PRO Rugby Week 4: San Francisco-San Diego & Sacramento-Ohio

May 7, 2016

PRO Rugby Week 4:  San Francisco-San Diego & Sacramento-Ohio

Doug Coil

PRO Rugby week four action will take place in Northern California as San Francisco hosts San Diego at 3pm PT and Sacramento does the same at 5pm PT against Ohio. Both matches are broadcast on ONE World Sports and streamed live on AOL.

Last week saw Denver keeping its undefeated streak alive with a 22-16 win over previously undefeated San Diego, while Ohio unleashed its potent offense winning 51-17 against San Francisco. After three weeks, Denver is in first place and has a bye week, but will be watching the other teams.

This is a week that a bonus point win by Ohio, San Diego or Sacramento could narrow the point gap between Denver and the other teams. San Francisco also will be looking to gain its first win in front of a home crowd.


San Francisco v San Diego

San Francisco has been trying to find the right player combinations to gain their first win. They have made three changes in the starting XV, but have made a number of positional changes, especially in the backs.

In the forwards, Jay Finau will be the hooker and Alex Bowman enters at Lock. Sam Finau and Siupeli Sakalia switch sides at Flanker.

In the backs, Nick Blevins returns at outside center and will team with Orene Ai’i  at inside center. Volney Rouse moves to flyhalf, Martini Tulapusi to Fullback and Jake Anderson to wing. The only backs that remain in their same position as last week are Michael Reid at scrumhalf and Pila Longi at wing.

San Diego has shuffled their lineup against San Francisco with seven player changes and a position change, as Phil MacKenzie shifts from center to wing. Four of the changes were made in the forwards as Tim Barford starts at hooker, Kakalea Pule at prop, Tai Tuisamoa at Lock and Chris Turori at Flanker.

In the backs, Tom Bliss will be the scrumhalf, Andrew Suniula the inside center and Taku Ngwenya will make his presence felt at wing. Reserves will also include Joe Taufete’e and Arnold Meredith.

Look for San Francisco to play a running rugby match. Last week they sacrificed a couple of potential penalty kicks to run plays. San Diego will not do the same, as Kurt Morath is a very accurate kicker. San Francisco also are punishing tacklers.

San Diego has exhibited excellent cover defense. They are quick to the ball and teams need to exploit gaps when they are found. San Diego has a back line that only became stronger with Taku Ngwenya and Andrew Suniula. Look for San Diego to swing the ball from touchline to touchline in an effort to wear down San Francisco. By doing so, they expect gaps will be able to be penetrated.

San Francisco: 1. Niko Lolohea 2 Jay Finau 3 Patrick Latu (captain) 4 Richard Knight 5 Alex Bowman 6 Sam Finau 7 Siupeli Sakalia 8 David Tameilau 9 Michael Reid 10 Volney Rouse 11 Jake Anderson 12 Orene Ai’i 13 Nick Blevins 14 Pila Longi 15 Martini Talapusi 16 Codi Jones 17 Fancy Namulau’ulu 18 Maka Tameilau 19 Junior Helu 20 Charles Mateo 21 Jack O’Hara 22 Naibuka Tawake 23 TBA Coaches: Head Coach – Paul Keeler Assistant Coaches: Adriaan Ferris, Simon Fathers

San Diego: 1 Hubert Buydens 2 Tim Barford 3 Kakalea Pule 4 David Dolinar 5 Tai Tuisamoa 6 Chris Turori 7 Cecil Garber 8 Sione Tuihalamaka 9 Tom Bliss 10 Kurt Morath 11 Phil Mackenzie 12 Andrew Suniula 13 Ryan Matyas 14 Takudzwa Ngwenya 15 Mikey Te’o 16 Joe Taufete’e 17 Mason Petersen 18 Epi Kalamani 19 Nikola Bursic 20 Arnold Meredith 21 Charlie Purdon 22 Kalei Konrad 23 Tim Stanfill Coaches: Head Coach – Ray Egan Assistant Coaches: Matt Hawkins, Rob Hoadley Manager: Sean Lindersmith

Sacramento v Ohio

Last week Sacramento had a bye week and could focus on the challenge of meeting Ohio this week. They have an excellent group of forwards, especially in set pieces. The only forward change from their last match will be Langilangi Haupeakui at eight-man. Matt Doubek is available as a reserve.

Two other changes of the starting XV are in the backs, as Nemia Qoro will be the outside center and Ryan Keowler is at wing.

Ohio clicked on all cylinders last week and has made one change in their starting XV, as Chris Kunkel enters at fullback.

Ohio did make a few changes in their reserves as Dylan Fawsitt recently joined the club. Chad Joseph, Alex Elkins and Ryan McTiernan will also wait to contribute when needed.

Sacramento: 1 Val Lee-Lo 2 Ray Barkwill 3 Ollie Kilifi 4 Robert Meeson 5 Sione Sina 6 Kyle Sumsion 7 John Quill (C) 8 Langilangi Haupeakui 9 Chris Saint 10 Garrett Brewer 11 Joeli Tikoisua 12 Mirco Bergamasco 13 Nemia Qoro 14 Ryan Keowler 15 Ryan Thompson 16 Matt Doubek 17 Toke Kefu 18 Kali Tavake 19 Sione Latu 20Estaphan Tuimassanga 21 Jope Motokana 22 Fatai Vailala 23 Alipate Takiveikala Coaches: Head Coach – Luke Gross Assistant Coaches: Kevin Battle, Fred Waititi

Ohio: 1 Angus MacLellan 2 Peter Malcolm 3 Jamie Mackintosh 4 Pierce Dargan 5 Kyle Baillie 6 Filippo Ferrarini 7 Matt Hughston 8 Sebastián Kalm 9 Shaun Davies 10 JP Eloff 11 Mason Baum 12 Roland Suniula 13 Ahmad Harajly 14 Aaron “Spike” Davis 15 Chris Kunkel 16 Dylan Fawsitt 17 Demecus Beach 18 Dom Pezzutti 19 Chad Joseph 20 Alan Hanson 21 Robbie Shaw 22 Alex Elkins 23 Ryan McTiernan Coaches: Head Coach-Paule Barford Assistant Coaches: Paul Holmes, Eamonn Hogan Manager: Tom Rooney

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