FALL 2021 REVIEW: Dogs Return with Renewed Competition and Vision
October 20 & 22
This week the Bulldogs were coached by special guests Orene Ai’i and Sorona Scott. Orene played for the New Zealand All Blacks before moving to the US. He’s currently a backline coach for the LA Giltinis. Sorona played for San Francisco Amazons and was a World Champion in 2019. The girls worked on ball handling, tackle technique, defensive line speed, and communication. ABC 30 also came out to interview coaches and players. The team learned a lot from the professionals and can’t wait to implement their new skills throughout the rest of the season.
Today the ‘Dogs played an intrasquad scrimmage. The scrimmage was a chance for our rookies to get their first rugby game experience. The girls got their first tackles, scrums, lineouts, runs, and tries in a game situation. It was a blast to see what was taught in practice in game-play action. Mira Patino was awarded the Brawley Ruckford Award for her hard work at scrum half. It was an all-around great day and a learning experience for everyone.
Your ‘Dogs headed up to Stanford University for their first away game of the year. After the long drive, the girls were ready to get on the pitch. Both teams were excited to finally play a team besides themselves. The girls played a hard and evenly-matched game with a final score of 24-22. Aamiah Finley received the Brawley Ruckford Award for her great tackles and hard runs at outside center.
Today the Bulldogs hosted their first home game against San Jose State. San Jose has given us hard-fought games in past years, and today was no different. The girls played tough but weren’t able to pull off the win. The final score was 5-27 with Danielle Montoya scoring the only try for Fresno State. Eight-man Fue Fesili got the Brawley Ruckford Award for her awesome runs and for playing hard from start to finish.
It was a big rugby day for Fresno State. Both the men and the women’s teams played Cal Poly. After the Fresno boys won their game 36-31, it was the girls’ turn. It was a fun game with some girls in positions. There were lots of runs, strong tackles, and tough playing. Your ‘Dogs came out with the win and final score of 41-7. The Brawley Ruckford Award was given to Tess Thom for her crushing runs that continually broke through the defense and her focus throughout the game.
New Season’s First Session for Younger Players
Thanks to everyone who came out to the first week of practices! We had a blast hitting bags and getting back into it. A big thanks to the guys from the Fresno State Men’s Club who came out to help coach. We set a personal record for how many girls we had at the first practice with a whopping 56!! We can’t wait to see everyone again next week.
If you weren’t able to make practices this week, we hope to still see you at Aquatics Field Monday, Wednesday and Friday 7-9 PM.
FRESNO STATE WOMEN’S RUGBY ANNOUNCES
NEW COACHING STAFF FOR WOMEN’S RUGBY PROGRAM
National Rugby Champions Announce New Head Coach and Assistant Coach
Head Coach, Rodney Tuisavalalo
Fresno State Women’s Rugby Club announced today that Rodney Tuisavalalo will lead the National Champions as Head Coach effective immediately.
Head coach, Rodney Tuisavalalo, is stepping up to fill some big shoes, but he’s ready for the job. Rod has coached 7s and 15s at Las Vegas Rhinos High School and Clovis High School. Rod has also been involved with several rugby programs including the LA Giltinis, the Austin Gilgronis, and the San Diego Legion. Coach Rod has spent the last several years playing for the Fresno Men’s Rugby Club where he’s held multiple officer positions including Club President and Treasurer. While playing for the Men’s Club, Rod was named captain for five consecutive years from 2015-2019. He earned Club Forward of the year in 2017 and 2019 and was crowned MVP in 2015, 2017, and 2018. Rod has also been a certified NorCal Pelican Referee since 2015. We can’t wait to see how Rod’s mindset of fitness and trust takes us through the season.
Assistant Coach, Frederick “Frik” Fourie
Assistant coach, Frederick “Frik” Fourie, comes all the way from South Africa. He’s been playing rugby since he was five years old. He played rugby all through high school and college where he was named numerous awards such as Honorary Colors for all his high school years, Under 19’s First Team (1990-1992), Carlton League First Team (1993-2003), Gauteng First Team (1999-2001), and was on multiple Preparation Practice Teams against New Zealand All Blacks and Australia. After coming to the United States, Frik started coaching youth rugby in Clovis. He moved up to coach the Fresno Rugby Football Club in 2013 and remained head coach until 2017. Frik also worked with the NorCal Pelicans from 2014-2016. We’re looking forward to having Coach Frik share his expertise on the pitch.
We are so excited for this semester not only because rugby season is starting but because our club got a booth on campus. On the Fresno State campus there are about 40 club booths that circle the University Student Union on the main part of campus. Due to the immense amount of clubs and the shortage of spots not every club gets a booth every semester. We are so excited to have a club booth because this part of campus gets the most traffic which gives us opportunities to recruit, promote our home games, and connect with the student body. All semester you can find members of the Fresno State Women’s Rugby team at the booth. Stop by to say hello or ask questions.
The club participated in a community service event on March 6th, called Kids Day. We sold special editions of the Fresno Bee. The money raised was donated to the Valley Children’s Hospital. This event is spread throughout the central valley that a lot of organizations participate in. This is one of our favorite community service events because we get to give back to those in need and get to do it as a team.