs and tear a 7s game apart, and the Diablo Olde Gaels are play a good, hard-nosed, team game. Fresno is eager to upset the cart also.
Certainly SFGG, led by Volney Rouse and Mile Pulu and coached by Jone Naqica, are favorites, but there are teams that could push them.