Personal Best: Rugby coach sees action on the field, in the home 

He’d like to sleep in for Father’s Day, but with five kids ranging from age 7 months to 8 years, Grant Wells is also realistic.
“It’s an action-packed place,” Wells said of the family’s home in the Presidio district of San Francisco. “There’s always something going on.”

The kids are excited to have their dad home after the recent conclusion of the San Francisco Golden Gate rugby season. As assistant coach, Wells commits much of his free time to the team’s practices and games, traveling to Denver, Chicago, Dallas and other road sites.

SFGG was deprived of back-to-back USA Rugby Super League championships on May 30, falling ­28-25 to the New York Athletic Club.

The 1,500-plus fans were treated to a classic match at Treasure Island’s Rocca Field, with the home team leading by seven points with six minutes to go. NYAC scored a try to tie the game, and with one minute remaining punched through a 40-meter penalty kick to seal the championship for the East Coast powerhouse.

“I miss playing. From the sideline perspective, you wish you could be out there making some technical decisions,” said the 39-year-old New Zealand native, who compiled a successful 30-year career playing fly half, a position comparable to the quarterback in American football.

In 1994, Wells was recruited by older brother Tony to play for SFGG. After a brief return home to Christchurch, New Zealand, Wells was beckoned by the team to return, and in 1996 he made San Francisco his permanent home.

He met a Dutch au pair, Alette, at a rugby party in 1997. The blue-eyed couple were married in 1999 at the peak of Wells’ playing days. Wells’ eyes sparkle as he describes the mother of their five children as “fantastic.”

The speedy and strong-footed Kiwi was recruited to play for the Eagles, the USA National Team, from 2000-02. In his first international match against Japan, Wells scored 16 kicking points, a precursor to an exciting run.

“Touring Europe with the U.S. and playing in the big stadiums, including in front of 40,000 in Wales, was incredible” Wells said.
Having hung up their playing spikes, the Wells brothers both remain active with SFGG. Tony serves as club president and coach of the high school program. While building their electrical business, the brothers have raised a combined nine children. Add in brother Brad’s two kids and if the dads play, they’re just one short of fielding a S.F.-Wells family rugby team.

Perhaps next Father’s Day.


Grant Wells profile

What: Sixteen-year member of San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club

Highlight: Winning the 2009 USA Super League Rugby championship

The next generation: 8-year-old son Jeremy plays for the SFGG pee-wee program

Father’s Day plan: Breakfast in bed (better chance than sleeping in) and hanging out with the kids


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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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