Club Rugby Saturday Six Pack: Top Teams in Top Divisions Take the Field

Red River Men’s Division I: Austin Blacks vs. Dallas Rugby:

What has quickly become one of, if not the best, rivalries in Division I rugby over the past few years is set for another edition this weekend; as the Austin Blacks take on Dallas Rugby. While blowing through the rest of the competition, these two teams have been locked in tight tussles and the winner of the division often comes down to the winner of their series. This year the story looks to be playing out exactly the same and each team knows the importance of striking first blood in the season series.

“We know them pretty well and they know us pretty well,” started the Blacks’ head coach Tane Jericevich. “Every year the games could have gone either way. We are confident, in terms of out preparation so far, having won four from four; but we’re expecting a very good game from them.” The four from four Jericevich mentioned gives plenty of cause to be confident. In their opening quartet matches, they have a scored a whopping 360 points and only let in six.

The Reds’ start isn’t too far behind the Blacks. In their opening trio of games they have scored 204 points, but have been looser in defense letting 50 points up on the board. A lot of the success the Reds enjoy comes from their 10,11,12 trio of Blake Boulton, Darrien Pipkins, and Jake Campey. Between the three of them, they have been responsible for 149 of the Reds’ points. Their tactics for the weekend will be pretty clear- get the ball into their hands as often as possible and ensure the ball to them is quick and clean.

Rampaging through their competition so early on, could be a cause of concern for some, as neither team has had to deal with, or overcome any real challenges to them. However, Jericevich does not see it this way and knows his men will be up to the challenge when the opening whistle blows on Saturday. Jericevich notes, “Our focus is never really on the other teams… its on ourselves and improving ourselves. With that focus and that mind set- we’ve managed put up those big score lines. We don’t get to 30 points up and sit back we improve and make sure we are firing on all cylinders. That preparation and mindset will hold us in good stead come a harder and tougher opposition like the Reds.”

Similarly, the Reds have made it a habit to put their foot down when they get a lead. While, they have let in more points than the Blacks, the Reds always have the last say and will often close out the last 20 minutes of a game in a more impressive fashion than they played the first 60. Strong depth from 1-23 on the field are, in large part, responsible for their ability to surge late in the game.

Depth and an abundance of talent are two things that the Blacks have in droves. While they have a some outstanding individuals on their squad, Jericevich believes the team is greater than sum of its parts. “Everybody has an important role to play in our system. I wouldn’t single anyone out and that it’s a real team effort. Without one person performing, the whole team falls apart.”

The match will be hosted at their historic Burr Field, which is one of the most intimidating places to play in the country. While the Blacks are happy to be enjoying the home comforts, they aren’t taking their win loss record at home as anything more than a statistic. “History will tell you we’ve won all of our games against the Reds at Burr Field”, said Jericevich. “We haven’t actually won in Dallas in three years now. Based on the statistics you’d say it is easier for us to win at Burr, but at the end of the day the fields are all the same size.”

These games, despite both teams propensity to score in large doses, have a tendency to be low scoring (comparative to the other games they play in the season); as the defensive efforts on both get raised significantly. With that being said, there will be an expectation for explosive offenses and dazzling backline displays as well. While, that might be what grabs the attention, what will likely win the game for either team is the work put in around the breakdowns and set pieces. With both teams possessing strong backlines whichever pack is able to impede the attacking flow of their opposition with the most success, will probably find themselves on top at the end of the game.

 

Major League Rugby: NOLA Gold vs. Rugby United New York:

Year two of major league rugby is underway and one of the biggest surprises of the year has been the turnaround of the NOLA Gold. Last year the Gold showed signs of their potential but were marred with injuries and never reached their best form, ultimately failing to make the playoffs. This year a busy offseason, highlighted extensive signings has led them to take their 3-0 record to the top of the table. Their perfect season will face a real threat this weekend, as they welcome new comers Rugby United New York (RUNY) to the bayou. RUNY, on the back of impressive signings of both coaches and players, put themselves at the top of many pundits’ lists for 2019 champions. They won an impressive MLR debut against San Diego in the first round of the season, but since then they have had a bye for two consecutive weeks. RUNY will face a stiff challenge coming in a little bit rusty, against a team that has been firing on all cylinders and seemingly going from strength to strength each week; but they have the talent and the skill to keep pace with the Gold. Expect this game to be played at a blistering pace with scoring coming consistently on both sides.

 

Arizona Men’s Division III: Tucson Magpies vs. Old Pueblo Lions:

Down in the Copper State, the table leading Tucson Magpies play host to the Old Pueblo Lions, who are currently nipping at their heels in the ladder. Sitting at 2-1, the Magpies have had a season filled with more ups than downs. Their wins have been impressive and by vast margins scoring over 40 points in each win; however, they lost in heart breaking fashion to the Las Vegas Irish D3 after a last minute conversion sailed over the uprights, 30-29. What made the loss tough to stomach, other than the last minute nature, was the Magpies led by 12 at points in the game. If they are to be successful this weekend, they’ll need to be switched on for the full 80. Old Pueblo, conversely to the Magpies, are a team who have been trying to find consistency all year. They currently sit at 2-2, but despite the .500 record, they are only one point behind the Magpies. Their key to success this weekend, and finding consistency, will be pretty simple- get the ball in the hands of Jared Varner and Joshua Brand. These two have proven themselves to be troublesome to defenders, with a combined 7 tries on the year. If these two are shut down, so too is the Lions’ attack. The Magpies will be keen to avoid any lapses in concentration that will see them crack the line.   

