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  1. Dan Drabinski says

    RUGBYMag Men’s Club Rankings Feb 18 2014
    Rankings – Club Rankings

    Seattle-OPSB heads up the first 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.

    Men DI Club Rankings 2014 Feb 19 2014
    Rank Club League
    1 Seattle-OPSB BC DI
    2 SFGG
    3 Life University
    No league
    4 NYAC Northeast
    5 Glendale PRP
    6 Belmont Shore PRP
    7 Metropolis Midwest
    9 Santa Monica PRP
    10 Denver Barbarians PRP
    11 Boston Northeast
    12 Old Blue Northeast
    13 Olympic Club
    14 Dallas Reds
    Red River
    15 New Orleans
    Red River
    16 HARC Red River
    17 Columbus Midwest
    18 PAC Mid-Atlantic
    19 Norfolk Mid-Atlantic
    20 Baltimore-Chesapeake Mid-Atlantic
    21 Kansas City Blues Midwest
    22 Austin Blacks Red River
    23 Milwaukee Barbarians Midwest
    24 Los Angeles So. Cal
    25 San Diego Old Aztecs So. Cal

  2. Dan Drabinski says

    Dallas Reds Lead in Red River
    Clubs – Men’s DI Clubs

    The Dallas Reds dispatched a strong Austin Blacks team Saturday to secure themselves in 1st place in the Red River Conference.

    In defeating Austin 34-20, Dallas moved to 6-0-1 and the Reds now have an eight-point cushion over new challengers, HARC, who also won.

    “This was a game for our forwards,” said Dallas center Kelly Kolberg. “What the forwards did to get us possession made it easy for the backs.”

    Irish lock Jonny Heron was, at 6-7, a force in the lineout.

    “We won our ball and stole a lot of their throws, as well,” said Kolberg. “Jonny had a huge influence on the game and he’s really knowledgeable, too.”

    Fullback Chase Haberstroh had a big game, as well, but the game belonged to the Reds pack. Flanker Chad Joseph was once again big for the Reds, stealing ball at the breakdown and earning Man of the Match honors. No. 8 Jeremy Nelson showed a high work rate and broke through the Austin line repeatedly.

    The game itself was a tight one. “Austin brought it to us,” said Kolberg. Just before halftime the two teams were close when Dallas scored what turned out to be a game-changing try. After that they never looked back.

    HARC, meanwhile, kept pace with a 42-15 defeat of Fort Worth, building on their huge victory over New Orleans the week before. At 5-1 HARC is just a point ahead of idle New Orleans for 2nd. Austin is 4th and the Dallas Harlequins, who won in a forfeit over numbers-challenged Woodlands, sit at 5th.

  3. Dan Drabinski says

    Dallas Reds Still Unbeaten
    Clubs – Men’s DI Clubs

    The Dallas Reds improved to 3-0-1 and remain in first place in the DI Club Red River Conference after handling Houston Athletic Rugby Club 42-10 Saturday.

    The Dallas Harlequins improved to 2-0 with a forfeit win over Fort Worth, and the Griffins improved to 2-2 with a victory over The Woodlands, while idle New Orleans (2-0-1) and Austin Blacks (2-0) remain unbeaten.

    Dallas played without regular starters Kelly Kolberg and captain Rys Bal, both out with injuries.

    The Reds scored eight tries, with flanker Chad Joseph leading the charge with three. Austin Ryan, Andrew Stock, Gerad Crosswy, Zach Taylor, and Sam Palmer all scored, with scrumhalf Ryan being named player of the game for his defense.

    The mobile Dallas back row of Joseph, Colin Yerian and Jeremy Neilson played well as did locks Jacobi Cary and Jonny Heron and centers Crosswy and Chase Haberstroh.

    Houston battled hard, especially with their outside backs, but were outmatched.

  4. Dan Drabinski says


    Dallas Opens Red River Season with Victory
    Clubs – Men’s DI Clubs

    The Dallas Reds opened the Red River DI club conference with a decisive 50-10 victory over the Austin Huns Saturday.

    It was a game of speed over power and speed won, with Dallas defending well and getting enough ball, after key first-half injuries for Austin in the front row and in the backline.

    Wing Bear Albritton, fullback Mike Kenealy and flanker Chad Joseph all scored two tries for Dallass, with Kelly Kolberg and newcomer Gerad Crosswy adding one each.

    Austin battled hard, with locks and twin brothers Brian and Craig Welborn anchoring their work in tight, and scrumhalf Shawn Cox putting in a hard day’s work.

    But it was all Dallas, who look ahead to New Orleans in two weeks. The Huns take on crosstown rivals the Austin Blacks next week.

  5. Dan Drabinski says

    USA Rugby’s Club, College Championship Info
    Clubs – Men’s DI Clubs

    Stanford University and Madison, Wisc. will host USA Rugby’s spring college and club championship weekends, respectively. Stanford’s Steuber Stadium will be the home for the final men’s DI-A, men’s DI-AA, women’s DI and women’s DII weekends May 9-11. DI-A is the only division that will see just its championship game played at Stanford, as the other divisions will play semifinals there, too.

    The college rounds of 16 and eight will be spread across five locations – Stanford, Bowling Green, Ohio, Knoxville, Tenn., State College, Pa., and Atlanta, Ga.

    Per the club restructure, the Round of 16 has been eliminated, and the quarterfinals and semifinals will be coupled together May 17-18. The women’s DI and DII club playoffs have been moved back to the spring after years of being played in the fall and will be run in conjunction with the men’s playoffs. The eastern teams will be at Pittsburgh’s Founder’s Field, and the western teams will be at Spring Trail Park in suburban Dallas.

    For the first time since 2007, the men’s club final weekend will be somewhere other than Glendale’s Infinity Park. The men’s and women’s championship contenders will converge on Madison’s historic Breese Stevens Field for their finals May 31-June 1.