Thursday, May 23, 2019

Major League Rugby Preview.. TICK-TOCK!!!

Major League Rugby North America Weekend Preview
5.25-5.26: tick-tock, TICK-TOCK...

Clubs have either one or two fixtures* remaining. Therefore 5 or 10 the potential points to be won. 60+, possibly high 50s, table points will earn extra time, maybe low 50s but mo’, as they say, is bettah’, alway [sic].             
Saturday, May 25th:
               Houston SabreCats (15) v (4) Austin Elite at AVEVA Stadium, Houston, TX -  4pm MST: could be two in a row for the home team, but travelers could make goodness themselves today; high 80s, southeast wind and no rain... hot and slick pig and pitch;

Sunday, May 26th:           
               New York United (49) v (52) NOLA Gold at the MCU on Coney Island, Brooklyn - 11am MST: visitors can claim a berth in extra time with victory, while their hosts will near as damn have one should they be happy at day’s end; M-o-W M-o-W, Match-of-Weekend; mid-70s, no rain and an east breeze;

               Toronto Arrows (48) v (43) Glendale Raptors at Lamport Stadium, Toronto - 12pm MST: last gasp for Glendale? gotta be a big one for visitors if it’s to be won at all, while victory for Arrows will knock their guests from the playoffs frame for good and set up a thrilling last weekend for the remaining handful of contenders for extra time; mid-60s, quartering breeze and no rain for the decider;

               Seattle SeaWolves (51) v (17) Utah Warriors at Starfire Arena, Tukwila WA - 6pm MST: homeboys are innit should they winnit; their guests on the other hand should like to close in on a happy ending to their 2019 run with a surprise for hosts this evening; low 70s, a bit of wind from the north and no rain, though it will have the previous two days, so slicken the pitch and slippen the pig may be;
San Diego Legion on the bye
* Houston have 3 matches remaining

USA Rugby Clubside Playoffs - Westerns et al

Merlins, Rams runs end in Austin by Austin

Both Glendale Merlins and Queen City Rams, our surviving Women’s D-1 and Men’s D-3 champions respectively, saw their seasons end in the Texas state capital on the weekend, the defeats coming against clubs from Austin. Merlins dispatched Belmont Shore on Saturday, 38-10, then came up short on the Sunday v Austin Valkyries, 22-27. Rams lost to Austin Blacks on Saturday and then returned to defeat Kern County (CA) on Sunday morning.

Two Austin XVs are playing for National Championships first weekend in June, Valkyries v NOVA and Blacks v Grand Rapids, at state of the art Fortress Obetz Stadium in the Greater Columbus, OH, area.

In Men’s Division-2 action, Wichita Barbarians, the club who only just topped Boulder to represent Frontier Conference in the Lone Star State, looked ever the business against Olympic Club, before receiving a red card assessment prior to their game and season going away.  O-Club go against Atlanta Old White for number one in D-2 in the land at Obetz.

Men’s Division-1 features Austin Blacks v Life Running Eagles for the championship trophy.

Women’s Division-2 has Sacramento Amazons testing Harrisburg for the national title in Ohio.
"there is nothing quite like summer rugby in the Rocky Mountains"

Super Rugby Round 15 Preview: 5.24-25

Super Rugby Round 15 Preview: 5.24-5.25

With either four or three matches remaining on their 2019 RWC-shortened schedules, there’s 20 or 15 table points to be had, depending. The conference leaders go to playoffs and the next five clubs with the greatest totals go along as well. Mid- to high-40s should see extra time with the three conference champs and the fourth-placed club each hosting a knockout.

Crusaders yet the headliners in the league, and they’re already on enough to earn at minimum one additional fixture at season’s end. Hurricanes are probable and the remaining teams, save for SunWolves, are yet in the hunt, though Reds and Chiefs must win out and then get help and still they’ll be on the frame and may not be actually... innit?

Suffice to say, these are the times that encompass intervals of opportunity where statements are made and backed, mentally and physically.

