By Marco Cummings
GLENDALE – If it seems like a case of déjà vu, then it probably is. For the third-straight season the Glendale Raptors will face San Francisco Golden Gate for a shot at the Pacific Rugby Premiership (PRP) title this weekend at Infinity Park.
The stage was set earlier this month when a makeup game between the two sides saw SFGG defeat a reeling Raptors squad to secure its spot in the final after a rough start.
With players returning from the Professional Rugby Organization (PRO) League however, the Raptors now find themselves better equipped and prepared for another rematch.
“It’s nice to have them here,” Snyman said. “We’ve had them for a few training sessions before the Final, so they’re really going to slot in nicely.”
One of the players returning to the side is longtime team captain Zach Fenoglio. The Raptors skipper is glad to be welcomed back to his hometown team with open arms.
“It’s never easy when players are coming back and forth but it is a true testament to the depth and culture that Andre has built with this team that it is truly a next man up mentality,” Fenoglio said. “However, with that being said, all of us PRO players are proud Glendale Raptors and we will always be Glendale Raptors. To get to play for the team under Andre and the coaching staff with these amazing players is a true honor and privilege.”
While a trip to the PRP Final has become almost routine for Glendale, the feeling remains nonetheless something special for the team’s players, who remain excited to defend their 2015 crown.
Explained Fenoglio, “To be back to the final for the third time is a great honor and we are excited for the opportunity to get to be together for another week.”
For Snyman, the focus has been primarily to rest up bodies and prepare his team mentally after a grueling regular season campaign.
“SFGG is a physical team and a well-coached team,” Snyman said of the opponent. “They have some really good athletes so we just have to show composure, not get flustered and have patience. We have to create opportunities and when we do create scoring opportunities we need to take them. We’ve got to be clinical in execution.”
Another win this weekend could cement RugbyTown, USA as “Title Town”…at least when it comes to the sport of rugby.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at the gate or online. If purchased online before 5:00pm MT on Friday, each ticket is discounted by a dollar.