You are here
The Raptors take 67 players for three matches, with the men’s team playing the Seattle Rugby Club and Old Puget Sound Beach, while the Academy take on the Seattle Vikings HS club team.
Glendale Head Coach Mark Bullock, who used to coach and play in the Seattle area, is looking forward to testing his squad.
“We’re going to go up against a Seattle team that has experience in British Columbia, and Old Puget Sound is a good Super League team, so it will be difficult,” he said. “We haven’t had a training session that was above freezing, so getting into some slightly warmer weather will help us. It will give us a chance to work on our decision-making, and simple things like passing and catching.”
The Raptors will leave a couple of players home, namely hooker Josh Sutcliffe and flyhalf Nese Malifa, who is nursing an ankle injury. But he will return Dewon Reed and Mike Joslin, who are coming off injuries and will probably play for the 2nds against Seattle.
Also in the lineup is Chad Slaby, the former Chicago Lions front-rower.
New Raptors making the trip include Nic Johnson, the USA No. 8, and USA wing James Paterson. They will force an intriguing matchup against USA 7s player and loose forward Andrew Durutalo, and longtime USA back Pate Tuilevuka.
It will be a case of power versus power in Johnson and Durutalo, while Paterson and Tuilevuka could hardly be more different as players.
“The team looks solid,” said OPSB Coach and fullback Evan Haigh. “We have few injuries but we are closer to full strength than we were against BYU and UBC.”
Nick Hawkins and Isimeli Daveta return to the team for the first time, strengthening an already impressive, but still under-strength, Beach backline. Up front, Haigh said the pack has made huge strides, thanks in part to the addition of Durutalo, Central Washington grad Kellen Gordon, and former Wisconsin All American Aaron Fry, who is back after time overseas.
“They have added some real depth,” said Haigh, adding that the game as a whole will be “a great test for us they are the reigning Division 1 champs. We know they will bring a lot of power. We are expecting a tough day in both grades.”
Glendale’s 2nd side will have its hands full against a Seattle team that has been playing regularly in the BC leagues.
“This is a great time to have players battle for positions,” added Bullock. “That’s been good because it makes everyone better.”