Friday, 5.24:
               Chiefs (23) v (23) Reds at FMG, Waikato - 1:35am MST: these boys need to win their remaining contests, hosts moreso than their guests as travelers have a match in hand; loser may initiate vacation plans and consider Saturday, June 22 time-off; an abject M-o-W; mid-50s, no rain, no wind = ideal;

               Brumbies (29) v (32) Bulls at GIO, Canberra - 3:45am MST: clash between conference leaders of the moment, but whomsoever fails to succeed today, probably won’t be fronting their group anymore and, in the case of the Mob, could drop out the playoffs picture; large implications, this result; low 50s, no rain, itty wind; giddyap!

               SunWolves (12) v (28) Rebels at Prince Chichibu, Tokyo - 11:15pm MST: visitors got a shot at topspot in their bracket with a big win; homeys gotta be feeling a sense of unreality with their impending doom ever inhouse nowadays, but guests must not overlook this action today, or else...; high 70s, no rain and a steady southwind;

Saturday, 5.11:
               Crusaders (49) v (26) Blues at the AMI, Christchurch - 1:35am MST: home team has sandwiched a hammering of an SA squad in between two SA draws in their recent trio of matches... hmmmn; hot-cold Blues may be all right in the music world, but it won’t work here; if Auckland are to obtain the playoffs frame, they must top the club manifesting the best rugby expression in the competition, no mean feat; M-o-W for travelers, for certain; low 50s, no rain and a bit of breeze;

               Waratahs (26) v (32) Jaguares at Western Sydney Stadium, Paramutta - 3:45am MST: Bonilla-Diaz v Foley will be an interesting match-inside-a-match to check; Sleek Cats can wind up topside the all-in, UFC cage battle that is the South African Conference; of the SA XVs in OZ this weekend, they who fare the finest are best; ‘Tahs won’t like this loss and will be implementing extraordinary measures to prevail and that is why this is the Match-of-Weekend; high 60s with the possibility of thundery outbursts from the heavens making this an excellent backdrop for the demi-godlike struggling between two formidable forward packs;

               Stormers (26) v (29) Highlanders at Newlands, Capetown, 7am MST: visitors inside, while their hosts are just outside, the playoffs frame now, but that may not be the case at the end of this day; other Match-of-Weekend; both have recorded the range of outcomes possible in their last three: Stormers on draw-loss-win and Highlanders, loss-win-draw; mid- to low-60s, no rain, minimal wind;

               Sharks (29) v (30) Lions at Kings Park, Durban - 9:15am MST: should their conference mates fail to negotiate the Australian abyss in the current numbers 1's & 2's respective derbies, happy-happy, joy-joy here means front seat; high 60s, no rain, little breezy for the other, other Match-of-Weekend;
Hurricanes on the bye


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Major League Rugby WRap: 5.21.19

MLRNA WRap: 5.21 - By the Numbers

home wins @ New York
road wins by Houston, San Diego, Seattle
1 or 2 fixtures remain: 5 or 10 potential table points to be won
accumulations in the 50s should see extra time; 60+ would ensure it
Image result for san diego legion logo

San Diego Legion tightened their grip on the topspot and are the first club to reserve a berth at extra time, though which slot in the top four they’ll take remains to be seen. All in the pack of six are still in place for the front four positions, but some are fitting in better than others...

Were we at the track, San Diego would be out front by a full length with the odor of the finish line freshening that thoroughbred’s pace; NOLA faltering for the moment, yet still in place; Seattle storming hard; New York back into the first four after being bumped a bit coming out of the clubhouse turn; Toronto slacked on the bye last weekend but ready to inject the nitro for the final finish; and Glendale who’re looking to close with brilliance in their final brace of fixtures.

By the Numbers, On the Weekend
17           for Houston 10, numbers man Sam Windsor, on a triple of 3-and-2 off the shoe and 1 try as ‘Cats surprised NOLA at Gold Stadium, 27-20; former frontrunners now on 2 losses running... not the proper direction at any time in the campaign, but especially not now;

8             try Seattle put the pedal to the metal and pummeled hosts, Glendale, down the Kettle at Infinity, 53-36; SeaWolves numbers guy, Brock Staller, counted 18 personal on a triple of 5 conversions, 1 penalty and 1 try as rampant ‘Wolves dimmed the light on Raptors playoff picture; tallies were drawn near time in the half at 24s when Staller slotted his sticksplitter to provide his ‘Wolves a halftime advantage they’d not relinquish at 27-24; doubles for Seattle: #10, Pete Smith; #2, Steph Coetzee; and Matt Turner, one of the back-three flyers; 1 brace of scores, also, for Glendale wing, John Ryberg;

10          the Legion margin at the midpoint made good by the end of the day and San Diego bested Utah on the trot, 31-21, to extend their league lead to a full bonus-point win; double by San Diego wing, Savenaca Tototvosau;

80           minute try by New York United Mike Petri for the bonus point and RUNY got the job done, 27-7, against Austin on Coney Island to motor back into the playoffs frame, replacing idle Toronto in that foursome.

