Eighteen DI club rugby games are on the slate for this weekend.
In the Northeast, Boston RFC gets back on the field after an early bye and will host the winless Boston Irish Wolfhounds. things haven't started well for BIW, as they were pasted by the top teams from New York. It doesn't get much easier this weekend.
Middlesex and Mystic are still thinking about challenging the top dogs, and after beating White Plains, Middlesex might feel they are in a good position to do so.
White Plains is an interesting club. They have lost two games, but twice earned bonus points for scoring four tries, and also earned a bonus point for a close loss. So 0-2, but with three points in the standings, they aren't that far off.
"Being 0-2 is not where we wanted to be at this point," said White Plains preisdent Mike Matkovic. "On the positive side, we've been in both the Boston and Middlesex games. We gained some valuable bonus points and, more importantly, the boys realize the outcomes could have been different with more effort. This week against Old Blue will be a true test of our Club. It's a longstanding rivalry since the 1970s and we look forward to the challenge on Saturday and playing some fun rugby."
The team can score, that's for sure, and with Joe Judge at No. 8 and flanker Dimitrios Magdalinos helping form a solid back row, they are trying to improve their defense, as well.
"We need consistency in our preparation and selection and things will improve," said Head Coach Dan Pazio. "We also need to start converting our line breaks into tries and be more clinical in attack."
But Old Blue has been looking very strong this season,.
Wolfhounds (0-2) @ Boston (1-0)
Middlesex (1-0) @ Mystic (0-2)
White Plains (0-2) @ Old Blue (2-0)
In the Mid-Atlantic region it's still all to play for. Having won their opener the Maryland Exiles could move to 2-0 if they upend PAC, who were upset last week by Norfolk.
The Blues take on 2-0 Schuylkill River in the Game of the Weekend. For the Blues, the win over PAC was a massive morale boost, as was their road victory over Pittsburgh. A victory over an undefeated team and there'll be no living with them.
Baltimore-Chesapeake (1-1) @ Pitt Harlequins (0-1)
Maryland Exiles (1-0) @ PAC (1-1)
Norfolk Blues (2-0) @ Schuylkill River (2-0)
NOVA (0-2) @ Raleigh Vipers (0-2)
In the Midwest, Milwaukee proved last week that they are here to compete, as they defeated the Chicago Griffins. Now it's the turn of the Kansas City Blues to try to stave off the Barbarians. The Blues have started 0-02 so far, but playing at home, and a little further into September should help them.
Palmer's win over the Chicago Lions will have turned their morale around a bit, and they visit 3-0 Columbus. Meanwhile, Metropolis, also 3-0, will visit the Chicago Lions in a must-win for the Windy City team.
Milwaukee @ KC Blues
Metropolis @ Chicago Lions
Chicago Griffins @ Cincinnati
Palmer @ Columbus
What to say in the West? We're not even sure if the games are going to be played.
The Denver Barbarians come off a win at the Aspen Ruggerfest.
"We were very happy with the performance," said Head Coach and former Eagle Mike Mangan. "Aspen is a great tournament because it's about having fun and enjoying playing rugby, but it's also really competitive. We have been able to get some younger players involved, and that's good."
Paul Smith, former East HS player, looked good on the wing and is an indication of how Denver is fostering some home-grown talent. Now they face the Denver Highlanders ... or not. Word is the Highlanders might not be able to pitch up, and efforts to confirm with the Highlanders produced neither confirmation nor denunciation of that rumor.
Meanwhile Provo is supposed to play the Utah Islanders, but since neither of those teams was able to play their first game (on the road, mind you) one wonders about this one.
All hope that the teams that are iffy can make it to the field, but as of now the West DI league is struggling.
Denver Barbarians @ Denver Highlanders
Provo @ Utah Islanders