Old Puget Sound weathered some early Golden Gate pressure and ran away with the game late, scoring six tries to beat SFGG 39-6 and earn a spot in their first ever Super League final.
OPSB will host NYAC Saturday, June 2, in Seattle.
Beach looked to get the ball wide early and did find Mike Palefau for an early try. However, SFGG, determined to use their big forwards to punish the OPSB pack up the middle.
That approach set OPSB back, and produced two penalties duly slotted by Volney Rouse. Golden Gate led 6-5, but that was the only lead they would have.
In a game that was at times flat and sloppy and then wild and exciting, OPSB just had a better spring in their step. Their defense bent a little, but did not break.
Working their way downfield, Beach got a try when scrumhalf Emosi Vucago picked the ball up and scampered through the first channel. Then they worked it wide, and Nic Hawkins scored that, along with a penalty and conversion from Vucago, put Puget Sound up 20-6.
Golden Gate had the ball enough, but couldn’t avoid making mistakes. They had a solid lineout platform, but somehow looked flat.
In the second half, Hawkins ran in for his second, and then a big play. Golden Gate had the ball and were pressuring. Prop Paula Fukafuka sent a long pass out to the wing, but OPSB wing Miles Craigwell was waiting for it, intercepted the pass, and ran 80 meters for a big try. That 14-pooint turnaround put the game away for Beach.
A kicked ahead and smart skills with his foot put No. 8 Matt Trouville in for the final try.
“We weathered those first 20 minutes from Golden Gate, and that was key,” said OPSB Head Coach Evan Haigh. “Our defense really stepped up today, once we got through that first 20 minutes, we were able to get rolling.”
Fans were treated to seeing 7s legend Waisele Serevi come on the field as a sub for OPSB. Serevi put together some passes and took over the kicking to touch duties.
Tries: Palefau, Vucago, Hawkins 2, Craigwell, Trouville
Convs: Vucago 3
Pens: Rouse 2