Arrows on the bye




Super Rugby Round 14 WRap

Super Rugby Round 14 WRap: 5.18-5.19, By the Numbers
 home wins @ Blues, Lions
 road wins by Bulls, Jaguares, Waratahs
drawn scores: Stormers v Crusaders

 Four of five NZ Conference clubs unhappy with the only win in the Land of the Long White Cloud coming from a Kiwi v Kiwi contest.

The Mob from the ACT, despite being idle on  the weekend, remain headboy in their conference though ‘Tahs closing with the only win in OZ bracket. Australian #1 only club in the playoffs frame at this time.

All clubs in SA within a bonus-point victory of one another as that cage match continues unabated though with a bit of shifting in the standings. Big Cats only winners. Stormers out of the frame just now, but a weekend happy could pop them straight back into it.

13           the halftime deficit, 8-21, that proved insurmountable for Hurricanes as Jaguares topped their hosts in the Westpac, 28-20; 14 first 40 points for travelers during a ten-minute 'Canes yellow; Quick Cats now drawn on table points with SA leader, because...

17          for Bulls 10, Handre Pollard, on 3-and-2 from the shoe and 1 try as Los Toros have retaken the ordering seat in the conference, though it’s a tad cozy (see above) after 32-17 joy over Rebels;   
13           second stanza points did the trick for Blues to refine a close halftime advantage, 10-8, and claim victory over Chiefs at Eden Park, 23-8; with victory, Auckland have halted a 4-match slide;

25           points on a massive triple by Waratahs 10, Bernie Foley, of 4 conversions, 4 penalties and 1 try; 1 dozen for Reds 10, Bryce Hegarty, on 1 conversion and a brace of trys in the 40-32 happy for the 'Tahs who now eye the Brumbies hindquarters;

13           the haul off the gifted toe of 6-for-6 Lions 10, Elton Jantjies, on 5-and-1 what looked like fun as the standoff’s conversion in injury time denied their guests a losing bonus-point, and took down Highlanders on the High Veld, 40-32, in the process;

            point penalty slotted by Stormers relief 10, J-L du Plessis, in extra time enabled the sister-kiss at Newlands and Crusaders have their third draw of the season after pretty much everybody in Capetown had 19 this day, except for the cribbage players, of course;
Brumbies, Sharks, SunWolves on the bye


Monday, May 20, 2019

In Memoriam: Lloyd Chavez IV

Rugby Colorado State Championship: East v Regis

It was 50⁰, blowy with partial cloud cover for kickoff of the 2019 Rugby Colorado Premier Division State Championship match between reigning champions, Denver East High Angels and reigning runnersup, Regis Jesuit Raiders down the Kettle at Infinity on Saturday last. East had beaten Regis at the opening of the 2019 season in February by a handful, 26-21, and had taken State in 2018 by besting the Raiders, 17-14, in the title match. Angels may have been thinking, “3rd time, charming” but the Jesuit were thinking, “3rd time charm!” - and as it turned out, one was correct.
there's an advantage here

Regis with a considerable advantage of territory and possession in the first half, but a consistently smothering East defense sagged, yet didn’t break and no score in the 20th minute until the Angels right wing struck a sparkling, fast and forceful line along touch for 30 meters well into the Raiders 22 before being brought down by a pair of Jesuit defenders. Ball swung swiftly from breakdown by East scrumhalf, Devon Musselman, and to the East tighthead, “Mr. Bombastic”, who blasted into goal for the converted touch down and tallies of 7 and 0 favoring East, were the significant figures at referee Chris Huff’s halftime signal.
East stoppage

Regis standoff, Eddie Maxfield, pulled a penalty shot across the face of the uprights in the 39th, and action commenced, each XV questioning from breakdown with short stabbing pick-and-goes, slings to the midchannel runners, lookers over the top of the opposition and forays by the outside backs. All for naught until Maxfield broke to space 18 meters from the East goaline and offloaded sweetly to the Raiders own “Mr. Bombastic”, fast-flowing Mariano Adams, and the number 3 crashed over for the touch down that along with the plus-2 from inside center, Gordy McKeehan, made drawn scores at 7s-the-house, three-quarters of the way through the battle.

