Sacramento Calif. – Old Puget Sound visits the Sacramento Lions Rugby Club this weekend in a huge NorCal DI club clash.
The game will be part of a big day of rugby, as Sacramento rugby fans will be able to enjoy a number of competitive rugby matches throughout the day, including U-10 and U-12 youth matches, a boy’s middle school match, and two competitive high school matchups leading up to the main event.
“This weekend should be an exciting rugby venue that is really focused on developing the game at the youth levels,” said Lions manager and event coordinator Aaron Frederick. “We want to encourage participation in rugby at all ages, and this Saturday will provide players and fans alike with a wonderful opportunity to witness the sport at every age level. We are incredibly excited and think this event will really showcase the development, growth, and competitive spirit of rugby in the Sacramento region.”
Starting at 9AM and going until noon, U10 and U12 youth games will be played between the Sacramento Hurricanes, Sacramento Islanders, and Bowling Green Rugby Club. The attendance for these youth rugby clubs has been very high and over 75 kids are expected to participate in the youth rugby matches this Saturday.
Also kicking off on the main field will be a boy’s high school matchup between the Sacramento Hurricanes and the Davis Blue Devils. The Sacramento Hurricanes are the first youth rugby program established in the North Sacramento area. Located in a somewhat rougher area of Sacramento, the Hurricanes have established quite the competitive reputation in only one season and have instituted three teams from youth to middle school to high school in their inaugural season. The high school team is able to draw local talent from Grant High School, which has been frequently showcased for their many football achievements in recent years. With plenty of great competition in the area, the Hurricanes have made it a goal to become one of the top teams in the Sacramento area in the near future.
At 10:30 AM, the Sacramento Hurricanes Middle School side will kick off against the Sheriff’s Community Impact Program (SCIP) side. SCIP is a local middle school program run by the Sacramento Sherriff’s department. Both of these teams are in their inaugural season and will square up in a full-contact match for local bragging rights at the junior high level.
At noon, the Sacramento Amazons girl’s high school team will face off against the Pleasanton Cavaliers. The Sacramento Amazons have traditionally been one of the powerhouses in girl’s high school rugby. After winning the 2010 Girls High School Championship, the Amazons are looking to re-claim their spot at the top and this weekend will provide another opportunity to showcase their talent against an admirable opponent.
To cap off all of the action, the Sacramento Lions will host the Old Puget Sound Beach Rugby Club out of Seattle, WA. The game will kick-off at 1:30 PM. In what is a critical league matchup for the Lions, OPSB needs to win this game in order to finish ahead of the Lions in run for the playoffs. Led by USA players Mike Palefau and Miles Craigwell, and with a solid forward pack front by prop Oliver Kilifi and No. 8 Matt Trouville, they are imposing, and we haven’t even mentioned many of their star players.
The winner of this game will likely have home field advantage for the crossover playoffs with Southern California.
With a significant Fijian influence on both sides, this match should provide some fast-paced flare and hard-hitting action. Former Fijian national team captain, Iferemie Tawake, is now coaching the Sacramento Lions and has expressed his excitement for this weekend’s match, as he will be facing Emosi Vucago, and his former teammate and (still) friend and OPSB coach Waisale Serevi.
“Puget Sound is a very talented team and will play a fast-paced game. If we don’t stop them early, they can do a lot of damage,” said Tawake. “I believe the Lions are up for the challenge and can compete with the best teams in the country. We need to be disciplined and focused on our goals, and I believe we can win games when we do that. This will be an exciting match and the players on each team know each other which will add to the competitive nature of the game.”
“This weekend should be a thrilling one for Sacramento rugby,” added Fredrick. “A few years ago, there were no events like this in Sacramento outside of the kick-off tournament. It really is a testament to the sport and how much rugby has grown in a short amount of time. As we continue to discuss ways to improve the sport at the highest levels of elite rugby, we can’t lose site that it all begins with the kids. The men’s club match-up will be great, but it is something special to see the excitement that the youth get out of the sport of rugby. This weekend will certainly continue that rugby tradition of teamwork and camaraderie and the Sacramento Lions are thrilled to be a part of it.”