Pelicans take to the pitch in California for the firs time in 20 years. The Pelican’s NorCal’s select sites will take on Durham University (from the UK) at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
Now why is this such a big deal? Well, for one it’s the first time in 20 years there’s been a Pelican’s (February during the Las Vegas Invitational the Pelican’s played and won their first match vs the Texas All Stars). The Pelican’s are truly a representative side for NorCal, as the players for the Pelican’s include players from the PRP, DI, DII and DIII and are from a variety of clubs.
Adriaan Ferris who is the head coach for the Pelicans sides (as well as LIFE West) said “This is exciting because its bringing back a tradition and credit needs to go to the NorCal Referee Society and NorCal Rugby for resurrecting this tradition”. The Pelicans of today will represent the past for NorCal but also all the clubs who play in NorCal as they work to defeat Durham University and show that NorCal truly has some of the best rugby in the country.
Pelican’s Assistant Coach Frik Fourie (also Fresno’s Coach) said “this is a great venue and its what is needed to play rugby at the next level by playing in great venues vs great competition”. He said, “All players in NorCal from all levels should come out and see this, just so they can see where all our clubs can go and also for them to see good rugby. I hope players the set their goal to make this type of side”.
Provincial rugby is huge in the southern hemisphere (especially in New Zealand and South Africa). Most players see it as an honor to play on a provincial side (the only honors greater for them is making it to Super Rugby or to play for their national side). As in the southern hemisphere, club sides lead to provincial sides, from those to national selection. The coaches and administrators for the Pelicans/NorCal see this being that same pathway. They hope that players strive to make Pelicans, and the Pelicans play well, so USA Coach Mike Tolkin and this team can select NorCal Players for the Eagles.
The training and approach for the Pelicans has been more professional in its approach from how the coaching staff trains the players to how the NorCal administrators are developing and running the program.
So this game won’t just be a historic from a NorCal traditional standpoint, but it will also be a showcase for the players to play solid rugby which selectors can evaluate.
What sets this apart from other rugby matches according to Coach Ferris is that, players will be setting aside their club allegiances and playing as provincial side, to set a high standard for all NorCal and to do their best to make NorCal recognized as top level rugby nationally.
So for those of you who will head to Kezar Stadium to see this game in the newly renovated stadium, what will you see? Well other than some of your peers and a talented NorCal side, it will be some great rugby. Coaches report that they don’t have any current footage on the Durham side and so they can’t really plan for them, but asst. coach Fourie said “We know they are a top level club who has won their league”. Coach Ferris noted that Durham has an advantage in that their guys have been playing all year together and that the Pelicans don’t get that much time to play together. However, Coach Ferris is says “We selected a side to play a specific style”. Ferris feels that the style of play he uses will aide the Pelicans. He feels what the Pelican’s lack in continuity is made up by the great talent pool they have from NorCal clubs.
While the Pelican’s don’t know what they are facing versus a top level Durham side, they do know that they’ll place a provincial type side for NorCal on the pitch at Kezar Stadium this Saturday.
You can get tickets on-line (at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/norcal-pelican-selects-vs-durham-university-tickets-15248806591?aff=eac2 ) or at the gate the day of. The Pelicans Development (2nd Side) plays at 5pm. Then the Pelicans All Stars kickoff vs Durham University at 6:30pm.
NorCal Pelican's and Life West Head Coach Adriaan Ferris.