 

Carolinas-Georgia Senior Men’s Division II: Atlanta Old White vs. Life Running Eagles D2:

The top two teams will face each other in the Carolinas-Georgia competition, when Atlanta Old White host the return leg of their fixture against Life’s Running Eagles D2 squad. 2018-19 has been a far cry from 2017-18 for Old White, where they only won less than 40% of their games. This year they have seen an about turn and currently already have three wins, but only one loss. It has been a team effort, with seven players scoring at least twice and 13 of their players scoring at least once. With this cohesiveness, it will be tough to find ways of shutting them down. However, if there is a team to do it- it will be the Life Running Eagles D2 squad. Two games into the season, the Running Eagles are sitting in prime position, with a 2-0 record. They’ve been dominant in their wins too, with their smallest margin of victory being 22 points. Old White will have their work cut out for them, but playing at home could play nicely into their hands and be a determining factor in the outcome of the game.

 

Pacific Rugby Premiership: Belmont Shore Rug
by vs. Santa Monica Dolphins

After taking a week off, the Pacific Rugby Premiership is back and the defending champions are set to take on one of the biggest surprises of the year, the Santa Monica Dolphins. 2018 was a year to remember for Belmont Shore as they won the PRP, in its first year back and made it all the way to the National Championship. However, 2019 hasn’t been as kind to the men from Southern California and they are currently stuck in the middle of the ladder, at 1-1. The good news is the season is still young and they aren’t too far behind in the chase for the title; however they will face a stiff test weekend. Santa Monica were a team full of potential last year, but it didn’t seem to click. This year they seem to have finally got things going. Their turnaround has come is large part due to the play of their standout flyhalf- Maxwell Rodman and Outside Center Jone Koronisigana both of whom have been the focal points of the Dolphins attack. Look for the Dolphins to try and exploit the middle of the field using Koronisigana as the major threat before spinning it wide and putting it in the finishing hands of their wings. It should be a top class match between two of the best men’s division I teams in the country.

 

Northern California Men’s Division III-B: San Francisco Golden Gate D3 vs. Diablo Olde Gael D3:

In Northern California, the Diablo Olde Gaels D3 will travel across the bay to face off with league leading, San Francisco Golden Gate D3. SFGG D3 have been immense in their two showings this year, averaging 50 points a match. They have been bolstered by the likes of their loose head prop, Nino Tamburello and wing, Aaron Rambo. Each of these players has started the season off on fire, scoring three and five tries respectively. SFGG will be looking to use their hard running forwards to create gaps for their speedy backs to exploit and score early and often. For the Olde Gaels D3, they had a opening day to forget, losing by 53 to the San Jose Seahawks D3 side. They made up for it, however, the following week when they beat the San Francisco Fog by a similar margin of, 54 points. They’ll be searching for sustained stability this weekend, both in the game and for their season. If the Olde Gaels can turn out in a similar fashion to their second round performance it promises to be a great match. If they don’t, it could be another long day at the office for them.

Pacific South Recap: Few Nails Left After Close Encounters

Men’s Division II:
After a week’s rest, Men’s Division II play in the Pacific South picked up again. Pasadena made up for lost time and scored a convincing 48-20 win over the Red Mountain Warthogs. The Warthogs established an early lead, only to see it fade by half time. Pasadena seized the momentum coming out of the gates in the second half, scoring in the first minute, and never looking back. Inside Center, Anthony Mendoza, number eight, Jacob Jaureguy and fullback Api Foumai all bagged doubles in the effort.

San Fernando Valley survived a last minute scare to cling on to a one-point, 30-29, victory over the Las Vegas Irish. After a close first half, San Fernando pulled away in the opening moments of the second; in large part due to the boot of Hawks Liva.  They sat on an 11 point lead with ten minutes to play, but a score in the 70th minute followed by a yellow card five minutes later set up for a climactic finish- and that’s exactly what happened. A try to Chase Barber, of the Irish, with time expired left the game in a one-point balance and a kick to come. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful, and San Fernando survived to record their first win of the season.

Another close game saw the Ventura County Outlaws hold on against the Tempe Old Devils. Tempe opened the game with a 17-3 lead after only 25 minutes. However, the Outlaws snapped back and methodically chipped away at the Devils’ lead until they over took them, 24-17 in the 64th minute. A try in the 75th minute to Tempe’s tight-head prop, Justin Reeves, drew the score within two and a successful conversion would tie the game up. The kick missed and Ventura County held on in the final five minutes for a 24-22 win.

The San Diego Old Aztecs gave Los Angeles Rugby a day they’d rather forget. The Aztecs walking away with a resounding, 62-15 win.  Inside Center Mapa Tuipulotu was the hat trick hero in their winning efforts.

