USA Club Rugby was supposed to announced the 15s national championship location on March 17, but the word is that three locations (Chicago, St. Louis, Orlando) are still being vetted. That decision should come soon, so here’s an update on the Division I teams that are inching ever closer to that final June 3-4 national championship. (Click here for a detailed visual)
The final stage in June is a semifinal/championship weekend, so four teams will be present. Two of those semifinalists (Midwest and Texas/Frontier) advance without going through a Super Regional Championship stage, which is a reflection of the number of DI teams countrywide.
The Metropolis Valkyries won the DI Midwest back in November and thus an automatic berth to the national semifinals. The Minnesotans spring schedule kicked off last weekend at Nash Bash, which was the first of four-straight road trips for the team. Catch the team in Iowa, Chicago and Denver before it hosts the Wisconsin Selects and Midwest Thunderbirds. Then it’s two weeks’ recovery before heading to nationals.
Full steam ahead in the Texas/Frontier, as teams must finish their eight-game seasons in the next month-and-a-half. Standings will name the champion and representative to the national semifinals.
Houston Athletic is 4-0 and leads the standings, having won its home-and-away series against the Austin Valkyries (0-2) and Denver Black Ice (2-2). Most recently, HARC traveled to Colorado and beat Black Ice 24-19. The Texans will now alternate between the Utah Vipers (2-1) and reigning champ Colorado Gray Wolves (2-1) until May 14.
The Utah Vipers take their double-header trip to Texas this weekend. The Gray Wolves won’t reactive until April 15, when Austin, on its Colorado double-header, come to town. The regular season wraps up May 15.
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ATLANTIC SUPER REGIONAL
The six-team league resumed regular-season play this weekend and put four teams in motion. Reigning national champion NOVA (3-0) beat the D.C. Furies (2-2) 32-17 on Saturday and share the top of the standings with Raleigh, also 3-0. The Venom spent last weekend shutting out Charlotte (0-3) 72-0.
The two leaders have one more matrix this weekend, and then close out their regular seasons against each other on April 22. In all likelihood, that final match will seed NOVA and Raleigh into the Atlantic Super Regional (April 29-30, Richmond, Va.). There, they’ll meet their New England competition.
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Nothing has changed here, as there are just two teams and they played each other twice in the fall. Boston and Providence have kicked off their spring build-up, though. Providence traveled to DI Philadelphia two weekends ago and lost a 36-15 contest. The reigning DII national champion will play DII teams through April before the month-end trip to Richmond.
Boston traveled down to Nash Bash last weekend to play St. Louis, T.I.T.S. and the Valkyries. The next five weekends will be spent in the northeast corridor playing DI and DII teams, and then Boston will head to Virginia for regionals.
PACIFIC SUPER REGIONAL
San Diego is 7-0 and will finish atop the standings regardless of its final regular-season game against Santa Monica this weekend. The Surfers have secured their spot in the SoCal/Southwest final, which is April 22 at CSU Long Beach. San Diego’s opponent is TBD, as Tempe, Santa Monica and Belmont Shore all have more two games to play, and they’re all within striking distance of second place.
Whoever wins the April 22 match will advance to the Pacific Super Regional in Las Vegas, May 13-14. That victor will play the Pacific Northwest champ for the berth to the national semifinals.
Only Seattle and ORSU are eligible for the DI berth out of this region, but they compete in Pacific Northwest RFU’s new DI/DII hybrid league for more competition. The duo will play each other three times this spring to determine who’s advancing to Vegas. Seattle won the first match 32-5 on March 4, and will see ORSU on April 8 and 22 for the rematches. In between, Seattle has been staying busy in the B.C. Premier, and ORSU has gotten a good push from DII Emerald City Mudhens, which lost to the Jesters 36-29 two weekends ago.
USA Club Rugby’s website is not functional (which is … baffling) but it’s pushing some information out on its Facebook page. TRB’s updating its own draft brackets that show earlier stages of playoffs, and Your Scrumhalf Connection has a good landing page for all things standings and playoff related. Be mindful that Rugby Xplorer standings and stats rely on the teams’ diligent use of the service, and that’s not the case everywhere.
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