Friday, June 1, 2018

Club Championships Preview & Predictions

The Club Championships are this weekend in Glendale. Here is our breakdown of each of the matches. The matches will be on The Rugby Channel and FloRugby.

DI Men: Belmont Shore vs. Mystic River

This year's DI final should be extremely interesting. Belmont Shore have enjoyed a resurgent season in the PRP while Mystic River were second fiddle to NYAC in the regular season but came up big in the East regional to beat their rivals by a point. Major League Rugby has changed the dynamic of the DI final this year but it hasn't impacted either club too much.

As mentioned Belmont Shore had a bounce back season in the PRP. The club made the decision a few years ago to go with a youth movement and it has been paying off. Their PRP season wasn't without hiccups but they also picked up some massive wins. That type of pressure wins pays off big time in big games like this. At the same time they are still young and their time could be a couple of years down the road.

Mystic River finished third in the Northeast this year but because Old Blue elected not to be in the playoffs it was left to Mystic River. First they beat the Norfolk Blues 33-22 before beating NYAC 26-25. That was a huge result for the club and it should give them a lot of momentum heading into the final. The team is experienced and they have been in these types of situations before. If we had to put money down we'd put it on Mystic River to win.

Take the jump to read more.

DII Men: Denver Barbarians vs. Detroit Tradesmen

The DII final pits a team in adjustment to a team that has been strong at the DII level for multiple years. Just a few years ago the Barbarians were hanging tough in the PRP with some very good players like Max De Achaval. Some of those players have moved on to the professional ranks and the Barbarians have had to adjust. They've been pretty successful at it with big wins in the quarterfinals and semi-finals. For their part the Tradesmen have been at this level before. They have built a very successful club and deserve a lot of credit. They beat Morris and the Atlanta Renegades to make the final. If we were picking we'd go with the Barbarians.

DIII Men: Austin Blacks vs. Long Island

Admittedly it's always hard to gauge how DIII sides will perform. Some years you have teams that look really strong and should probably be playing up a division and then others you have teams that have good intentions but not that strong. One thing we have learned is that DIII clubs that stem from DI clubs like the Blacks usually do well so we're picking them.

DI Women: Life West vs. Raleigh Venom

Arguably no team has been stronger at the DI level than Life West. They have been a force to be reckoned with over the last few years and we don't see that stopping this weekend. Life West once again tore through the playoffs on their way to the final. Raleigh had much closer margins. This is Life West's title to lose and we think they go home champions once again.

DII Women: Charlotte vs. St. Louis Sabres

Like the men's DIII championship the women's DII championship can be a bit of a mystery at times. Both St. Louis and Charlotte had to fight for spots this weekend and it should be close. We don't know much about either team but we're going to go with St. Louis.

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