Houston Athletic played a full 80 minutes against the Austin Blacks at home, but even missing a couple of stalwarts, the Blacks were too much. It wasn’t the team-oriented match that the Blacks aim to play, but Reikart Hattingh & Matthew Radzavich stepped up big with a brace of tries, each. Both slid through the HARC defense like the slippery eels they are. Robert McKay and Pat Sullivan added one each and Sulli’s boot was fierce for all six tries. Jeff Burns and Zach Tafelski dotted down for HARC with Conor Mills reviving his old college rivalry with Sullivan by being just as perfect kicking conversions and two penalties.
In Austin, the Huns had their eye on the prize with two 1st half tries and might have pulled it off had they been a tad more patient. In the 78th minute, the Reds’ outside center Chad Haberstroh dashed 80 meters to dot down. Jordan Macey’s aim was true and brought on the draw. Huns’ Coach Lachlan Ferguson said that they quick-tapped a couple of times when they were well in range of Andor Benyi’s siege gun of a leg. Such patience comes with experience. The Huns are peaking and the Reds may be in need of such a wake-up call as last weekend offered.
Grant – The Huns have never defeated the Blacks. Ever. While I prognosticated at the beginning of the season that this might be the year, I just do not think the Huns peaked soon enough to make that a reality. That being said, this will not be a match in which the Huns just lay down and take their whupping. The Blacks will be made to earn this win, but they should not leave Nixon Lane undefeated on Saturday.
Ted – Nothing beats a good rivalry and it isn’t any different in rugby. Derby matches are some of the best. With the amount riding on this match, it should not disappoint. The Blacks are in excellent position atop the RRRC, but can’t afford any missteps at this point with a few teams barking at their heels. The Huns are out of the playoff picture, but would love nothing more than to throw a wrench in the Blacks’ plans. Pick: Blacks
Gordon – Huns have made some improvement defensively lately. The Blacks still have the ability to score a lot of points. The Huns will huff and puff through their forwards and hope to keep the score low as that’s their only chance of winning. I doubt they will be able to though and Blacks will win comfortably like last time they played.
Gift – The Austin Blacks are still playing top of their game right now. Even with an off week last week, I don’t see how they are in danger of losing. The Huns, are still a solid team, but the history behind both these teams just doesn’t look to be getting broken anytime soon. The Austin Blacks take this win solidly.
Buss – There was a time when I thought the Huns would finally beat their city rival. I was wrong. The Huns must survive on short fields and accuracy from the foot of their young 10. His accuracy let them down against the Reds and his decision-making is still growing into the Senior game. The Blacks just have too many running options and if they limit mistakes will grind the Huns down for a win.
Grant – Neither club is having the year the season that they want. The Quins only win has come against HARC. HARC has only been close once. However, HARC played for a full 80 minutes at home against the Blacks, something they’ve struggled with all season. Much of what the Quins can do to win will depend on how they travel and that has yet to be better than HARC. HARC takes the home match, but Quins may get a bonus point or two.
Ted – This is going to be a season to forget for both sides. That said, the Harlequins have shown that they may not be too far off from competing in the RRRC. This weekend they take on the only team that they have beaten this season as they face HARC. What started out as road woes quickly turned into trouble at home for HARC. Pride is all that is left for both sides. Pick: Harlequins
Gordon – I watched HARC play last week and they are a truly awful division 1 side. I am not sure if that is just away from home or not, but I know the Quins have been working hard, haven’t played in a while and will see this as a chance to pick up points. HARC’s pod system in attack will play right into the hands of the Quins. Quins to win this.
Gift – There was a time at the beginning of the season when I would have thought that this would have been as one-sided a game as could be. I would have given this game to HARC without a doubt. Now both teams, while not the best in the league, have shown flashes of ability. HARC has yet to really play a full game. They have been competitive at certain points, but they have not completed any games. I believe this is the game that HARC gets their first win of the season. Harlequins have not been good on the road. HARC needs a win. HARC is taking this game in a low scoring affair.
Buss – HARC just can’t get it figured out. Quins have some very good pieces and I expect them to dash past HARC for the win.
Grant – The best thing to happen to the Reds was losing badly to the Blacks and tying the Huns. If nothing else, the Reds view both matches as losses and want to avenge themselves. New Orleans is good at home though, and for 50 minutes last weekend, they were good at home against a Premiership club.
Ted – A month or so ago, it would have been easy to name the Reds as the favorites. A loss and a tie later, the Reds look vulnerable and are on the outside looking in at the playoff race. They absolutely cannot afford to lose this weekend. NOLA finds themselves in 2nd place in the RRRC even after a pedestrian start to their conference season. They have to be very happy with their position considering. They have also been busy during their off weeks, taking on two ARP teams in Life and Old Blue. Even after losing both games, the experience should have a positive effect on the rest of their season. Pick: NOLA
Gordon – The Reds have been terrible lately. They suffered a lot of injuries, had the flu, and failed to adequately prepare their backup players. Physically, they are much better now and should be going into this with a full strength side, bar one. NOLA has not been the team it was last year but it has shown improvement in recent weeks. The Reds know if they don’t win this game then their season is over. That desire could see them be over zealous and bring their discipline issues to the fore. NOLA to win
Gift – It’s the rematch that we’ve been waiting for. New Orleans has just been taking beatings the last couple weeks against Life University and Old Blue. Dallas Reds have not been as dominant the last two matrix matches they’ve played. It’s like this is the battle of the crippled giants. Luckily, both these teams get up for this rivalry, and will be at their best. New Orleans has yet to lose a game at home in the matrix, and I don’t foresee that changing in this instance. Look for the vengeance win for New Orleans during their Rugbyfest.
Buss – NOLA are very difficult to contain offensively with their skill and athleticism. The Reds are steady and efficient but not as dangerous as the others at the top of the log. For them to win the other teams must make mistakes. NOLA to win with an increased level of physicality and focus from the Old Blue game.