|RUGBYMag Men’s Club Rankings Feb 18 2014|
|Rankings – Club Rankings|
Seattle-OPSB heads up the first RUGBYMag.com Men’s DI Club rankings of 2014, with SFGG, Life University, New York Athletic Club, and Glendale following.
Mike Bobis photo.
OPSB is chosen because they have been playing extremely well in an enormously challenging league, the Okanagan Spring Brewery DI competition in British Columbia (7-1). In addition, the club has added several accomplished and high-profile players, not least of which is Lou Stanfill. That list also includes Mike Shepherd, John Cullen, and Peter Tiberio.
And they were among the best clubs in the country already.
That the #1 club in the country isn’t playing in a US league says something, and something not particularly complimentary, about club rugby competitions in the USA. That the #1-ranked club is also ranked that way for playing in the second tier of BC’s leagues (the BC Premiership is a step above) also says something.
SFGG is the #2 team, as they are 3-0 in the Pacific Rugby Premiership, even though they had a couple of close calls. Following them is Life, who don’t have any league of any description to play in. Their season will be a series of non-league matches.
So the top three teams in our rankings are not participating in USA Rugby’s DI club championship system.
NYAC’s #4 ranking is based on a solid fall season in the Northeast, while Glendale’s 2-0 start in the PRP put them at #5.
With the splintering of American club rugby into a variety of competitions, this ranking becomes even more important in assessing which teams are strong, but at the same time becomes more difficult to accomplish. USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville said recently in an interview with Rugby Wrapup said that the Elite Cup going away is not in the club’s benefit, but also said “we’re still going to run the Elite Cup; it’s the Eastern teams.” The Elite Cup is not operational at present.
With seven teams in the PRP, one on its own in BC, three (Old Blue, Boston, and Life) hoping to keep some sort Elite-Cup-like series going on, and another, NYAC, that didn’t like the Elite Cup-plus-DI model and pulled out, and also with a variety of DI leagues, some of which are thriving and some of which are barely scraping through, and some which include the B-sides of PRP teams, it’s a foggy field indeed.
The seven PRP teams are all in the top 13, and in fact Olympic Club, at #13, are harshly done-by. This is not because we’ve bought into some notion that the PRP is automatically better than anyone else – it’s based on empirical evidence. Many of the teams in the PRP have already notched impressive victories over other clubs. All of the games in the PRP have been close, thus indicating that even the likes of Denver and Olympic Club (both winless so far) are still close to the top level in the PRP. That is why they are ranked.
Several leagues have clustered groups of fairly accomplished clubs – Red River, Mid-Atlantic, and the Midwest. It’s likely these will change as the games are played. Watch out for either Dallas or New Orleans to surge.
Not ranked are any of the three teams remaining in the West. We’d like to see them play. Not ranked also are the top teams in Northern California – Sacramento, Santa Rosa, EPA, Fresno. They all could be, depending on how their seasons progress.