 

Women’s Division II:

The only match to be played in the women’s pacific south competition ended in a 14-14 draw between the Las Vegas Slots and Pasadena Rugby. Pasadena crossed first in the fourth minute, before a try to Las Vegas’ Tameris Griffin drew everything level again. Shortly after halftime Pasadena reestablished their lead via Molly Shamieh before the Slots tied it up once more seven minutes later. From there the score did not change and the final whistle blew with 14 points to each team.

 

Men’s Division III:

Plenty of action in Division III over the weekend. Old Pueblo Lions took down the Northern Arizona Landsharks, in an evenly contested match, 27-24.  The Lions opened with a 12-0 lead, but by half time the scores had been leveled. Three minutes into the second half and it was the Landsharks in the lead. It didn’t take long for the Lions to rediscover their roar, and two tries in six minutes saw them retake the lead, 22-19. In what was becoming somewhat of a tradition, the Landsharks retook the lead less than three minutes later and with 20 left on the clock, Northern Arizona was on top 24-22. However, the last and winning score was secured in the 66th minute when hooker Daniel Berumen crashed over the line to win the game for the Lions.

The Tucson Magpies blew by Camelback rugby, 41-0. Outside Center, David Spence crossed for two tries; and Phoenix Rugby were able to stave off a tough Scottsdale Blues side, 38-24.  

In Southern California, Belmont Shore D3 beat San Diego Old Aztecs D3 with ease, 70-7. Back Bay Sharks were able to hold off Eagle Rock Athletic, 20-13; and the Huntington Beach Unicorns improved to 2-1 with an eight point decision over Santa Barbara 22-14.

 

Men’s Division IV:

The only game of the round for the Pacific South’s Men’s Division IV competition saw Riverside Rugby drop their second on the trot, this time to Dead Rabbits Rugby, 41-38.

MLR Power Rankings Week 4: Who Has the Top Spot?

To go hand in hand with our experts and their weekly picks, they have now come together to vote on where they think each team sits in the grand scheme of things. Unsurprisingly, it is NOLA Gold sitting atop the rankings, after going 3-0 to kick their season off. Not far behind them are Rugby United New York, despite only having played one game. In third come the San Diego Legion, who, after dropping their opening match of the season to RUNY, have gone 2-0. In fourth come Toronto, who put in a gutsy performance against the Austin Elite over the weekend to secure their first ever MLR win. 5th and 6th belong to last year’s champion, Seattle and runner up, Glendale, respectively. Both the Seawolves and the Raptors have struggled to get off the mark this year, each with two losses next to their name; however there is faith amongst pundits they’ll return to form once their squads are bolstered with the return of some of their missing talent. In the bottom three are Utah, Houston and Austin. Austin sits at 0-3; while both Utah and Houston have a win each, but have not provided the experts with enough faith, yet, to place them higher.

Red River Recap: Quiet Weekend Gives Rise to Explosive Games

Men’s Division I:

It was a tough day in the office for the West Houston Lions, as they suffered a hefty loss to the Austin Blacks, 92-0. Standing out from the rest of the team were number eight Hayden Johnson who scored five tries and fullback Adam Armstrong who scored 27 points, 22 of which came off his boot.

 

Women’s Division I:

Scores were closer in the Women’s first division, with the Austin Valkyries taking down the Dallas Harlequins, 21-12, to win their second game in as many weeks against the Quins. The Valkyries opened up a 14-point lead after only 18 minutes, but the Harlequins fought back and with 30 minutes remaining, they trailed 14-12. A try in the 70th minute put the icing on the cake for the Valkyries and they held on for the win.

 

Men’s Division II:  

The lone game in Men’s Division II came from the Lone Star State. Austin Huns D2 put in an impressive shift to walk away with the 34-10 win over Fort Worth Rugby. From the first whistle until the last, it was all seemingly one way traffic for the hosts. They opened up a 17 point lead in as many minutes, before a scoring drought ensued to close the half. Fort Worth looked like they may have found a way back into the contest, early after the second half begun. However, any chance of a comeback was snuffed out when the Huns crossed shortly after to reestablish their prior 17 point lead. The Huns then continued to pile the scoring on, with Fort Worth crossing once more before the final whistle blew to add some garnish to the scoreline.

 

Women’s Division II:

Bay Area Rugby were on the wrong end of a lopsided scoreboard after Saturday’s encounter with the San Antonio Riveters, losing 73-10. Tori Armstrong and Christine Krieger were both outstanding in the winning effort. Armstrong contributing four tries, while Krieger added 38 points including four tries and nine conversions. In the other, much anticipated, game the Austin Valkyries D2 squad followed their D1 squad’s suit beating the Little Rock Stormers, 25-5. It was shaping up to be a close affair, with both teams scoring tries in the opening ten minutes, to set the stage for a 5-5 tie in the score. However, the second half went entirely the way of the Valkyries as they scored 20 unanswered.

 

Men’s Division III:

Plenty of action took place across the third division. Austin Blacks D3 continued their strong start to the year with an impressive outing against the McAllen Knights, taking them down 50-15. The other game out of the central pool saw Corpus Christi hang in the waning moments to see off a resurgent Alamo City squad and win 20-19.

In the North, conversions were the difference between Alliance and Grand Prairie as Alliance won, 14-12. Shreveport and Denton weren’t as evenly matched, as Shreveport landed a 17-point win, 41-24.

