The 6 Pack Club Preview has returned for the 2019/20 seasons, choosing 6 matchups across all Men’s & Women’s Club Leagues, Conferences, and Divisions. Heading into the weekend of the 14th/15th of September, there are some very exciting matches taking place in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and New England Regions. Buckle up folks, because this year of club competition will be as fierce as ever, with much of the competition atmosphere and layout remaining similar to last year. Here to present the first 6 Pack Club preview of the year are the following teams and regions:
Women’s D1 – Midwest: Chicago Lions v Chicago Rugby
Chicago Rugby has started their 2019 Fall campaign with a streaking hot 3-0 record, and will be taking on the D1 newcomers, and city rivals, Chicago Lions. The Lions have historically been a solid side never to be reckoned with and with the overall Chicago atmosphere of Women’s competition heating up with the WPL North Shore side, there will be plenty of great talent and matchups to be seen throughout this division for years to come. Coach Bruce Snyder of the Lions is extremely excited for this upcoming crosstown matchup and weighs in.
“This match represents a great restart to our season. We’ve had the last three weekends off and are now heading into a seven week stretch where we will be playing every weekend. Our players have worked hard to learn and build their skills, and everyone is excited to apply what we’ve been working on.
I have no doubly this weekend will set the tone for the rest of the Fall season.” Snyder adds, “We look forward to hosting Chicago Women this weekend and to having a highly competitive contest with them. They were our final friendly in the Spring, and we were able to gain a lot of experience from that match.” Check this box for our Matchup of the Week, because there is sure to be end of summer fireworks in the Windy City.
Men’s D1 – Midwest: Palmer College Dragons vs Kansas City Blues
Men’s Division 1 is ready to blast off with a great matchup between these two determined clubs. Last year, KC had taken both matches when the two clubs faced off, but Palmer is excited about the opportunity to give the Blues a taste of their own medicine. Head coach for Palmer College, Giovanni Frapporti is especially enthusiastic in his club’s potential this year, along with the division as a whole.
He states, “Kansas City has always been a solid team to play against with a roster rich in experienced players that know how to play properly. On our side, 100% of our players are students at Palmer College of Chiropractic.” Frapporti also mentions the obstacles and determination his team faces, “Going through the chiropractic program and rugby is not easy at all but I am very proud of the work they put in at every practice. We have a great group of skilled players but most importantly a solid group of friends. Where technique is missing we put our hearts in. This Saturday is going to be the first wall to walk through in order to achieve the goals we have set at the beginning of the season. It doesn’t really matter with which roster they’ll come with in Davenport this weekend, we will be ready to play our best rugby.”
The perennial powerhouse Kansas City Blues side is looking forward to their Fall campaign, and will be taking their preparation for every team across the board on their schedule seriously. Looking to improve on their 3-5 record from previous season, Head coach James Paterson chimes in on the clubs present focus,
“The last 12 months the Kansas City Blues have gone through a rebuilding phase introducing a new system and staff. The spring season this year was a big improvement over the fall of 18 and we expect continued gains as we improve our core skill set and player depth.” Paterson continues, “This weekend will be a good barometer of where we are at. Palmer the last couple years have finished at the top end of the conference. They play a good brand of rugby, have an excellent set piece and are very physical. We look forward to playing this weekend and showcasing some exciting new talent coming out of the Kansas City Blues Rugby Program.”
Women’s D2 – New England: Albany Knicks vs Providence Rugby
The Albany Sirens are coming off an unsatisfying 2018/19 campaign, with high hopes of trending upward toward Division 2 stardom and success. Coming off an unfortunate loss vs Worcester Shamrocks, the Sirens captains (Mel Weils and Camila Osses) along with head coach (Lori Staples) have encouraging words for continuing their pathway against the Providence side.
“[We] are going into this game head-strong in order to play against an opponent that shares the same intense dedication to the sport” says Weils. “We are familiar with each other’s style, and have had the opportunity to face off in past 15s and 7s games where we are competing to the nail-biting end.
