Preseason exhibition pleases
Two powerhouses of American rugby took to the field this weekend when the Glendale Raptors traveled to Seattle to face the Seattle Saracens.
While the results produced a mixed bag for the visitors, it was a positive experience overall for Glendale, who used the weekend’s action as a tune up for the club’s upcoming season.
The day began with a victory for the Glendale women, with a 13-0 shutout of the Saracens.
“Seattle is a good team,” Raptors co-captain Rachel Ryan said post-match. “They’re a strong opponent and they’re in their season right now so we couldn’t take them lightly.”
Yet while the Raptors women were able to overcome offseason form, the Raptors Pacific Rugby Premiership men’s side was unable to follow suit, losing 20-14 after jumping out to a 14-0 lead on the road.
“Obviously the result of the game was not what we wanted. The scoreboard was not in our favor but I’m very happy with the way the boys played. It was their first game since May and there was a lot of positives,” Raptors head coach Andre Snyman said. “I think the new guys slotted in really well. It’s a really good platform to build off of. Seattle is in the middle of their season and they’re a well-coached side.”
Snyman was satisfied with a trio of performances from Hanco Germishuys, James Del Bozque and Chad London. Like Ryan in the women’s match Del Bozque earned Raptors player of the match honors.
“We were playing a little frantic,” Del Bozque said. “Seattle is a great club and I think we did really well.”
It was a strong performance considering a considerable size advantage held by the Saracens.
“The only concern I had was [in the scrum],” explained Snyman. “We knew going into it that we were a little lighter than them by about 100kg (220lbs) as a whole. We weren’t as dominant as we would’ve liked to be.”
The Raptors coach was impressed by the showing from the Division II men. In the second match of the day following the women’s match, the DII men drew level with the Saracens with the score deadlocked at 13-13 after full time.
“The Division II match was brilliant,” Snyman said. “Our team was combined with Division III and the boys really came to the party and stepped it up. I’m very impressed, especially going into the DII season.”
With the match against the Saracens serving as the Raptors’ lone preseason test before the Pacific Rugby Premiership season starts, preparation with once again be frantic as the men prepare to take on Olympic Club in San Francisco on January 30.
Said Snyman, “[Seattle] were slightly fitter than us but it doesn’t take away from the enthusiasm and the power of our team to perform. We can improve and we know that.”