Well we’re back again! Another step closer to the Club Rugby National Championships. These are playoff times. We are essentially in the Round of 32. So let’s take a look at the club teams that will be participating this weekend.
Southern Conference Championships
The Southern Conference Championships are the culmination of the champions from each Union located in the Southeast region. The participating Unions are the True South Rugby Union, Florida Rugby Union and the Carolina-Georgia Rugby Union. This year the Southern Conference Championships will be held in Augusta, GA. Competing at the D2 level will be Chattanooga (10-0), out of the True South. Orlando (12-2), coming out of the Florida Rugby Union. Charlotte (9-1), out of the Carolina-Georgia Rugby Union. Finally, Atlanta Old White (6-3), out of the Carolina-Georgia Rugby Union.
Charlotte Rugby vs. Atlanta Old White
These two teams know each other extremely well. This will be the third time these two clubs have faced each other. Charlotte currently leads the series this season 2-0, but this isn’t the first time they’ve been in this position. Last year Charlotte had defeated Atlanta Old White in the regular season, and for the Union championship, only to lose to them in the Southern Conference Championships 20-10. Fast forward one year and they are back at the same position.
Atlanta Old White has seen much success in the past when it comes to the playoffs. Charlotte is trying to get over the hump and finally defeat Atlanta Old White and advance in the playoffs. Despite Atlanta Old White’s success in the playoffs the last few years, I expect Charlotte to take this match in a close one. Charlotte’s work over the last year has shown to build to this moment.
Chattanooga vs. Orlando
Chattanooga is coming into the Southern Championships with the only undefeated record. Orlando, is the surprise team of the tournament coming out of a very competitive Florida Rugby Union, winning the Florida State Championships defeating Boca Raton 13-7, and Ft. Lauderdale, 29-12. Chattanooga blew through the True South Championships defeating Birmingham, 44-7, and Nashville, 39-8. This will be the first time these two teams have met in the playoffs.
Orlando comes in with a tough, classic style of Rugby. Utilizing the middle of the field and putting the strength of the team in the Forwards. Orlando has seen their biggest upswing late in the season after the lost to Jacksonville on February 14th. Their win streak has lead Orlando to their first State championship in the 45 year history of the club.
Chattanooga has been impressive off the edge. They have very fast centers that are very capable of overpowering the opponents backline. Chattanooga has played with focused determination since losing to Atlanta Old White in the Sweet 16s last year, 20-10.
Look for Chattanooga to take this game. Power and experience will be the determining factors in this game.
Chattanooga over Charlotte 44-30
Red River Rugby Conference
The Red River Rugby Conference Championships take place on Saturday in Dallas, TX. The Men’s DII championships will feature Dallas Reds D2 (11-1), Houston United Rugby Team (7-1), Little Rock Stormers (8-0), and Austin Blacks (11-1). These teams have set powerful precedence in the league and will have a chance to show it up front. Look for the live stream of this championship HERE
Dallas Reds vs. Houston United Rugby Team
Dallas Reds and Houston United have been offensive giants this season. Dallas Reds have scored 550 points in their matrix this season. Houston United has put up 455 total points in their matrix this season.
The Dallas Red have completely overwhelmed their opponents this season. They have allowed only 140 points this season and have kept all but one opponent under 20 points all season. Their only loss this season has comes against the Austin Blacks.
The Houston United have been top form all season too. They haven’t been as dominating as the Dallas Reds, but they have proven themselves to be more than a formidable opponent. Their best win has come against their divisional rival, Then Woodlands, where they split close losses.
While both these teams have shown the ability to win, credit has to be given to the team that has had to deal with more obstacles. Dallas Reds have shown dominance in a tougher division and look to be the stronger team. The Dallas Red will take this match over the Houston United.
Little Rock vs. Austin Blacks
This will be the marquee game of the Red River Rugby Conference DII Championships. Austin Blacks have been the source of much talent. Little Rock Rugby has been one of the rising DII clubs in the nation. Both teams have been extremely overwhelming in their divisions.
The Austin Blacks have the top offense in the Red River Rugby Conference DII. They have outscored their opponents 713-111. Austin Blacks have felt the most pressure when facing the Dallas Reds, but the two teams have split with each other. This is a tough team that has had the opportunity to face off against their top ranked D1 side, so this is a team that knows how to win matches.
Little Rock made it to the Final Fours last year. A 55-37 loss to Snake River ended the Stormers run. So you know that they are looking forward to making another run at the championships. Little Rock has been undefeated this season. They have outscored their opponents 441-154. They have only been held under 30 points once this season and have shown adequate defense.
I feel that this match will end up being closer than people would assume. I believe the determination of the Stormers will outweigh the power of the Blacks. Look for Little Rock to take this game over Austin.
Dallas Reds over Little Rock 50-35