The story was similar in the South, with Galveston Rugby securing a 43-0 win over the Houston Arrows. Kingwood Crusaders and Bay Area Rugby were locked in a tough tussle, but the Crusaders ultimately prevailed, 35-29.

 

Men’s Division IV:

Alliance’s D4 squad followed their D3 squad’s suit and convincingly took down Grand Prairie Mavericks D4, 47-5. Houston Athletic D4 were too strong for San Marcos Greys D4 and sent them back with a 24-point loss, 38-14. The final game of the weekend saw Galveston Rugby D4 unable to take the West Houston Lions D4, as they were outclassed to a 39-24 scoreline.

Pacific North Recap: Table Leaders Making Presence Known

Northern California Women’s DII

San Jose Seahawks were at home against San Francisco Golden Gate (SFGG) as both teams were looking for their first win.  The Seahawks flew out of the gate with an immediate 7 points, soaring to a 24-7 halftime score as SFGG came up with a last minute converted try.  The second half was the same as the Seahawks dominated SFGG 41-12.  Sacramento Amazons travelled to Berkeley All Blues D2 as both teams vied to remain unbeaten.  #13 Ofolangi Mailangi had 4 first half tries as the Amazons fought to a 7-39 lead at the half.  Berkeley dug in their heels in the second half and almost completed a phenomenal home-field comeback, but ultimately fell short as they scored their final 7 to earn a losing bonus point 38-44.

Northern California Men’s Division III-A:

San Joaquin-Stanislaus Rugby was on the road for the second week against Google Rugby.  Google got on the board first midway through the first half, but San Joaquin quickly answered back to tie.  Google added a penalty kick and both teams had staunch defense, keeping ahead 10-7 going into the break. The second half saw 3 lead changes and it was San Joaquin that scored last and collect the win, 18-21. Olympic Club Rugby D3 travelled to Chico Mighty Oaks and capitalized on a pair of Chico yellow cards to control the game and secure the victory, 22-44.  Redwood Empire Rugby hosted Fresno Rugby in a back and forth game that played out in the waning moments.  Fresno’s Flyhalf Alex Rylance converted his own try to bring Fresno to within 2 points with 10 minutes remaining.  It was Redwood that lost the game, though, allowing a penalty try in the final play, losing the game 31-36.  Napa Valley again dominated a road game against the winless Berkeley Rugby 19-45. 

Northern California Men’s Division III-B

San Jose Seahawks D3 hosted a strong Marin Red team.  Both sides had yet to record a loss this season and it was the home team that scored first and held on, thwarting a late Marin comeback 35-29.  Jesters Rugby had no problems with San Francisco Fog at home, dominating 88-0 to remain at the top of the table.  San Francisco Golden Gate (SFGG) D3 held onto their high seat as well as they travelled to Bay Area Baracus B.  Baracus nearly had a late comeback, bringing the score to within 2 points with 15 minutes remaining.  Loosehead Daniel Vete had the last say for SFGG as his late try secured their win 29-38.       

Northern California Men’s Division II

Sacramento Capitals could not find the answer on the road against San Jose Seahawks, despite having a man advantage 3 times.  The Seahawks managed to keep their feathers from being too ruffled 25-5.  Vacaville Old Dogs hosted league leaders Santa Rosa Rugby and started barking early.  Santa Rosa recollected and held a narrow lead at half 7-14.  Santa Rosa tamed the Dogs in a defensive second half, remaining undefeated 15-26.  A tough Life West Gladiators D2 denied Diablo Old Gaels their first win.  Taking advantage of a Gladiator yellow card, Diablo racked up 12 points at the end, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit, 22-39.  It was all San Francisco Golden Gate D2 (SFGG) as they travelled to Bay Area Baracus and raced to a 7-52 lead at halftime.  SFGG then got a little sloppy and complacent with a yellow card to start the second half.  Baracus held SFGG to 7 second half points, but could not bridge the difference, losing 28-59.

South Recap: Clubs Kick Spring Efforts Up a Notch

Women’s Division II:

In Florida, Fort Miami hosted the Jacksonville Sinners Saturday.  The game belonged to Fort Miami, as the club blanked Jacksonville with the final score 74-0.  Fort Miami’s top try scorers include Lindsey Koren (three), Rakayyah Peters (two), Tatum Walker (tries) Karla Cote (one try and one penalty try)., Brie Cokos (one), Kristi Schneep (one), and Karen Liu (one).

Also, in a much closer matchup Saturday, the Orlando Griffins successfully defended their home turf, defeating the Tampa Bay Krewe 27-20.  The Krewe had led 15-0 at halftime, but the Griffins dominated the second half. 

Men’s Division II 

Carolinas/Georgia
In the Carolinas/Georgia, the Greenville Griffins hosted Charlotte Rugby.  For the second Saturday in a row, the Greenville game resulted in a tie score, 22-22, this time against Charlotte.  Matt Myers, Alexander Wohlers, Lawson Ballard each secured one try for Greenville. For Charlotte, Matthew Aronowitz, Nicholas Penning, and Osvaldo Sombo each earned a try. 

Florida
Three games took place Saturday across the Sunshine State.

First, the Naples Hammerheads blasted the Fort Lauderdale Knights 79-7.   Naples try scorers include Jocelyn Edouard (three), Liam Blake (two), Arnold Mananu (two) Daniel Creel (one), William Huie (one try), Torrence Williamson (one), and Kevin Kermundu (one). 

