PHILADELPHIA, PA – They have the most famous player in the league (or will have once he gets there); they have the right sized stadium; they have a strong rugby community around them from which to pull players and fans. San Francisco is poised to have a good Year 1, and if PRO Rugby can make some slight upgrades to Boxer Stadium, poised for long-term success.
Reasons for Optimism
Canadian center Nick Blevins will create holes in the defense. For sure. With a reliable platform in the centers, San Francisco can build their structure around that. Volney Rouse at fly-half will set up the center crashes in Week 1. Orene Ai’i might see time at 10 as the season goes on.
Tom Coolican missed out on the World Cup for the US Eagles but was named in the recent Elite Eagles Training Squad and brings a good work rate and handling skills. Alec Gletzer showed during the Americas Rugby Championship that he is physical enough to compete with good loose forwards. Fellow Cal grad Jake Anderson plays with ease and confidence and will grow as the season progresses. If Anderson players well, Mils Muliaina might play on the wing when he arrives.
When David Tameilau is healthy and ready to play, he will be another player that features prominently in attack.
Reasons to Worry
San Francisco is not alone in this, but they are thin at second row. Additionally, it has been a while since we’ve seen Muliaina and Ai’i in full flight. The fire power for San Francisco is going to need to be the local talent.
It won’t be Muliaina leading this team at the end of the season. Rouse will take charge, and he and Blevins will keep San Francisco fighting to finish with the second best record.
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