Glendale, Colo. – Nese Malifa has been announced as the captain to lead Glendale Rugby Football Club’s (GRFC) DI team at the USA Senior Men’s DI National Club Championship to be held at Infinity Park, Glendale, Colorado this weekend, June 2-3, 2012.
Malifa takes over the captaincy from USA Eagles player and GRFC’s first choice No 8, Nic Johnson who sustained a head injury during GRFC’s round of 16 game against the Austin Blacks.
“I am honored and privileged to be entrusted with this role,” said Malifa. “Nic is a friend and a quality player who has been a great example to our team throughout the season. We are all disappointed that he won’t be able to play this weekend and he will be sorely missed on the pitch.”
Malifa, who has been capped for the USA Eagles on 22 occasions, is well equipped to be placed in a role of this magnitude at such a crucial time. “At fly half,” said Malifa, “I am familiar with playing a leadership role and have been placed in similar crucial playing circumstances during my USA Eagles tenure.”
Malifa went on to add, “I will be relying on fellow USA Eagles player and prop, Chad Slaby, in the front row, to make the lineout calls, decisions in the scrums and for his forward play knowledge.”
With the recent loss of key player’s to injury and career changes, GRFC have had to make some adaptations. Malifa feels that this state of affairs has in no way affected the overall psyche of the team. “In fact,” says Malifa, “It has motivated the boys and they know that they are as prepared as they can be for any circumstance.”
During the off season, backs coach Andre Snyman conducted intense skills sessions which Malifa believes has improved the team’s skills level immensely and head coach, Mark Bullock, has worked hard to develop overall fitness and game structures during the spring season. Therefore Malifa feels confident that the team is as prepared as they can be.
Malifa has also been impressed by the team’s commitment during preparations for the National Championships by arriving for extra practices on a Saturday and working hard at training sessions. “The boys are focused and they are hungry to win,” said Malifa.
“I will be surrounded by quality players over the weekend and I am confident that the likes of scrumhalf, Daryl Furlong, will play a huge role for us while versatile second row player Colby Knepp will be key. Our well balanced backs will bring a lot to the game with their speed and power. I also have complete faith in our front row combination and with flanker Stan Moaalii’s high turnover ball ratio, I believe we are in a strong position to be contenders.”