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Thursday, April 19, 2018

DI-A Quarterfinals Preview & Predictions

Photo: Connie Hatfield

The DI-A playoffs will be narrowed down to four this weekend after a quartet of what should be some great matches.

Much of the attention is going to justifiably paid to St. Mary's against Lindenwood. Both teams legitimately feel that they could win a national championship this year. Of course St. Mary's has done exactly that in years past and has some notable wins this year, including over rivals Cal. The Gaels are our current favorites to win the whole thing. Lindenwood are a very good team in their own right. They have players that we are going to hear from for years so it's unfortunate that they have to take on St. Mary's at this stage. However, the fact that these teams are squaring off should make for an exciting match.  In the end we think St. Mary's takes home the win.

Whoever wins the St. Mary's-Lindenwood match is going to face the winner of BYU and Penn State. BYU is coming off a win over Arkansas State while Penn State beat Arizona. Penn State will be a challenge for BYU but the Cougars are a very solid team and Penn State just isn't at that level yet. A win for BYU.

Take the jump to read more.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

DI: Red River & Mid-Atlantic Races Close

Just one match remains in the DI Mid-Atlantic and it is going to be a big one after the weekend's results. Rocky Gorge currently lead the division with 53 points. They beat the Potomac Exiles 33-17 on Saturday. Gorge still have yet to lose this season in 11 matches but those 53 points are only good for a two point lead over the Norfolk Blues. Both teams will square off next week. The Blues beat the Pittsburgh Harlequins 39-16. The Harlequins will finish in third place before the championship weekend. The Potomac Exiles are sitting in fourth. Washington Irish beat Schuylkill River 43-14 to jump over the Exiles to fifth in the table. Schuylkill River and the Baltimore-Chesapeake Brumbies round out the standings.

Over in the Red River both the Dallas Reds and the Austin Blacks are tied in a struggle to finish first. Both have 39 points and picked up wins over the weekend. Once again the two teams clashed over the weekend and this time it was the Reds that beat the Blacks 34-23. The two teams will square off again to decide a Red River champion. In other results the Glendale Merlins beat the Dallas Harlequins 52-38 and the Austin Huns drew with the Little Rock Stormers 29-29. 

Rutgerson Tapped To Lead USA Hawks

Press Release

The US Association of Rugby League Inc. (USARL) has announced the appointment of Sean Rutgerson as the new head coach of the national team the USA Hawks for 2018.

Rutgerson has been tasked by the national governing body to recruit the Hawks’ team management, coaching staff and medical staff, along with helping to develop the representative program calendar in preparation for the Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers 2018/19.
“I’m really happy and excited to take over and am looking forward to a big year for the USARL,” said Rutgerson. "First thing on my list is to get my staff on board and organized.”

The appointment follows a decision by former head coach Brian McDermott to not renew his arrangement with USA, which expired after the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Rutgerson was a domestic-based assistant coach for the Hawks during McDermott’s two-year term, and as such, worked closely with the Leeds Rhinos mentor in developing strategies and game plans.

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Andrew Durutalo Moves Back To Ealing

Andrew Durutalo is on the move once again. The former Eagles 7s star began the season with Ealing scoring five tries in six games for the Championship club before moving to Worcester. After playing a handful of times for the club in the Premiership and in the 'A' League Durutalo is making the move back to Ealing on a long-term deal starting next season. The move should be a good one for both Ealing and Durutalo as it gives him stability for the next couple of years. Ealing will also be elated to have Durutalo back as he was phenomenal for the club early in the year.

Prior to landing in England Durutalo spent a season with the Sunwolves in Super Rugby as well as a very long stint with the Eagles 7s team. Not only has he played 7s but he's also been a big part of the Eagles XVs team over the last couple of seasons and has played in the World Cup. As that team gears up for next year's World Cup having Durutalo playing regularly is going to be big. 

Eagles Squad Picked For Singapore

Photo: David Barpal
Eagles head coach Mike Friday has only made one change to his line-up as the Eagles head to Singapore. Maka Unufe is out with injury and in his place comes Malon Al-Jiboori who was an alternate in Hong Kong. As a result of the change Cody Melphy will join the team and be the 13th player.

The Eagles are coming off another solid result in Hong Kong and will be hoping to once again reach the top four in Singapore.  The U.S. will face France, England, and Kenya in pool play. It's a tough pool but they are all tough at this point of the season.

Squad: Carlin Isles, Ben Pinkelman (C), Danny Barrett, Matai Leuta, Brett Thompson, Malon Al-Jiboori, Folau Niua, Chris Mattina, Steve Tomasin, Kevon Williams, Perry Baker, Martin Iosefo; Alternate: Cody Melphy

MLR Power Rankings: The Final Pre-season Edition

The Major League Rugby season is here. The league kicks off this weekend with three big matches. It's going to the first time we get a look at al of the teams in their element against other MLR sides. No practice games now, it's for real. With all that in mind we thought we'd off our last MLR rankings of the pre-season.

1. Glendale Raptors (Last Ranking: 1): Our question is who is going to stop the Raptors this year. At this point they clearly look like favorites to win the title. They have had their way with teams in the pre-season. Additionally, the team recently add some more big names like Dylan Fawsitt. The team was already stacked if you just took the players they had remaining from the DI club side and the Denver PRO Rugby team but they have gone out and added even more players to the group. If they don't win the whole thing it will be a shock.

2. Seattle Seawolves (LR: 6): We're going out on a bit of a limb here and jumping the Seawolves all the way up to second from sixth. Mostly this comes from reports we heard out of their match against the Prairie Wolf Pack. Their defense was reportedly fantastic and they had Will Holder running things from the fly-half position. There were a lot of questions about how the Seawolves might shape up but if the Wolf Pack game is any indication--and it might not be--they should be good.

Take the jump to read more.

Seattle Add Another Local Product

Press Release

The Seattle Seawolves are excited to announce the signing of Denver Barbarians and All-Americans sevens stepper, Jeremy Misailegalu.

A local to the state of Washington, Jeremy’s rugby career kicked itself into high gear during his college years playing for New Mexico Highlands University. Misailegalu helped his university snatch up back-to-back National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) 7s National Championship in 2015 and 2016. During those respective summers, he also helped the Denver 7s Selects top international competition at the Rugbytown 7s Tournament where Denver were crowned Cup Champions. After a strong performance at the 2017 USA Rugby Clubs 7s Championship with the Barbarians, Jeremy received an invite to a USA 7s Camp. Looking to continue his development, he headed to New Zealand for a stint with Marist Albion, Canterbury 7s, and Christchurch 7s. Misailegalu is excited to build off everything he learned abroad during the inaugural Major League Rugby season with Seattle. Look for him out in the Seawolves backline, where his footwork and physicality alike will make him hard to miss.

“I am feeling extremely blessed,” said Misailegalu. “I wanted to thank God and my parents for having faith in me. To come home to play professional rugby in front of my family and be a part of something special with a great group of guys here in Seattle is astonishing! Happy to be a part of the Seawolves community.