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New England the Stronger Atlantic North GU

  • 29 Apr 2019
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Keeping with recent history, the Atlantic North Competitive Region (CR) will send a team from the New England Geographic Union (GU) to the USA Rugby DII Club National Championship playoffs. Last Saturday saw the Empire and New England GUs contest crossover semifinals, and the latter won both, convincingly.

Up until last week, the Empire GU website outlined a post-season where the two GU champions played each other for the CR title, but that set-up turned out to be wrong. Instead, the GU crossovers began at the semifinal stage and were contested April 27.

There was a bit more drama in the Morris vs. Worcester semifinal, which occurred in New Jersey. The Shamrocks built an early lead through flanker Lauren Caduto and outside center Casey Glynn, but the Lions were able to keep step in the first quarter. Gianna Caulfield and Corinne Curti finished off Morris scoring opportunities, sandwiching Glynn’s second try: 17-10 to Worcester after 20 minutes.

But two more scores through Courtney Sparrell and Samantha Barker added distance before the break (29-10), and the second half saw the Shamrocks grow in momentum. Tries from Glynn (2), Meena Khayami and Heather Forchilli and conversions from Laura Heatherman put the game out of reach: 55-17.

It was one-way traffic for reigning Atlantic North champion Providence, which defeated Brooklyn 58-0 in Rhode Island. The home side fielded 19 players but there was little need for fresh legs, and the team two of the team’s eight tries occurred in the waning minutes. In addition to the six conversions, Providence added two penalties as well.

That sets up a Providence vs. Worcester final on May 4, with a berth to nationals on the line. The teams played each other twice in the fall, with the first contest ending in a 26-26 tie and the New England final ending 20-7 in Providence’s favor. Nearly six months will have passed since the GU title bout.

The Atlantic North victor will join champions from the Midwest (Buffalo), Mid-Atlantic (decided between Harrisburg, Severn River, White Horse and Norfolk by May 5) and South (decided between Fort Miami, Knoxville, Atlanta and Augusta by May 5) in the eastern portion of the national quarterfinals, to be held May 18-19 in Obetz, Ohio.

USA Rugby has not released a bracket yet. Last year, the eastern portion of the competition finished: 1. South, 2. Atlantic North, 3. Midwest, 4. Mid-Atlantic. So if 2019 match-ups are based off of last year’s finish, then it’d be South vs. Mid-Atlantic and Atlantic North vs. Midwest on day one.

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