There are nine DI club league games this weekend, all in western states.
With Tampa out of the South DI, their game against Charlotte won’t be played, leaving this group to fight it out.
In Northern California, the league season opens with all sorts of questions about the competitiveness of the teams therein. SFGG has promoted its DII side into DI, while at the same time struggling with depth at the Super League level. Even if the Golden Gate team starts well in DI, they could be under stress as the season wears on.
Olympic Club is also stressed for depth, and Head Coach Ray Lehner was not feeling optimistic after his team was sliced and diced by St. Mary’s over the weekend. Sure, O-Club didn’t field their best side, but Lehner expected all those who showed to step up; they didn’t.
The Barbarians are a somewhat confused side that plays one style of game very well, but haven’t shown the ability to adjust through a long season. The East Palo Alto teams could be great if they were one club. But a rift that doesn’t look like healing has created two teams. Right now the Bull Dogs are probably better.
There’s been a rift in Sacramento for a while, too. At one point, the Sacramento Capitals looked to be dropping to DIII, but have opted now to stay in DI and make a go of it. It will be tough. The Lions seems to have aspirations of playing at a higher level, but can they last the entire season?
And off to the side, minding their own business, is San Mateo. Once, long ago, one of the most feared clubs in the nation, and in fact one that was once invited to join the Super League (they wisely declined because they didn’t have the finances), San Mateo has struggled in obscurity, bringing in a series of young players, but not solidifying them with the veteran leadership such a team needs.
What of them now? Some promising early results indicate that San Mateo might be on the way, just as NorCal appears to be struggling. In the previous ten season, eight NorCal teams have made the national semifinals, and 14 have made the top eight, including two last year. All teams in the league have a lot of work to do to keep that traditional alive.
Further south in Southern California, the standings could be all messed up after this weekend is over. Back bay, fresh off an upset of Las Vegas, could vault from 4th to 2nd with a victory over 2-1-1 Santa Monica. Admittedly, the Sharks would need some help from winless Los Angeles, as they take on OMBAC. But we’ve already seen that this is a tight league. Tight enough that undefeated Belmont Shore should not take their visit to Las Vegas for granted.
It’s clear though, that places 2 through 5 are up for grabs virtually every weekend.
There’s a battle for 2nd in Texas, too. Dallas RFC takes on the winless but ornery Austin Huns and the 4-1 Dallas Harlequins face 1-3 HARC. The Dallas teams are trying to secure 2nd, and push the unbeaten Austin Blacks, who are at the Fort Lauderdale Ruggerfest this weekend.
Men DI Club Matchups This Weekend
Dallas Harlequins (4-1) at HARC (1-3)
Dallas RFC (3-2) at Austin Huns (0-4)
BACK BAY (2-2) at SANTA MONICA (2-1-1)
OMBAC (2-2) at LOS ANGELES (0-4)
BELMONT SHORE (4-0) at LAS VEGAS BLACKJACKS (1-2-1)
Olympic Club (0-0) at EPA Razorbacks (0-0)
San Mateo (0-0) at Barbarians (0-0)
Sacramento Lions (0-0) at SFGG (0-0)
EPA Bull Dogs (0-0) at Sacramento Capitals (0-0)