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DI Senior Club: Super Regionals Filling Out

  • 18 Mar 2024
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USA Club Rugby really fired up last weekend with nearly all regions active with 15s. The first of the Super Regional Championships (SRCs) will be held in a little more than a month, and teams have already booked spots in those post-season pathways to nationals. For Division I, the national championship weekend is a Friday/Sunday format, with semifinals on May 17 and title match on May 19 in Austin, Texas. The following reviews the DI space, divided into the four Super Regions. [Stay tuned for DII update.]

RELATED: Women’s Rugby Scores — May 15-17

NORTHERN

As previously detailed, Pittsburgh Forge was named Midwest champion in November 2023 and thus the Northern SRC rep to nationals. The western Pennsylvania team will play its first spring matches on April 13-14 (D.C. Ruggerfest) followed by a solid slate of opponents — including the Midwest Thunderbirds — ahead of the trip to Texas.

 

 

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ATLANTIC

The Atlantic SRC brings together the East Coast South and New England teams. NOVA (6-0) and Philadelphia (5-2) have clinched the top-two seeds out of the East Coast South and will advance to Atlantic Super Regional Championships (SRC). NOVA beat Philly 66-15 on Saturday, with Steph Barros finishing four of the team’s 10 tries, and flyhalf Camille Johnson converting eight of them.

There are still matrix games to play, and NOVA has lined up a competitive friendly against Beantown, which is in WPL pre-season mode, this weekend. But expect NOVA to host NERFU #2 Providence for the April 20 SRC semifinals, and Philly to travel to Canton, Mass., to play NERFU #1 Boston. (Yes, this hosting scheme does not match the rest of the Atlantic SRC, but only because DI does not have teams in all four GUs that compete at regionals).

Whoever wins the April 20 matches will then advance to the Atlantic SRC finals on May 4 at Alapocas Run State Park in Wilmington, Del., with the rest of the men’s and women’s club competitions. Winner moves onto nationals.

GULF COAST

There was no presence of women’s DI at the Gulf Coast SRC the last two years, but that changes in 2024. Texas and Rocky Mountain no longer compete against each other in a home-and-away league, so they’ll now name their separate champions and then send them to Austin, Texas, on May 4-5. [Previously, league standings named the Texas/Rocky Mountain champion, which advanced directly to the national semifinals, bypassing the SRC stage]. The victor will represent the region at nationals, also in Austin.

Houston Athletic Rugby Club (sHARC) is the pick for Texas. The team beat Austin 52-12 in the first of two league matches (rematch is April 6). The Texan teams also have Raleigh in common. When the Venom traveled to Austin, it triumphed 36-27. When sHARC flew out to North Carolina, it won 19-14.

The Rocky Mountain teams are the last to activate in the springtime due to weather. It’s really down to Utah Vipers and Denver Black Ice (Colorado Gray Wolves forfeited their games in the fall but are playing this spring). The Vipers hosted Black Ice in the fall and won handily, and now the Utah team heads to Denver on April 6. Whoever wins that game will advance, and the COG matches will be nice tune-ups, as players will be in WPL pre-season mode.

So our prediction is Houston vs. Utah Vipers for the Gulf Coast berth to nationals.

PACIFIC

This Super Regional is arguably the most dynamic in that the Southern California/Southwest league produced one of the most interesting results of the year: a 14-14 decision between reigning national champion San Diego (5-0-1) and Tempe (4-1-1). The Surfers indicated that the league is hosting semifinals (1 v 4, 2 v 3) on April 13 and then a final on April 21, location TBD. So there’s still a bit of rugby before naming the champ and rep to Pacific SRCs in Las Vegas on May 4-5.

The SoCal/Southwest champ will face the Pacific Northwest champ (determined April 20 after the Seattle vs. ORSU match) in Las Vegas for the berth to nationals. Seattle beat ORSU 52-0 in the teams’ first match and will host the rematch in a month. Seattle’s favored for the repeat berth to SRCs.

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