In Orlando, the Griffins hosted the Tampa Bay Krewe for part one of the “War for I-4.”  Tampa defeated Orlando 33-11.  The rematch will take place in Tampa on February 23.

Miami Rugby routed the hosting Okapi Wanderers 58 to 26. For Miami, Christopher Nelson and William Moreno led the team with two tries each. Ariel Marquez, Luis Lucas, Christopher Nelson, Francisco Montaner William Moreno, Miguel Lindsey, David Rodas, and Ridrigo Salas, all scored one try. 

True South
In the True South North, Nashville Rugby defeated Chattanooga Rugby 43-19.  Try Scorers for Nashville include Andrew Rappe (two), Nathan Ring, Colby Wright (one), Nathan Ring (one), David Elliott (one), and Jacob Hicks (one).

In True South’s South, the Birmingham Vulcans rallied from a 22 to 7 deficit to defeat the Baton Rouge Rugby 34-29. Birmingham’s scorers include Marco Calloway (two tries), Erick Hanson (one), Adam Hicks (one), Matt Buford (one), and Beau Guinta (one try).

Men’s Division III

Carolinas
Two matchups took place in the Carolinas subdivision of USA Rugby South. In the first, the Clayton Bootleggers beat the Charlotte Barbarians 37 to 34. For the Bootleggers, Camron Grim earned two tries, with Austin Lyons, Brian Beauregard and Eric Davis each scoring one try.  The Columbia Olde Grey defeated the Raleigh Vipers 29 to 14. The Bootleggers’ tries were scored by Keaton Mauldin (two), Jacob Smith (one), Marquise Snead (one), and Tyler Gillam.  Scorers for the Vipers included Taylor and Andrew Agans, each with one try,

Florida
The Miami Tridents B Side beat Brevard’s Old Red Eye  29 to 18. Martin Parrens scored all three of Bravard’s tries. The Sarasota Surge beat the Tampa Bay Krewe’s D3 20 to 10.  Surge try scorers include James Burles, Nicanor Pombo De Erezcano, and Sieraaj Allie (one each).   Dominic Raciti and Zach Hatras each scored one try for the Krewe. The St. Petersburg Pelicans defeated the Daytona Beach Coconuts 34 to 7. Pelicans scoring tries include Jordan Czaplicki (two), Scott Garren, Calvin Eells, Patrick Forde, Taylor Dowell, and Michael Schwandt (one).  Charles Buckland scored Daytona’s only try.

True South
In the True South East subdivision, Chattanooga Rugby defeated the Gadsden Pioneers Rugby 37 to 27. Wrapping up Saturday’s games in True South’s South, Battleship Rugby defeated the Okaloosa Islanders  35 to 14.

 

USA Rugby and Canterbury renew kit partnership

  • Canterbury becomes official kit supplier to USA Rugby, beginning April 2019
  • Returning as outfitter, The United States National Teams last wore Canterbury in 2014
  • Each national team from senior squads to All-Americans will be outfitted, along with coaches and training staff. 

HOUSTON, TX – During the annual National Development Summit (NDS) hosted by USA Rugby, the organization announced a renewed partnership with global rugby brand, Canterbury. Last worn by the United States National Teams in 2014, Canterbury returns as the official kit supplier to USA Rugby and will begin the partnership in April 2019.

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Globally recognized as a leading brand in the sport of rugby, Canterbury has been a long-standing provider to athletes and fans alike. Established in 1904, the apparel company was also appointed sports apparel supplier with World Rugby for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.

“NDS is always an exciting time for big announcements, so it was fitting for us and Canterbury to share the new partnership with the American rugby community this weekend,” said USA Rugby Commercial Director, Mark Griffin, during the January conference, “Canterbury has been an outstanding partner to USA Rugby in the past and we’re thrilled to renew this partnership with an organization fully invested in the sport of rugby.”

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In a 5-year agreement, Canterbury will become the official kit supplier for all four senior national teams along with Falcons, Selects, Collegiate All-American, Junior All-American and High School All-American programs. Team coaches and staff will additionally be outfitted.

Commenting on behalf of Canterbury’s Global Office, Simon Rowe, Head of Sports Marketing “This new and exciting partnership enables Canterbury to innovate for, and inspire USA’s greatest rugby players across all ages, while also creating a supporter’s range for one of the fastest-growing fan-bases in world rugby.

When we met with USA Rugby during the successful Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco, their clear ambition for the growth of the game aligned with Canterbury’s values and we are proud to welcome USA Rugby to join Canterbury’s portfolio of teams, referees, volunteers who will we wearing the brand at Rugby World Cup in Japan and beyond. “

“We are very exciting to be working together with USA Rugby and their partners to highlight the leaps made in international play but also to continue to support the grass roots and youth efforts that will really be the game changer over time for Rugby in America. We are excited about the mission driven direction of the new Executive team and our shared focus on growing the game” commented Robbie Flynn, of Canterbury’s North American office.

