You are here
The Glendale Raptors have been begging for a good league to play in.
For the Colorado team, the existence of the Pacific Rugby Premiership was much more than just finding good competition. The Raptors are funded by the City of Glendale, with the rugby-specific stadium at the center of the tiny municipality in the middle of Denver.
But if there's no compelling league to play in, fans won't be interested. And so it was with great relief that the Raptors helped form the PRP, and then even more so that they won their first game, coming back from 9-3 down to beat Olympic Club.
For captain and hooker Zach Fenoglio, it all just took time to adjust.
"We felt that overall we were playing well for our first game back in over three months," Fenoglio told. "We were making some simple mistakes and tried to force it at times. At half we talked about how we needed to simplify our approach and work on keeping possession. We weren't getting the ball moving smoothly from each breakdown so we harped on better support all around."
The result was a 27-17 victory in a game where, behind or ahead, Glendale didn't give up a try until the 79th minute.
All of this is exactly what the Raptors wanted, and what everyone else wanted, too.
"The new PRP is an amazing step for rugby in the US," enthused Fenoglio. "To have highly competitive games week-in and week-out is massive for the growth of the sport and the development of our athletes. It has been going great so far just in the first week and I know we are all very excited and honored to play in this elite competition."
The positive start for Glendale is more impressive because they lost halfbacks Shaun Davies and Ata Malifa, who moved to Life University and Denver Barbarians, respectively.
Fenoglio said it's never easy to lose high-quality players, but any club has to be able to adjust.
"We have relied on depth, bringing in new faces, and developing younger guys to step froward," said the former Loyola Marymount All American. "Glendale is still a very young club in the bigger picture, so we are working to continue to develop a strong club culture to build off."