In 2018, Belmont Shore was crowned PRP champion, but after a long playoff run they were left heartbroken in the national championship final.
This season they’re back and better.
Following a five-try outing from Belmont Shore’s wing Adam Channel, the team is 5-1 and again atop the PRP table. That makes Channel our Samurai Pacific Rugby Premiership Player Of The Week.
Belmont Shore now boasts the league’s top two try scorers in Channel (6) and his fullback Viliami Pila Iongi (5).
“I’ve never scored five tries in a game before, and actually I’ve never heard of anyone scoring five in a game; unless it was youth or something,” laughed Channel.
Channel did his damage on the left wing against San Francisco Golden Gate in the first blowout of the 2019 PRP season. “It’s awesome [being the PRP top try scorer], but all I had to do was finish my teammate’s hard work.”
He doesn’t see his performance as an individual achievement. Channel credits teammate Adriano Ojeda and others for his success. “We don’t just have one guy that puts the team on their back, anybody on our team can do something dangerous at any time.”
The PRP is the Premier D1 Men’s competition in the United States and the league matrix calls for weeks of pre-season matches and grueling preparation.
“It means a lot for us to win PRP championships, because of the work we put in and the reputation the PRP has in this country.”
To make it through a PRP season is an achievement in itself.
“With training, preseason, and matches, our PRP season is 34 weeks,” says Channel with an exhale. “We have to stay in it and we do that with our recovery and the best trainer we could ever ask for.”
Channel’s key to recovery is visiting the chiropractor at least twice a week, but he’s preparing for more than just the PRP.
“100% our goal is to win the National Championship,” says Channel firmly. “I grew up playing for Belmont Shore, so to bring a national championship home for our brothers, coaches, and family would mean a lot.”
OMBAC Is Back
OMBAC stands in their way, again.
Belmont’s only loss this season came in week one to OMBAC, 33-19.
“That first game of the season against OMBAC we came out flat footed, and they beat us to the breakdown,” Channel says. “They wanted it more.”
Channel and Belmont take pride in their adjustments, gameplan, and film analysis.
“Preparing our gameplan is very similar to American Football, it’s a lot of film breakdown,” said Channel. “Our coach will ask us to watch the opposition film each week and then ask us where the opposition likes to attack, which players they key on, what they do well and where are they weak.”
Channel expects his side to be quicker to the breakdown to counter OMBAC’s two-man counter-ruck.
The PRP is a grueling season, and for Belmont Shore there are greater horizons beyond the PRP. Only time will tell if film breakdown, recovery, and five-try performances like Adam Channel’s will be enough to bring home the National Championship for Belmont Shore.