Undefeated Life West Gladiators Make USA Rugby National Final

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The 2015 USA Rugby DII National Championship semi-final match between California’s Life West Gladiators and Arizona’s Tempe Old Devils on Sunday, May 31st led to a win for Life West.

The 2015 USA Rugby DII National Championship semi-final match between California’s Life West Gladiators and Arizona’s Tempe Old Devils on Sunday, May 31st was a game that had all the twist and turns of an epic showdown. Eventually, the Life West Gladiators went on to win in overtime after trailing for most of the game. When standout scrum-half, Devereaux Ferris kicked an 80th minute conversion of teammate Orene Aii’s last gasp try; the Gladiators did a near impossible task to draw level and force the Western Conference Championship game into extra time. With the Gladiators behind 27-15 with fewer than nine minutes left in regulation play, they tied the game.

The tenacity and attitude of the Arizona team were admirable as they tackled and fought the Gladiators like no team has done all season. The Old Devils made sure their defensive line was near impenetrable all game. Yet in acts of audacious bravery and unwavering self-belief, the Life West players continued to throw themselves into the fray and take advantage of a tiring opposition. In the end, Life West crossed for two late tries with a final score of 41-32.

The physical conditioning and preparation of the Gladiators was evident by the ability of the team to drive home their competitive advantage in overtime scores by Captain Nili Latu and Flanker Zack Tannous, to take the Western Conference title.

Gladiators Head Coach, Adriaan Ferris was pleased with the result but praised the Tempe team for their efforts. He added, “There were two teams out there today that desperately wanted to win and both played positive, attacking, and entertaining rugby. My thoughts are with the Tempe team - to lose a game like this, after the way they played, and led on the scoreboard all game.”

When asked what made the difference between the two sides, Coach Ferris mentioned that players, over the past three months, had additional fitness sessions in the college gym on a Monday evening. “What started out as a compulsory video review session, quickly turned into an extra conditioning sessions before watching film. The players drove it and this grew our team bond,” Ferris added.

According to Dr. Bruce Chester, Club President and the head of team’s medical staff, the additional sessions combined with the customized nutritional supplement program supplied by major sponsor Standard Process and the regular chiropractic care was instrumental in prepping the players for such an occasion.

“All players were supplied with customized supplements from Standard Process. When we saw multiple Tempe players go down with cramps, we knew that we had an advantage. We knew we were going to last longer and we did,” said Chester.

The game was a heart-racing match. While it was a team effort, 7th quarter student, Tannous delivered a standout performance. Due to injuries to fellow teammates and student players, John-Austin Colvill and Chris Walker, Tannous was thrown into an unfamiliar position to him as Blindside Flanker. He thrived with monstrous tackling and energetic ball carries.

In the end, a courageous effort from Tannous, Ferris, Aii and company and superb leadership by Captain Latu, helped cap an unbelievable come-from-behind victory that seemed unachievable.

The win against Tempe Old Devils propelled the Gladiators to an undefeated season (19-0), with the final game played against Wisconsin Rugby Club in Denver, Colorado on June 14, 2015.

For more information on Life West Gladiators, please visit them at http://www.lifewestrugby.com. To support the Gladiators, consider making a monetary donation at https://www.gofundme.com/lifewestrugby.

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Diana Rohini LaVigne
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Life Chiropractic College West
since: 01/2010
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