Week 4 of the Pacific Rugby Premiership.
By Marco Cummings
It will be a clash of titans this weekend when the Glendale Raptors travel to San Francisco to take on the Rhinos of San Francisco Golden Gate (SFGG) on Saturday.
The match pits the 2014 Pacific Rugby Premiership (PRP) Champions against the Raptors, who are the current title holders. Both teams have faced each other in the past two PRP Finals.
“It’s strength versus strength,” Raptors head coach Andre Snyman said. “It’s just another opportunity to play quality rugby at a high level, just like we did in Seattle.”
Both teams enter the match with unblemished 3-0 records, but Glendale will once again feel the toll of travel, making its fourth trip to California in as many weeks. But home field hasn’t proven to be any advantage in the history of this series; each team took a win on the opposing pitch last season.
Additionally, the teams will also be without their full arsenal, with both sides missing USA Eagles due to the ongoing Americas Rugby Championship.
The Rhinos will still provide a formidable challenge, coming off of a recent 36-7 win over Glendale’s rival, the Denver Barbarians last weekend. The Rhinos spread the ball around with six different players finding pay dirt in that match. The Raptors are well aware of the offensive threat.
“They have a good pack of forwards that can set a platform and quality backs that can hurt you,” Snyman explained. “It will be key for us to keep them under pressure and maintain our structures.”
Defense has been key for Glendale throughout the early part of the season with the Raptors having posted their best effort thus far in a 52-0 win over Santa Monica last week; the team’s first shutout of the season.
Regardless of fanfare for this match, it will be important to face it with a cool head, according to Snyman.
“I definitely don’t see it as a grudge match. At least not in this part of the season, it’s still early,” he said. “It’s just another pool game and an opportunity for us to move forward with our goals for the rest of the season.”
The match kicks off at 3pm PT at Ray Sheeran Field on Treasure Island in San Francisco, CA.