About Canterbury

Canterbury has been committed to the game of rugby for 115 years. They are currently team kit supplier to several nations including England, Ireland, Japan, Canada, Georgia and Russia. Canterbury were also the official apparel partner for the British and Irish Lions New Zealand tour in 2017 and the Official Sportswear Supplier for the World Cup in 2015 and 2019. In addition to a strong commitment to international rugby Canterbury has been a keen supporter of grassroots and development level rugby for many years and currently supplies playing apparel to thousands of school and club sides throughout the globe. Canterbury are the leaders in innovating and bringing the market the world’s most technical, durable and design focused rugby tested and inspired athletic wear. The Company’s global HQ is based in Nottingham, England with offices in over 100 countries worldwide.

Women's Eagles 2019 Performance Squad announced

CHULA VISTA, CA. – 38 athletes have been named to the new Women’s Eagles (15s) 2019 Performance Squad, USA Rugby announced today.

The Performance Squad serves as the top tier of a new player pool structure, to be announced at the beginning of each year and remain equivalent in status across both the Women’s and Men’s Eagles (15s) sides. Both programs will include an Extended Squad within their player pool — which sits junior to the top tier — while the Women’s National Team will also have a third tier called the Watchlist.

Players who sit in the Extended Squad and Watchlist represent athletes who show potential to reach the main Women’s Performance tier over time. Each of the three groups within the player pool will receive attention and support from Women’s High Performance with accountability and resources most heavily attributed to the top Performance tier.

Additionally, to give athletes more opportunities to compete internationally, Women’s High Performance will integrate its sevens and fifteens programs by allowing Women’s Sevens players a chance to be selected for fifteens competitions. Athletes in the Women’s Sevens Residency Program will be considered an extension of the Women’s Eagles Performance Squad, with the goal of helping players cross into the fifteens program earlier in the 2021 World Cup cycle.

As a core piece in the new Road to 2021 Campaign for the Women’s National Team, the tiered structure provides athletes with much-needed transparency on where they stand within the larger setup of the program.

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The Women’s Eagles 2019 Performance Squad features 21 forwards and 17 backs with 10 players still seeking their first cap.

General Manager for Women’s High Performance, Emilie Bydwell said: “Rob and staff have worked hard to create the necessary depth charts for the Women’s 15s program at the senior and age-grade levels. These have allowed us to form critical tiers within our playing group and better understand what our current playing group looks like now, versus what it could look like in two and a half years at Rugby World Cup. Announcing and supporting a Performance Squad annually will increase transparency, clarity and inter-competition allow us to best maximize our support structures and resources. Having a clear vision on how each tier of our senior player pool, age-grade groups and sevens residents interact, operate and continue to develop is critical. Developing a fully functional ecosystem that encompasses all of these layers has been a real priority for us.”

Women’s Eagles Head Coach Rob Cain said: “This announcement shows exciting times for the Women’s 15s Program with many more announcements to follow. This continues to show our determination in demonstrating how clear, transparent and supportive we are with our approach as a program. Through our tiered player pools and yearly calendar, we give everyone an equal opportunity with lots of platforms to pursue their dream of being an Eagle.

This inner competition and accountability will really allow the players to not only drive their playing ambitions but also keep everything contextual; allowing them to showcase themselves on a regular basis in the environment we create.”

For more information about the Women’s National Team’s Road to 2021 Campaign, visit usarug.by/W15to2021.

To support the Women’s Eagles in their endeavor to represent the United States at Rugby World Cup New Zealand 2021, click here.

Women’s Eagles 2019 Performance Squad

Player Name Position Club Caps
Sui Aa’u Center Central Washington University 0
Tiana Aa’u Prop Central Washington University 1
Tiara Aa’u Prop Central Washington University 0
Katy Augustyn Hooker Berkeley All Blues 33
Bui Baravilala Center Berkeley All Blues 6
Catie Benson Prop Life West Gladiatrix 17
Stacey Bridges Second Row Beantown Rugby 36
Kaitlyn Broughton Back Three Atlanta Harlequins 3
Bitsy Cairns Back Row Life West Gladiatrix 8
Gabby Cantorna Flyhalf Glendale Merlins 3
Jennine Duncan Back Three Seattle Saracens 2
Megan Foster Fullback San Diego Surfers 5
Misha Green Back Row New York Rugby 0
McKenzie Hawkins Flyhalf Lindenwood University 3
Emily Henrich Center Dartmouth College 2
Evan Hoese Wing Berkeley All Blues 1
Katana Howard Flyhalf Twin City Amazons 0
Nick James Prop Houston Athletic 6
Bailey Johnson Second Row Twin City Amazons 0
Katie Johnson Back Row Twin City Amazons 0
Rachel Johnson Back Row Oregon Sports Union 3
Joanna Kitlinski Hooker Glendale Merlins 8
Cortney Kuehl Center Atlanta Harlequins 0
Bulou Mataitoga Fullback Berkeley All Blues 0
Azniv Nalbandian Prop Penn State University 3
Mary Jane Pasioles Halfback Central Washington University 0
Christiane Pheil Back Row Atlanta Harlequins 8
Kat Ramage Half Back Dartmouth College 0
Megan Rom Prop Life University 2
Kimber Rozier Center Beantown Rugby 30
Kristine Sommer Second Row Harlequins / Seattle Saracens 7
Kelsi Stockert Back Three Unattached 8
McKenna Strong Second Row Lindenwood University 1
Finau Tamaivena No 8 Seattle Saracens 1
Joyce Taufa Hooker Lindenwood University 3
Alycia Washington Second Row New York Rugby 17
Carly Waters Halfback New York Rugby 2
Kate Zackary (C) Back Row San Diego Surfers 9

