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DII Club Rugby Update: March 28

  • 28 Mar 2023
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DII Club Rugby Update

USA Club Rugby is meant to announce the site for the national 15s championships any moment now (rumor is three sites – Chicago, Orlando & St. Louis – are the final contenders). The Super Regional Championships begin in late April, and those playoffs will name the four Division II teams heading to the June 3-4 finale.

RELATED: TRB draft brackets: DII nationals + Super Regionals 

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ATLANTIC SUPER REGIONAL

Just like Division I (read more), certain areas of the country locked up their post-season pathways in the fall. Empire champ New Haven and New England champ Worcester booked their spots in the Atlantic Super Regional (April 29-30, Richmond, Va.) back in November, and the former has kicked off its spring campaign. New Haven was originally scheduled for games last weekend – they didn’t happen – but now it’s four-straight weeks of games before playoffs. The Connecticut side will test itself against two Division I teams – Boston and Providence – this month.

The Shamrocks get a bit of a later start. The Massachusetts side sees Hartford and Amoskeag on April 15, and then Portland on April 22. Then it’s south to Virginia for regionals, where they’ll face teams from Eastern Pennsylvania and Capital.

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Severn River is undefeated in Capital and the heavy favorite to repeat as league champion. Read more. The Maryland team has secured home-field advantage for the April 15 Capital final. The Honey Badgers’ opponent will be decided after this Saturday’s game between James River (#2) and NOVA (#3), as three standings points separate them. The team that wins the April 15 final advances to the Atlantic Super Regional two weeks later.

The EPRU is also holding its final round of regular-season games this Saturday, and same as Capital, last year’s champ is leading the way in 2022-23. Phoenixville is 5-0 and guaranteed home-field advantage for the April 15 EPRU final. Both Harrisburg and Northeast Philly are 2-3, and one of them will take the No. 2 seed to the league final. Harrisburg plays 1-4 Doylestown, and Northeast Philly sees Phoenixville this weekend.

GULF COAST SUPER REGIONAL

The Atlantic region will be the first to name a national semifinalist, and then the Gulf Coast follows, holding its championship on May 6-7 in Orlando, Fla. Four leagues flow into this tournament.

The Carolinas are the first to transition into playoff mode, and this weekend is for semifinals. The top seeds in the North and South pools host the runners-up from the opposing pools:

Fear the Maniacs (North #2) @ Charleston (South #1)
Savannah (South #2) @ Eno River (North #1)

The two victors will then meet in Gastonia, N.C., on April 15 for the Carolinas championship. Charleston is 10-0 on the season and the leading candidate for regional rep.

For Super Regional host Florida, it will know its champion on April 15, and undefeated Tampa Bay is heavily favored to repeat. The Krewe beat Jacksonville 83-0 last weekend.

The True South will also name its champion on April 15-16 in Huntsville, Ala., and those playoffs are supposed to take a semifinal/final format. Knoxville is favored to repeat, as it has defeated league mates 249-6 (excludes a 20-0 forfeit win against Louisiana Lagniappe).

And then Red River is the final competition to name its champion, hosting it semifinals/final on April 22-23 in Austin.

In the North pool, Little Rock (5-1) and Dallas Harlequins (4-1) have secured their spots in the Red River semifinals. If the Quins beat the Dallas Reds (1-4) this Saturday, then it’ll take the #1 seed. If it loses, then the Stormers get the top spot.

In the South pool, there’s still a few rounds to play before it’s all sorted. That said, San Antonio and Houston Athletic have established themselves as the teams to beat. They see each other again on April 8, and that match will likely seed those two into the Red River semifinals.

PACIFIC SUPER REGIONAL

Four competitions will send their champs to Las Vegas on May 13-14 for regionals.

Pacific Northwest (PNW) runs a hybrid system, but it’s tough to look at the standings and interpret as much, as everyone is listed together. To review: Seattle and ORSU are the DI teams in the hybrid; and Emerald City and Portland are the DII teams in the hybrid. The remainder of the field is DII only. The two DII hybrid teams advance directly to the PNW semifinals on April 15 and will face the top-two DII-only teams. At present, the standings indicate that Salem, South Sound and Tacoma are the leading contenders for those final two spots. Salem and South Sound face each other April 8, so that could be the influential game that determines semifinalists.

 

With that said, some teams have been combining with other squads on game day or contesting fewer-than-15s games, and those outings are not reflected as forfeits in the standings. In other words, a good record might not be an indicator of a team’s aspirations for the post-season. April 22 is the DII Pacific Northwest championship, and the victor advances to Vegas.

SoCal is hosting its club championships at CSU Long Beach on April 22. The standings are incomplete (Santa Monica shows no games played but it has absolutely played, and won, games this spring), but league leaders San Luis Obispo and Camp Pendleton (Warriors) have been the most successful in 2023. They played each other on March 4 to a five-point decision, so that is definitely a game we’d like to see replayed, especially in championship conditions. This Saturday is the final round of league play, so the finalists will be determined shortly.

NorCal is having issues with Rugby Xplorer (TRB is also not a fan of this new system) and the published standings are not accurate. The admin is cleaning it up and one already notices shifts; notably, Life West’s record is now 1-2 to reflect forfeits. Also note that teams have played more games than their record indicate, as there are crossover friendlies with DIII NorCal teams baked into the schedule.

There is one decision that is missing from from standings: Sacramento‘s 36-29 win over Berkeley on Feb. 11. So far, that has been the most telling result among teams that haven’t forfeited a match this spring. The regular season extends to May 6, so there’s still plenty of time to reschedule games and bank some meaningful field time.

 

 

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Finally, the Southwest. Las Vegas is still undefeated and played another great game against the Atomic Sisters last weekend: 33-22 to the home side. There are still three weeks of league games, but the aforementioned are favorites for the Southwest championship on April 29 in Tempe, Ariz., at the Westside Sports Complex.

NORTHERN SUPER REGIONAL

Traditionally, the Midwest would be characterized alongside Empire and New England in that it decides its champs in the fall, but there was a caveat this year. Midwest champion Milwaukee Scylla is moving ahead as planned, but runner-up Detroit is not taking the second seed to the Northern Super Regional Championship (May 20-21, Lemont, Ill.). In the new year, the Cincinnati Kelts, which lost to Detroit 13-8 in Midwest semifinals, were informed of the opportunity and have taken the second seed. Read more.

The Midwest confirmed that Scylla will play the Rocky Mountain champion in the first round of Super Regionals, and the Kelts will play the Mid-America champion.

 

 

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St. Louis or Kansas City Jazz will represent Mid-America after a best-of-three series. St. Louis won the fall match 34-15, and if the Sabres win the April 22 rematch, then they’ll take the MARFU seed to regionals. If KC Jazz win, then there will be a tiebreaker on May 6. St. Louis played at Nash Bash last weekend, and the Jazz traveled to the Dallas Harlequins for a friendly (the Quins won 65-5.).

Rocky Mountain is a new competition and has named its post-season rep via standings. Denver Black Ice are heading to the Chicago area to represent the league. Black Ice also runs a successful DI team (read fall interview). The Colorado team will play its first DII game of the spring this Saturday against Boulder.

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