The knock to his left leg was a solid one — as was the grotesque knot that appeared below his calf shortly afterward — but Danny LaPrevotte ignored it.
Adrenaline and duty can do that.
But when the final whistle blew two weeks ago sounding San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Football Club’s advancement to the inaugural Elite Cup Final — USA Rugby’s premier championship — LaPrevotte’s foot had swollen black, and adrenaline yielded to pain.
“You play with your bumps and bruises ... injuries are part of the game,” the third-generation San Franciscan and SFGG flanker said. “You’re gonna have to chop my legs and arms off to get me off the field for [this] weekend.”
On Saturday, LaPrevotte and SFGG will go for their third USA Rugby title in five years as they face the familiar foe of Life University in Glendale, Colo. SFGG vanquished Life in 2009 and 2011 for those two USA Rugby National Super League championships, but a three-peat over the Marietta, Ga.-based club won’t come easy.
“They always say that you play a team multiple times, but the third time is always the toughest game,” LaPrevotte, 27, said. “That showed against OPSB [Old Puget Sound Beach] last weekend.”
In the Elite Cup semifinal two weeks ago, SFGG’s sloppy pitch display led to a 17-15 deficit with 12 minutes to play.
“I thought that there were times that we failed ourselves and didn’t play to our standard,” LaPrevotte said. “It took us kind of getting smacked in the mouth to really wakeup and figure out what was going on.”
And SFGG did wake, as scrum half Mose Timoteo and 6-foot-3, 350-pounder Paula Fukofuka relentlessly helped secure the win in the final moments of play.
“We showed that we can come back under adversity,” LaPrevotte said. “Against Life in the final, it’s going to take us to do that for all 80 minutes. I don’t think they’re going to let us have chances to comeback, like OPSB did.”
But to earn a mile-high win Saturday, SFGG can’t solely rely on Timoteo and Fukofuka. Veteran Volney Rouse and New Zealand’s Tevita Koloamatangi will look to pitch in.
“We’ve worked all season to this point here, we’ve done what we’ve needed to do. We’re in the championship finals, that’s always been our goal,” SFGG coach Grant Wells said, who’s team will be the first American rugby club to face a country when they host Tonga at Treasure Island on June 1. “The Tonga thing came on late and obviously we’re super excited about it. But our primary goal is winning the national championship.”