Denver went ahead on a try by the Angels 18, who snatched the pill from the loose two meters out and dove under and through a pair of would-be stoppers to ground the go-ahead try, subsequently converted, and 14-7 for Angels with 10 minutes to go.
Each and every set piece an intense action

Regis drew level yet again four minutes from time on a grounding by their right wing and its conversion by McKeehan: 14-14 in the 56th minute.

An already raucous affair ratcheted up several notches as each club’s supporters created a combined resonance that was tangible and the players responded with keen deliberation and ferocious determination. 

And it was Denver East, inside the Raiders 22 and on the front foot - a penalty would do it as had happened in the 2018 final - that coughed up the pill and it was “Miraculous” Eddie Maxfield, the Regis 10 who’d kept his mates in the match with magic from hand and foot, who provided the heroics: collecting ball in congestion he stepped to space, and with the Angels three-quarters line committed across the gainline, there was naught but the open highway ahead.

Maxfield was moving at top speed with the paint looming large and an Angel closing fast on his flank scant meters from goal; the East tackler engaged, but Maxfield with a massive effort stretched across the line as he crashed to ground and dotted the decider in as dramatic manner as it gets and with the subsequent conversion by McKeehan, Rugby Colorado had a new Premier Division Champion in Regis Jesuit Raiders at 21 -14 the record.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Saturday is RugbyDay...

... Yay, Yay, YAY!!!

and tomorrow:

Saturday = RugbyDay, like mad!

Saturday May 18th, is one of the most important RugbyDays in the more than five decades of Colorado Rugby!

The results of four fixtures, two home and two away at Austin TX (but they’re live-streamed from the Lone Star State), will determine the fortunes of your Colorado Rugby men and women; from the scholar-athletes in the high school title game through the amateur ranks and on to Major League Rugby (MLR), North America’s professional competition, high-test rugby is happening:

·        9am: United States of America Rugby (USAR) Clubside Regional Playoffs - Queen City Rams v Austin Blacks, live-streamed at USAR Men’s Division-3 Clubside Regional Playoffs from Burr Field, Austin;

·        2pm: Rugby Colorado State High School Championship - Denver East High Angels v Regis Jesuit Raiders, live at Infinity Park Stadium, Glendale CO: emergent men - for tickets  good for the subsequent MLR match, go here;

·        2:15pm: Glendale Merlins v Belmont Shore, live-streamed at USAR Women’s Division-1 Clubside Regional Playoffs from Burr Field, Austin;

·        4pm: Glendale Raptors v Seattle SeaWolves live at Infinity Park Stadium (down the Kettle), Glendale Colorado: MLR - two teams hunting the playoffs frame right now... today’s outcome will impact that picture considerably

GO you Angels, Merlins,

Raiders, Rams and Raptors!!!

 YOU are part of something greater!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Major League Rugby Preview: 5:17,18

Major League Rugby North America Weekend Preview: 5.18-5.19: tick-tock...

Clubs have either two or three fixtures remaining. Therefore 10 or 15 the potential points to be won. 60+, possibly high 50s, table points should earn extra time, maybe low 50s but mo’, as they say, is bettah’, alway [sic].  
Saturday, May 18th:
               NOLA Gold (51) v (11) Houston SabreCats at Gold Stadium, Marrero LA, 3pm MST: home team, smarting from last week’s loss, will be looking to make a statement, while the ‘Cats are in spoiler mode; overcast and low 80s with considerable wind from the southeast, plus the potential for rain earlier in the day;

