Week 4 in Division 1 of the Red River Rugby Conference seems to some to take a breather, but do not be deceived. Third Place New Orleans may have a bye week in the division, but they face an always tough Lindenwood University Rugby Club in Baton Rouge this weekend. Bye Week, Schmye Week. Second Place Griffins Rugby travel to the fourth place Austin Blacks. The Blacks haven’t lost yet and cannot enjoy a fourth position due to points behind two teams that have lost one each already. The Dallas Harlequins are in fifth place and must be rooting for the Austin Huns this weekend. If the Huns win, the Quins stay in fifth place. No one is picking the Quins to surprise the number one Reds because the Reds take no team for granted and the Quins have sustained too many injuries or experienced players already. Going into this weekend, the last place Huns hosting sixth place HARC is a match that will definitely create movement. Whichever team wins moves up one space in the rankings. Whichever team loses occupies the cellar for at least two weeks because there are no matches scheduled for Valentine’s Day weekend.
Grant – Such a difficult game to call! These teams were evenly matched last season and are markedly improved this year. The Blacks have tons of experience and speed, but have not impressed us as they should have given the weapons they have. The Griffins play as a team, play patiently, and play their game plan for 80+ minutes. They are a second half team (as Houston and the Harlequins learned). Both squads need a win this weekend and they know it full well. My math has these teams even. I’ll give the home field advantage to the Blacks, but by less than a PK.
Gift – The Griffins travel to Austin this weekend. The Blacks are coming off a rough loss against New Orleans. The Blacks are going to look to rectify themselves. Look for the Blacks to take the big win over the Griffins.
Ted – Game of the week in the RRRC. Both teams sit at 2-1 and have both lost to NOLA, so neither can afford another loss at this stage knowing that they have yet to face the Reds. Both sides are getting strong performances from their kickers. Griffins flyhalf Danny Carlton has scored 44 points this season on two tries, eight conversions, and six penalty goals. The Blacks have gotten a steady performance from former Arkansas State stalwart Pat Sullivan, who has scored 30 points on a try, five conversions, and five penalty goals. I will be very surprised if this game doesn’t go down to the wire. Pick: Blacks
Gordon – Griffins surprised me last week with their ability to score. Quins had some in game injuries but they still played well. Danny Carlton is probably the best kicker around and if the Blacks give away penalties he will make them pay. I think the Blacks at home should be too strong though.
Buss – Griffins. Blacks are at home but can’t seem to find the next gear.
Grant – The Harlequins lost two starters to season-ending injuries in Allen last weekend. This is a bad time of the year to have that happen and made equally rough by having to face their cross-town rivals when the Reds are hot! The Reds will be at full strength this weekend and that does not bode well for the Quins. The Reds have made two statements this season already, expect this match to be full of exclamation points. The Reds by a whole lot.
Gift – The Harlequins will travel to meet intercity rival, the Reds. The Dallas Reds are absolutely on fire this season. They have completely dominated everyone that they have played. Dallas Reds will take this game without any concern.
Ted – The Reds have been dominant thus far, averaging a winning score of 56-12 in their two games to start the RRRC season. The Reds have been spreading out their scoring among a number of players, with flanker Chad Joseph leading the charge with five tries this season. The Reds play host to the Harlequins, who are looking for some respect in a tough conference. The Harlequins lone victory this season came at the expense of a struggling HARC side. They took a sound thumping from the Griffins last week and need to bounce back against their cross-town rival. It could be a long day for the Harlequins. Pick: Reds
Gordon – Reds are too strong, I expect another scoreline like last week, if not more.
Buss – All Reds.
Grant – The battle to dig out of the cellar. This is another ‘must win’ for both clubs this weekend. HARC has a ton of talent, but have yet to find the cohesion to attack and defend effectively. The Huns possess plenty of power and have played close in their two losses. I’ll be rooting for my hometown team (HARC), but I expect the Huns to win.
Gift – HARC has been faltering more and more each week. 3 straight losses in a row isn’t helping their cause. They will face another winless team in the Huns. Neither have been much competition against tough teams. HARC hasn’t traveled well this season, or fielded a full starter team on the road. The Huns have had the week off. This isn’t going to be an easy match to predict, but will have to side with the home team. Look for the Austin Huns to take the win in close capacity.
Ted – Both squads come into the match winless on the young season, but having taken quite different paths. Yes, the Huns have two losses, but they came on the road against NOLA and the Blacks. The Huns hung in with NOLA for a half and gave the Blacks a run for their money. HARC, on the other hand, has had trouble fielding their full side and has been punished for it the last two weeks. HARC has given up an average of 52 points per game this season. Austin isn’t a tough trip from Houston, but it is hard to believe their fortunes will change. Pick: Huns
Gordon – The Huns have numbers but lack that winning mentality. HARC is a poor travelling side for D1 standards. Huns to win at home.
Buss – Huns are eager to prove they belong at the top. The breakdown in this game will be an absolute war.