It’s take three in Seattle as Old Puget Sound hosts SFGG in the Super League semifinal.
With San Francisco having reduced their losing margin from 26 to seven last week, they have to feel more confident.
“I was very happy with the performance,” said SFGG Head Coach Paul Keeler. “We both missed opportunities. We had some scoring chances and just knocked the ball on. We opted to go for a try rather than points on a penalty, and didn’t score because we knocked the ball on. So Beach was better than us, but I was happy with how we kept our defense together and played a better game.”
It has taken some of his newer players a while to adjust to the Super League way of playing, said Keeler, but they are getting there now. The difference in 61-35 and 19-12 is real improvement (and no red card for Golden gate either).
But there is a “but” on the other side. Four starters did not play for OPSB last week, and one other was gone injured after a couple of minutes (flyhalf Russell Armstrong).
“Losing Russell was tough because he’s our playmaker, and I think the guys did a good job adjusting to that,” said OPSB Head Coach Evan Haigh.
They did that without captain Josh Osborn or veteran leader Pate Tuilevuka on the side, either.
“The thing about this season is we’ve had good depth and all the players feel they’re a part of it all,” said Haigh. “We being all these guys back.”
Andrew Durutalo steps in at flanker. Osborn is back as tighthead prop. Tuilevuka slots in at outside center. Nic Hawkins comes in on the wing. Armstrong passed a late fitness test and is ready to play. However Beach is without two regulars who are in excellent form. Wing Fili Botitu is held out due to a concussion suffered last week, and prop Oliver Kilifi is out due to the death in the family.
“It’s been a tough week, very quiet,” said Haigh. “But the guys are confident, they feel good, and they’re ready.”
The winner of this game will host the Super League final.