               Glendale Raptors (42) v (46) Seattle SeaWolves down the Kettle at Infinity, Glendale CO, 4pm MST: doesn’t get any better than this: ‘Wolves are likely into the playoffs as they’ve got Austin and Utah after this to conclude their campaign, but figure Seattle will consider this as important a match as last weekend’s delirium-inducing joy on the eastern seaboard; the XVs will be firing all their guns with hotshots, Robbie Petzer for hosts and Brock Staller for guests, numbering up; to put it simply, Glendale must win out to have a chance at extra time this season... and the more points garnered from the wins the better; so this is the M-o-W; 60 and partial cover at first kick, no rain, but a southeast wind;

               Utah Warriors (17) v (52) San Diego Legion at Zions Bank , Herriman UT, 7pm MST: visitors can all but reserve a playoff berth with victory today; homeside will provide an 80-minute, formly-physical debate on that reckoning; upper 50s and cloudy, bit of breeze, and no rain though it will have stormed off-and-on the previous three days, so happy the forwards in tight, greasy spaces;
Sunday, May 19th:           
               New York United  (44) v (4) Austin Elite at the MCU on Coney Island - Brooklyn, 11am MST: United, like NOLA, will not like last weekend’s result and will be itching to make amends that; Elite could see joy today with consistency and continuity; middle 60s, maybe thunderstorms, but southern wind, and slick surface and pill regardless as it will have rained.

So, here're two weekends in July and a kickstart in June provided by the only Summer 15s League in the U-S-A:

Boulder v Broomfield: 2019 Rugby Colorado State D-2 Championship

Piece of the sky and the pill for the Broomfield leaper

Broomfield best in State

Tigers RFC, the high school club that represents Arvada, Broomfield and Westminster emergent men’s rugby in Colorado, claimed the 2019 Rugby Colorado Division-2 State Championship in dramatic fashion down the Kettle at Infinity just before time in the second half of extended play over Boulder Lions.

With temperatures hovering the 80⁰ mark and overcast skies, referee Cameron Pettit whistled up the onset of play and the rugby was full-on at the initiating drop.

Tigers saw success in sequential swift, hard-charging and challenging pick-and-goes from breakdown and off set pieces in the near channels, while Lions elected to open the field wide with service to their three-quarters and questioning territorial hoists down field that put the Tigers back-three backs under pressure.

First blood to Broomfield after a sticksplitting penalty goal by their scrumhalf struck truly from twenty meters out and to the right of the post: 3-nil for Tigers at the 6th minute.

Boulder’s reply came surely three minutes on after eight phases of forward progress diagonally into and through the Broomfield 22, and within their business district 10 meters from paint; Lions flyhalf snatched ball from breakdown and dove over the goaline to touch down the unconverted try and 5 and 3 the tallies after nine minutes of play.

Tigers regained the lead after persistent p-n-gs enabled a breach well-exploited by the alert Broomfield standoff, who touched down for his halfback partner’s conversion and 10-5 in the 16th.  

Boulder had a handful of minutes inside the Broomfield 22, attempting to punch through the Broomfield midfield, but Tigers resilient in defense just then and eventual turnover allowed for clearance to touch and the action moved to midfield.

A brace of touch downs by Lions blindside break and 8man, one grounded at time in the half and converted by their 10, had Lions ahead, 17-10, at Pettit’s midpoint signal and it was lads to lockers for hydration and instruction. Broomfield, mighty in the short bursts from breakdown, would have to lower their tackles in order to avoid the fend, while the Boulder backrow ran rampant; Lions for their measure, must find better grip on the pill out wide as errors there stymied movement, at times.

Tigers halfback, whose ubiquitous presence allover the pitch provided much forward mo' for the champions, digs the pill from breakdown hard-won by the Brromfield pack

Broomfield drew level on a sublime offload from their 10 to their speeding backrow lock, who crashed to space and looped the end zone to dot beneath, and in the center of, the uprights for an academic conversion and all had 17 just then.

Tigers attempt at a match-winning penalty goal from midfield at time drifted just wide the left upright and Boulder’s rushing reply well into Broomfield territory closeby goal failed when the ball fell forward at comprehensive Tigers containment.

Overtime in the last minute, Tigers smashed across for the grounding that brought home Tigers first Rugby Colorado State Championship with a record of 24-17 at the Sir’s last blast.

Our Men's and Women'Champions in Texas on the Weekend 
Go you Merlins, Rams!!!