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So preparing for their season opener against Los Angeles is a new challenge for the club and Head Coach Eugene Mountjoy.

“The schedule has taken away from our preparation time,” said Mountjoy, whose team made it to the national Round of 16 in 2012 before being edged by the Austin Blacks. “I think all the coaches agree how tough it is to get started for the season and to get guys fit in December. Fitness is going to be a big issue.”

Mountjoy has had his players on a rigorous fitness and conditioning program during the offseason, but the holiday season usually puts a dent in those plans, and now it’s game time.

“You have to think about the entire season and how you handle the periodization,” said Mountjoy. “There’s no need to peak in January. You need to peak in the first weekend of June. But at the same time, you do have to come out of the gate strong.”

Mountjoy said his players look good, but some need work. Several promising young players have been brought up from colleges and youth programs to play on the 2nd side – OMBAC will likely need their services at some point during the season.

The club is making a push to recruit from young Polynesian athletes in the area, and that initiative is beginning to bear fruit.

Returning are veterans such as flyhalf Zach Pangelinan, flanker Joe Fontana, scrumhalf Ryan Claros, center Damien Fatongia and the entire front row of CHike Outlaw, Troy Donoghue and Justin Roberts.

In addition, OMBAC has beefed up their second row with AJ Harmon transferring from the Tacoma area, and Tai Tuisamoa is a key returner at No. 8.

Duncan Kelm remains out with injury, while Martin Knudsen went to South Africa to a rugby academy.

Pangelinan is slated to be the flyhalf, but he might be absent playing 7s with the USA if things go well for him there. He is still young, but he’s been around a while and has good chemistry with Claros at #9.

So it’s a fairly stable team, with most of the recruiting being for depth in the guise of youngsters on the B side.

“We are not a team of a few stars, but a complete team where everyone works hard,” said Mountjoy. “We will need a total team effort. We also have to fix our defense and get more physicao.”

But in the end, it’s all about timing.

“Last year we peaked too early,” said Mountjoy. “It’s a long season, and we have to work toward peaking at the right time.”

OMBAC 2011-2012 Season

League Record: 4-5 (4th)

Round of 32: 37-25 over Olympic Club

Round of 16: Lost 22-20 to Austin Blacks

COnsolation: 31-29 over Santa Monica