Women’s Eagles Staff

General Manager of Women’s HP | Emilie Bydwell
Head Coach | Rob Cain
Assistant Coach | Richard Ashfield
Assistant Coach | Kate Daley
Assistant Coach | Jamie Burke
Assistant Coach & Athlete Mentor | Jenny Lui
Head of Physical Performance | Ian Jones
Head Performance Analyst | David Gardner
Head Athletic Trainer | Bri Sparks
Assistant Athletic Trainer | Katherine Henry
Team Doctor | Terrence Cronin
Women’s HP Operations Manager | Liz Strohecker

Women’s Eagles Tiered Player Pool

  • Performance Squad + Women’s Sevens Residency
  • Extended Squad
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Women’s Eagles Age-Grade Pathway

  • High School All-Americans
  • Junior All-Americans
  • Collegiate All-Americans

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Club Rugby Saturday Six Pack: South Comes Out to Play

Red River Women’s Division II: Little Rock Stormers vs. Austin Valkyries:
Two of the strongest Women’s Division II teams in the country face off in the Red River Competition. Little Rock’s Stormers will welcome in Austin’s Valkyries as both teams put their undefeated seasons on the line. They each enter the contest with impressive starts to the season, winning their opening matches and each averaging over 50 points a game. While these impressive starts to the season may seem extraordinary, and they are, for these two teams they’ve grown accustomed to these standards.

“Having a good club culture really keeps us going on both sides,” noted Eric Enright, coach of the Valkyries. The club culture he mentions is not just a bias opinion. Austin has done a tremendous job of cultivating a club and investing heavily to create two women’s teams, one which competes perennially in Division I and a D2 side, which has been at the forefront of the national game for a while now. The depth they possess and the competition for spots on either teams means that each player is constantly pushing their case and the players around themselves to be the best they can be. Contrarily, Little Rock has adopted an approach of surrounding themselves with new faces. According to their coach, Kate Turnpin, they actively pursue multisport athletes and try to teach them the game. It has been a relatively successful approach so far, but there have been some growing pains.

Last year was a banner year for both programs, as each team made the Red River playoffs. However, Austin was able to capitalize on their opportunities more and they advanced to the national quarterfinals; while Little Rock were home after the first round of the Red River playoffs. Neither team is particularly happy with the circumstances under which their season ended last year, but both are using it as motivation to get back and make a mends for last year.

“Oh yeah, we’re really excited about this year’s playoffs,” began Enright. “Last year with our D2 side it was a new experience for a lot of those girls. Coming off that and adding a few new players to our D2 squad having all of that experience is going to really help us push towards the playoffs this year.” For Little Rock it’s a similar sentiment. “We were still in our recruitment phase, we have some talented athletes, but not very deep. We wound up succumbing to injuries last season. We had just 15 at playoffs and we had two girls go down with injuries in the game. This year with a deeper bench and little bit more rugby under the belts we are definitely coming back with something to prove,” noted Turpin.

To help them get over their respective playoff humps, each team will have to play as a whole, but also get a little help from their stand out players. For Little Rock it’s  a particularly difficult answer, Turpin explaining, “That’s a really hard question. Everybody is working really hard, so it’s hard to single out one player; I’d have to say the addition of Cheryl Johnson and Erin Gallagher Johnson.” Both players joined the team with team with prior rugby experience adding to the team’s rugby IQ and helped them take the leap forward faster than expected. On Austin’s end, they have a new player that’s bolstered their squad too, according to Enright. “Zoe Hunter, is new to the team this year. She helped start a team in Oregon and played at Oregon State for a couple year. Also we have Liz Garcia, she’s done an excellent job of leading the team around the field.” With a halves pairing this dangerous a lot of the Stormers’ attention will be placed on these two play makers.

Heading into the match both teams know they will need a complete performance on both ends of the ball if they are to have any chance of subduing their opponents. Enright noted his gameplan is simple and focused on the fundamentals, “For Offense, we need to stick to our structure. When we play the brand we practice we usually end up with a really good result. On defense we are looking for work ethic. We like to say ‘defense doesn’t take talent.’ If we put in the work and get around the corner that will be what helps us the most.” For Turpin “defensively our tackling is increasing every year and we need to maintain our structure and realign faster. If we can realign faster than Austin on offense we’ll be in a good position as continuity is really our strong suit.”

It should be a thrilling encounter with both teams putting up points on the scoreboard, don’t be surprised if this one sees the winning points scored in the final 10 minutes.

