GRR on X  GRR on Facebook GRR in Instagram GRR Vimeo Library GRR on YouTube RuggaMatrix America Podcasts Support GRR on Patreon

Playing in D1A Suits Long Beach Just Fine

irish rugby tours

Playing in D1A Suits Long Beach Just Fine

CSULB entered D1A this year.

Cal State Long Beach is now in D1A and it seems like they fit in quite well.

The 49ers marked their move up in the fall with games against what was probably their toughest conference opponents, Saint Mary's and Cal Poly. Not surprisingly, they lost. But last week's 35-15 win over UC Santa Barbara showed that they are most certainly a team to watch in this league.

"We got a win; we started off the year with a win. That's good," said new Head Coach Peter Sio. "Last semester we got on campus a little late. We had a new coach, a new system, and we're still building. But it was a big adjustment for the guys and I think talking about our system it was like speaking French to them. But it's starting to click."

Sio, who played for the USA in 7s and has been a fixture with Belmont Shore and in the Long Beach area for a long time, wanted to modernize the way the 49ers play.

With some experienced players and some new to the game, or new to the team, actually bringing in a new system somewhat equalized everything. Still, Sio asked for patience from his returners, saying he was going to work at the speed of the least-eperienced player.

"New guys quit if they don't understand it or don't get it," said Sio. "We've recruited pretty well and we wanted to keep all of those guys. That way we have more players committed to rugby and can build off that."

With flyhalf Victor Gomez back from a knee injury and able to play CSULB is in pretty good shape when it comes to decision-making. His kicking game is good, too and was a major factor in the 49ers' win over UCSB.

With Frank Diaz putting in an MVP performance at wing and center, adding an ability to create turnovers to his attacking acumen, Cal State Long Beach is showing they made the right move in moving up a division.

This week they get to take the long trip north to face another team that has moved up, Sacramento State.

"We are feeling good," said Sio. "We're growing the roster and we know a lot of rugby-playing kids have applied for next year. We are providing a good option for kids who want to play D1A rugby but want to stay in the ong Beach area. The game has evolved; the team is evolving."