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Life West opened up the Pacific Rugby Premiership season with an impressive 41-13 defeat of Santa Monica Saturday live on FloRugby from Treasure Island in San Francisco.
All six PRP teams were in action at the home ground of the San Francisco Golden Gate club.
Life West and Santa Monica weren’t all that far apart in terms of possession time or tine in the opposition 22. But Life West just finished more successfully. Siaosi Nonu was immense for Life West. The Bruising No. 8 was effective just about everywhere on the field, and was lurking on the wing where he scored his team’s first try, just nine minute in. Santa Monica replied with some pressure of its own, and managed to get a penalty goal from flyhalf and captain Shawn Lee to make it 5-3. However, right after way None powered through for a try that made it 12-3. Santa Monica put together good phases to earn another penalty, but then None again, and then flyhalf Martini Talapusi finishing off a snappy backline movement made it 24-6 at the break.
Three more tries from Life West, including a beauty that was right off the training ground, put Life West further up. Santa Monica got a try off a quick-tap from scrumhalf Victor Woo - who was solid all day - but that was it for the Dolphins.
For Life West, lock Zach Bonte was a baller all day long, and the midfield of Calvin Nell and Guillaume Cazenave were shifty and defended well. Jay Finau was a hard runner at hooker. The Gladiators should also be pleased with their defense, as they finished strong.
"Our coaches are getting us to work hard and work on our fitness even though we are big boys," said Life West captain Brooks Tawake.
For Santa Monica, Woo led a scrappy effort and Joseph Krassenstein was the best Dolphins runner, at outside center. But they were unable to break through for tries despite several chances. Three times Santa Monica had an almost sure try in front of them only to see the play called back for a forward pass.
“I think we had a lot to prove today, and we came into this competition as underdogs, and while we had some defensive lapses on which they capitalized, I think we outclassed them in terms of moving the ball around the park,” said Santa Monica’s Lee. “We sometimes have to figure out where we want to play as opposed to doing a little bit too much.”
“It was a good start for us,” said Tawake. “There are always things to improve on, but it was a good start. They put us under so much pressure, but we hit some of our goals. We were able to finish some tries and got some tries off their mistakes, but we were also able to create some tries on our own.”
Life West 41
Tries: Nonu 3, Talapusi, Vuatalevu, Brennan
Convs: Talapusi 4
Santa Monica 13
Pens: Lee 2