This weekend’ slate in DI club rugby is a somewhat quiet weekend, but a meaningful one.
After a winter break, the West-North league gets going again at the Glendale Raptors visit the Kansas City Blues. Glendale leads the league with a 2-0 record and Kansas City is tied in points with a 2-1 record.
But that’s all misleading. The Blues, despite playing at home, and despite being 2-1, are not favored. The Raptors have a stacked lineup, and have the budget to play a series of buildup games that were challenging, to say the least.
The fact that Glendale came out of those games victorious is almost immaterial. The Raptors are battle-hardened after playing Super League teams. Kansas City has played too, most recently a 32-12 defeat of the Kansas Jawhawks, but the level of competition hasn’t been the same.
“The Kansas City Blues bring a lot of tradition to the match and are known for their large, aggressive forward play,”
said Glendale Head Coach Mark Bullock. “They’re always a challenge up front and we’ll have to match them with our relatively small pack. In addition they generally have large, hard-running centers who like to bring the ball back inside to the forwards, so we’ll really have to front up to the physical assault we expect to see Saturday evening.”
Glendale is expected to start five capped players – Chad Slaby, Ryan Chapman and Nic Johnson in the forwards, and Nese Malifa and James Paterson in the backs.
In the South, Boca Raton plays two in one weekend, visiting Charlotte on Saturday and the Atlanta Renegades on Sunday.
The Renegades have to win this game to stay in the hunt for 1st place in the South. Boca is not in that particular hunt, but they are fighting with Charlotte for 3rd. A Boca victory puts them in the better position to be 3rd.
In Northern California, the Olympic Club finally gets on the field after one forfeit win and a bye week where they lost to the SFGG Super League team.
O-Club is looking to former Cal All American Keegan Engelbrecht to organize a backline that is starting to come together, but the forward pack is still a work in progress. Meanwhile, their opponents, the East Palo Alto Bulldogs, are a very physical, difficult team to play.
They steamrolled the Sacramento Capitals on February 25, but this will be a much sterner test.
At present, the NorCal league is completely up in the air.