The competition is fierce and [we] are looking forward to a fast-paced and creative game against Providence.”, concludes Osses. Head coach Lori Staples mentions, “Providence and ourselves have been closely matched for years in terms of our style-of-play, team composition and competitiveness. We last played Providence in the 2017-18 season and split our home and away series back then.” Looking to shake off a disappointing road loss to Worcester, Staples adds, “We’ve had a lot of turnover on our squad since we last played Providence in 15s so I’m looking forward to seeing how our new players take on the challenge of this exciting rivalry.”
Men’s D2 – Midwest: Indianapolis Impalas vs Cleveland Crusaders
One of the top matchups of the week is the Midwest showdown between the Impalas & Crusaders. Both of these teams finished second in their respective regions, but now have found each other fighting for supremacy within the same conference. The Impalas were known to have a high-powered attacking presence throughout all 80 minutes, with impressive athletes commanding both the forward pack and backline. This matchup will be a great determinant to showcase which team has more grit and capability of withstanding a grueling test match.
“We have an incredibly tough matchup this weekend, as we travel to an always tough Indianapolis Impalas team.”, says Cleveland president, Terry Kilbane. “As the reigning Midwest Champs, we know that we are going to get everybody’s best shot, and there are no easy Saturdays on the schedule this year. We will win or lose this game on our defense and ability to work together within our structures. We believe we have a very talented group, capable of great things, but first things first, we have to perform on Saturday.”
Although the Impalas show fine potential, the Crusaders are not a team to sleep on. Their incredibly impressive Fall 2018 campaign sent tons of momentum into spring. Even though the Spring 2019 schedule did not pan out as they had planned, the fire has been burning in the belly of this strong Cleveland side. Their last week’s close loss to Pittsburgh Force, 12-15, was a nail-biter to the end, but the club is sure of amending their mistakes and errors coming this weekend in Indianapolis.
Women’s D3 – Mid-Atlantic: York & Landcaster Thorns vs South Jersey Devils
The York & Landcaster Thorns are yet to begin their divisional play this 2019 campaign, and are hungry to avenge their previous sub-.500 season. York & Landcaster are looking to be ‘Thorns’ in the side of their divisional rival, South Jersey Devils this upcoming weekend. The Devils however, are divisional championship defenders and will not be a club to roll-over to the determined York & Landcaster side.
Head coach Chris Kevenaar of South Jersey not only is looking to retain a successful tradition, but also has other priorities this season, “Coming off a championship season we have some rebuilding to do after losing eight starters and three subs to injury and relocation. Rookies are stepping up and returning players are diving into new roles. In our first away game of the year against a very physical Lancaster side and a particularly cheeky flyhalf.” Kevenaar mentions the keys to their success as, “We are looking to contain on defense and force turnover ball to create offensive opportunity. On the offensive side, we are preparing to come out with stability, ball control, and to hit good lines.”
Men’s D3 – Mid-Atlantic: Philadelphia Gryphons vs Northeast Philadelphia Irish
Another crosstown matchup this weekend includes the city of Brotherly Love, aka Philadelphia. This match is expected to go down exactly like a brotherly contest would go, with plenty of hard hits and intensity. The Northeast Philadelphia Irish had bolstered an outstanding season in 2018/19 going without a loss, unfortunately until the final game of the season where they had lost to Grand Rapids. We expect this game to include lots of tries, a few cheeky scuffs, and plenty of fun play.
The head coach for the Gryphons, Phil Egner, has some color commentary on his expectations for this game, the season, and the “game after the game”. Egner states, “We are looking forward to our game against NE-Irish this week. It will be a great opportunity for the Gryphons to test their defensive & attack systems and build some momentum into this new season.” He continues with, “Appreciating that NEI had an excellent record last year and having suffered a heavy loss to them at the beginning of last season – we eagerly accept the tough challenge ahead of us. The fresh blood (recruits) has brought a lot of energy and creativity into the squad. The coaches and supporters are very excited for this new generation of Gryphons to take the home field and play some quality, running rugby. The Gryphon’s strive to provide a friendly, inclusive, safe and positive environment to learn & enjoy rugby. Regardless of the final score – we are sure to have a fantastic day of competitive rugby followed by fun, friendship and free ‘soda’ at the Gryphon’s renowned drink-ups!”
Regardless of the final score – we are sure to have a fantastic day of competitive rugby followed by fun, friendship and free ‘soda’ at the Gryphon’s renowned drink-ups!”