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The Pacific Rugby Premiership league-leaders SFGG have a week off, which they likely will welcome as the games for everyone this season have been very hard.
“The whole point was to get these difficult games every week, and that’s what we’ve got,” said SFGG flanker and club president Bruce Thomas. “Guys are feeling it, though.”
So that opens the door for someone to gain some ground, as long as the weather cooperates. The teams that could make a move might be the winner of the Belmont Shore v OMBAC game in Long Beach, Calif.
Shore has done well to combine their big boys up front and some shifty runners out wide. But they have been vulnerable to some breakaway tries as their pack has been slow to get back on D. OMBAC, meanwhile, has enjoyed plenty of points from flyhalf Zach Pangelinan (leading the league with 52), and a few nifty plays from flanker Alex Henderson and Shane Moise, and the try-scoring of Chris Clever, but they must be frustrated at not getting any four-try bonus points. That puts OMBAC in the galling position of being 2-1, but behind 1-3 Santa Monica, which has almost maxed out on bonus tallies.
Belmont Shore can move to 1st with a victory.
However, heavy rains are expected all along the West Coast Friday night, and that could mean no game.
Whether that game is played or not, then the top part of the standings could be crowded indeed, as the Glendale Raptors host their first home game of the season, against Santa Monica. That game will be streamed live starting at 3:15pm Mountain Time here. Glendale will have Chad London and Zach Fenoglio back, and they will be happy about that. Without Fenoglio at hooker, their lineout misfired a few times, and London adds an extra attacking dimension (not to take anything away from Preston Bryant, Just Pauga, et al) in the backs.
Glendale remains without Brett Willis, who is serving a five-game suspension for reckless/dangerous play.
Santa Monica have the league’s top try-scorers in Dave Martini (seven tries), and if he’s not scoring, Martial Chaput is. But they seem to suffer some key defensive problems at inopportune moments, hence the three close losses.
This game is also under a weather threat, although not to the extent that we'd see it called off. It will snow, or maybe freezing drizzle, in the Glendale/Denver area, which will likely be advantageous to Glendale, who are more used to that type of weather.
And finally, 0-3 Olympic Club takes on 0-3 Denver. Neither team has been out of the games they’ve played in. Olympic has a nice maul and looks good in set piece, but their backline remains a group of effective individuals, not a unit. Denver is much the same. Which team puts the pieces of the puzzle together will win Saturday.
Neither O-Club nor Denver is out of it, as this is a long season of 12 games, so losing your first three doesn’t end your campaign. But a victory would help one of these teams a lot.
Olympic Club has lost Tim Maupin to the USA 7s team, while Denver has some players coming back. Tommy Pasque is back after being unable to play two weeks ago. Taylor Howden is moving back to flyhalf and Max de Achaval back to fullback as they straighten out other injuries. Guest player Ben Pinkelman from Colorado State will likely start in the forwards as he has been impressive.
Belmont Shore v OMBAC
Glendale Raptors v Santa Monica
Olympic Club v Denver Barbarians