Northern California Women’s Division II: Berkeley All Blues D2 vs. Sacramento Amazons:

One of the biggest surprises early in the season, has been in the performance of the women on the Berkeley All Blues D2 side. In the last four years they have gone 8-23, this year they have come hot out of the gates and sit at 2-0. These wins have been against quality opposition and emphatic in their style. Through the opening couple of games, the All Blues have racked up 133 points for while only conceding 31. Leading their charge has been fly-half Olivia Bernadel Huey and number 8 Jazmyne Spear. Huey has contributed 34 points to the All Blues cause so far this year, while Spear has scored 5 tries in only two games. While it seems they are unstoppable, they will face their toughest test this weekend against the Sacramento Amazons. Last year’s champion, Sacramento, have only played one game so far this year, but look to be right back where they left things in 2018. In their one game so far this year they took down, with ease, the San Jose Seahawks 90-0. The star of that game was Ofolangi Malliangi, their outside center who scored five tries in the one game. It will be a great battle for both teams, and it will have added importance to the All Blues as it will show far how they have come and possibly how far they still have to go.

Carolinas Men’s Division III: Charlotte Barbarians vs. Clayton Bootleggers:

There is something of a log jam taking place in Carolina, as there are four teams all tied for second place in the competition on fifteen points. One of said teams is the Clayton Bootleggers and they will face the team in outright possession of first the Charlotte Barbarians. Despite being in outright possession of first place, it is only their’s by the slimmest of margins, one point, which means it is all to play for this weekend. The Barbarians will be hoping they can bounce back after suffering their only loss of the season in their last game before the break to Columbia Olde Grey. Prior to that outing they had been lighting the scoreboard up, averaging 38 points a contest. The Bootleggers, who also sit at 3-1, have been a little less consistent. They suffered a heavy defeat to Ashville Rugby, 73-18. Outside of the one major slip up they have been just as, if not more, impressive as the Barbarians scoring 168 points combined in their three wins. This will be an exciting affair with each team looking to create some breathing room from the rest of the pack. Both will have the same idea on how to do that, score early and often. Expect a big score to come out of this one.

 

Northern California Men’s Division III: Chico Mighty Oaks vs. Olympic Club Rugby D3:

It’s one meets three this weekend, as the competition leading Chico Mighty Oaks welcome Olympic Club D3 into town. The Mighty Oaks have been living up to their name so far this year, going 2-1 and recording some impressive victories in the process. Justin Ledyard, the Oaks’ fly-half and Carl Robinson have been the focal points for the Chico’s ability to get up and running quickly. This dynamic duo in attack has been responsible for over 50% of the points scored by the team. Olympic Club D3, on the other hand, have not been as reliant on individuals to spark their team they have shown great cohesion with more than half their team having scored at least one try on the season. While their cohe
sion is impressive, the margin of victory has not matched up. In their two wins on the season they average winning by six points. There are two ways to look at this, the first is they struggle to put away teams especially when they get on top first, or they are able to come through at the end when it counts most. On Saturday they will be hoping it is the latter, because the Mighty Oaks will make push Olympic Club for the full eighty.

 

Carolinas-Georgia Men’s Division II: Charlotte Rugby vs. Greenville Griffins:

League leaders, Charlotte Rugby, look to continue their impressive resurgence from last year this weekend against the Greenville Griffins- who will be searching for a level of consistency in their results they are yet to find. With a win this weekend, Charlotte will have already tied the same number of wins they’ve experienced each of the last two years- the difference being they’ll do it with half their season still to play. The catalyst behind their turn around has been the outstanding play of their wing, Adam Shokair. In the three games so far, Shokair leads the team in tries and points. Greenville will need to find a way to shut him down, something other teams have struggled to do. The other key to success for Greenville will be their ability to tighten their defensive screws. Scoring has not been a problem for the Griffins, unfortunately, it hasn’t been an issue for their opposition either. The Griffins on average will let in three tries a game, which is not a promising sign when you consider Charlotte has scored at least four tries in every encounter this year. It will be a challenge for the Griffins to keep Charlotte from crossing their line, but it’s a challenge they’ll feel up to.

 

True South Men’s Division III East: Headhunters Rugby vs. Huntsville Rugby:

The top two teams in the True South Division III East Pool face off on Saturday, as both Headhunters Rugby and Huntsville Rugby look to keep their hopes of a perfect season alive. The hosts, Headhunters, are 1-0 on the season after winning an impressive match first up against the Gadsden Pioneers, 50-5.  As impressive as the team performance was, Joseph Pozzuto’s four tries in the game stood out on its own. The captivating outside will be an absolute nightmare for Huntsville this weekend. Huntsville is no stranger to putting up big scores either, as they were able to score 67 points against the Pioneers. With two high flying offenses set to collide its going to be edge of your seat stuff.

MLR Week 3 Picks: Can Anyone Stop NOLA?

Three weeks into the season and it’s proving to be tough to predict, with the teams so evenly matched. NOLA Gold has stormed into 2019 looking vastly different to their 2018 edition, but could face their stiffest challenge yet, when they welcome the defending champion, Seattle Seawolves into town. The Seawolves will be hoping for some redemption after a tough outing in soggy conditions against the San Diego Legion last weekend. The Legion be at home against the Houston SaberCats, and the experts all agree its going to San Diego coming out on top. The other Texas team, Austin Elite Rugby, will host international guests, the Toronto Arrows. Luckily for the Arrows, they won’t have to acclimatize too much to the weather, as Austin is expecting brisk conditions in the 30s during their match. It’s going to be an interesting slate of games this weekend and our experts certainly are divided on how they think things will play out. Glendale, Rugby United New York and Utah all have the week off.