San Francisco Golden Gate beat Old Puget Sound Beach 22-17 at Sheeran Field on Treasure Island Saturday to advance to the Elite Cup Final May 25 at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo.
OPSB utilized the wind to take a 17-8 lead into halftime, but SFGG dominated possession and territory in the second half to shut out OPSB and complete the comeback.
“We had a lot of opportunities but we didn’t take them,” said SFGG coach Grant Wells of the first half. “I think we dominated the first half even though we were playing uphill into the wind, and just didn’t take a lot of opportunities.”
OPSB managed to punch in a couple of first-half tries with good first-phase movements off of set pieces.
“They gave us a little bit of trouble in the scrum early on. We kind of worked things out in the second half and competed a little better,” said Wells.
“We just tightened things up, controlled the field position. We were direct with our forward. We scored some tries off of pick and jams and just keeping the ball close off the phases.”
SFGG drew level at 22-22 with about 18 minutes left to play and took the lead with about eight minutes to go. Prop Paula Fukofuka set up outside of flyhalf Volney Rouse a few meters from pay dirt and crashed over the try line for the go-ahead score.
The win puts SFGG back in club rugby’s top championship game after a one-year absence. In 2012, it was OPSB who represented the West Coast in the Super League final. In 2013, SFGG has now beaten OPSB three times.
“We knew we had to get back to basics and get everybody on the same page, and the fitness had to improve, and we had to get back to our style of winning rugby,” said Wells. “We were just off the mark last year.”
SFGG’s opponent in the Elite Cup final will be Life, winners of the East semifinal over NYAC. Life was SFGG’s foe in the 2011 and 2009 RSL Finals, both of which SFGG won.