Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Friday, 18 April 2014 20:14    PDF Print Write e-mail
2014 Boys HS Club Rankings Presented by Selective Service April 18 2014
Rankings - Boys U19

A few small changes in our Top 30 this week.

SelectiveUnited turned more than a few heads when they traveled to Sacramento to play Jesuit and lost 96-5. Now, Jesuit is the #1 single-school team, but 96-5 is a bit much. Turns out that United traveled very light, and didn't have the kind of lineup that would provide a true measurement.

So ... we drop United from #2 to #6 but really they remain right in the mix for being #1, and one or two results will bring them back up. Red Mountain, Colorado Springs, and San Diego move up.

So, too, do the KC Jr. Blues, who, we think, are a real team to watch out for.

Naples moves ahead of Orlando based on slightly better recent results. Nakahi from Idaho keeps moving up, too.

Three teams we're keeping an eye on: Kau Toa from Utah, Hayward out of California, and Eastside out of Oregon. Also, the teams from colder climes could move in soon.

RUGBYMag Boys HS Club Rankings April 18 2014
Rank Prev Team Notes
1 1 Cathedral (Ind.) Bt. Brownsburg
2 3 Kansas City Jr. Blues (Mo.) Bt. Denver East, Park Hill
3 4 San Diego Mustangs (Calif.)
4 5 Colorado Springs (Colo.) Bt. Cherry Creek
5 6 Red Mountain (Ariz.) Won Arizona State title
6 2 United (Utah) See comments
7 7 Charlotte Tigers (NC) Bt. Southern Pines
8 8 Union County (NC) Bt. Triad
9 9 Sierra Foothills (Calif.)
10 11 Brother Rice (Ill.) Bt. Mt. Carmel
11 12 Santa Monica (Calif.) Bt. Hawaiian Gardens
12 13 Seattle (Wash.) Bt. Eastside
13 13 Chuckanut (Wash.) Bt. Liberty (10) 25-24
14 10 Liberty (Wash.) Lost to Chuckanut (13) 25-24
15 15 Clark County (Ore.) Bt. Linn-Benton
16 19 Naples (Fla.) Bt. Cardinal Gibbon
17 16 Orlando (Fla.) Bt. Dayton 20-17 (20)
18 18 Danville Oaks (Calif.) Bt. SFGG
19 22 Union County (NJ) Wash. Int'l Tournament
20 23 West End (Va.) Bt. NOVA 14-9
21 30 Nakahi (Idaho) Bt. Mountain View
22 25 Back Bay (Calif.)
23 26 West Shore United (Pa.) Bt. Salesianum
24 27 Aurora (Colo.) Bt. Littleton
25 29 Granite Bay (Calif.) Bt. Cougar
26 17 Plano (Texas) Tied Lake Travis
27 20 Daytona (Fla.) Lost to Orlando (16) 20-17
28 24 Las Vegas Academy (Nev.) Lost to Snow Canyon (SS#13)
29 21 West Linn (Ore.) Lost to Clark County (15), just beat Bend
30 28 Westerville (Ohio) Lost to St. Edward

Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Friday, 18 April 2014 18:06    PDF Print Write e-mail
USA Rugby to Send Teams to Youth Olympic Games
Off The Field - USA Rugby News

BOULDER, Colo. – USA Rugby has officially accepted the International Olympic Committee's invitation to send one boys and one girls rugby sevens team to the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

The Games will be held in China August 16-28. While there is not much preparation time for staff and player selections, USA Rugby is actively working with the United States Olympic Committee to ensure America is represented at this important event.

"It's very much a short time span to put together two national teams to compete at an Olympic event, but I think it’s awesome for 12 boys and 12 girls to compete at the Youth Olympic Games," USA Rugby Chief Executive Officer and President of Rugby Operations Nigel Melville said. "We're currently working out the logistics and selection procedures with the U.S.O.C."

Written by Alex Goff    Friday, 18 April 2014 17:23    PDF Print Write e-mail
All to Play For in PRP Week 12
Clubs - Top Club Leagues

Most of the teams in the Pacific Rugby Premiership have three games remaining on their schedule.

SFGG and Olympic Club renew their rivalry this weekend. Austin Brewin photo.But it's significant that two of the teams that still have championship hopes have an extra game to play. That game, Belmont Shore v OMBAC on May 10, could well have a bearing on who plays in the title game in Glendale a week later.

This coming weekend, the top two teams, Glendale and SFGG, have opportunities to take that final game out of the equation.

Glendale visits OMBAC in San Diego. All the Raptors need to get a single standings point to clinch a spot in the final - a close loss or four tries will do. OMBAC, meanwhile is one of those teams with an extra game to play, but really needs to win to keep the pressure on.

The best path for OMBAC to make the championship game is to win their remaining games, and they also need SFGG to lose twice.

OMBAC should have their flyhalf, Zach Pangelinan, back this week, and Glendale is on the road for the first time for the first time since February 22, a 31-26 loss to SFGG.

Belmont Shore is idle this weekend, and finishes the season with games against SFGG, Olympic Club, and OMBAC. as such they have their fate more securely in their hands than do OMBAC. Shore needs to win all three of their games, and hope SFGG loses to Olympic Club (unlikely, but you never know) or Glendale (more likely).

Denver, after some excellent effort, has fallen just short and at 4-5-1 the Barbarians are now just looking to get over .500. They host Santa Monica, a team that is 1-9 but has lost five of those games by a try or less. Santa Monica's bonus point tally (including five for four tries in a game) shows how competitive the PRP has been.

Olympic Club faces SFGG, with Golden Gate favored. However, Olympic Club has been right there for most of their games. They haven't earned the close-loss bonus points because right at the end of most games they've given up that last try to push them away too far.

But Olympic Club is full capable of beating SFGG. However, if SFGG wins this game, they will be in excellent position, at 8-2, to clinch a place in the final.

They won't clinch it mathematically, but they will be close.

PRP Games this weekend
Glendale at OMBAC
Santa Monica at Denver
Olympic Club at SFGG

Written by Alex Goff    Friday, 18 April 2014 17:29    PDF Print Write e-mail
Jesuit Handles Ausssie Tourists
School Age - Boys

Jesuit High School of Sacramento, fresh off a big win over Fairfield Prep from Connecticut on Tuesday and a previous thrashing of a shorthanded United last week, hosted Australian touring side Wesley College from Perth. 

Jesuit cotninues to roll. David Barpal photo.The first half was one-way traffic with Jesuit using the wind and some solid tactical kicking from flyhalf Matt Coyle and fullback Kent Presson to put the Australians on the back foot.  Backs and forwards were interchangeable and unstoppable. 

Jesuit jumped out to big lead at the half 38-0.  The savvy Australians turned the tables on the Marauders in the second half. Using sound play at the set piece and their own tactical kicking. They turned Jesuit around and forced them of play defense for a long stretch. 

Wesley was able to break the line and finish their attacks with strong support and within 15 minutes they were right back in the game with three quick tries. Jesuit was being pushed around, which has been a rarity this season. But the Marauders regrouped and changed tactics, and turned the tide. Jesuit played solid defense and were able to move the ball at will over the last quarter of the match. 

Better support lines and offloading for the Americans proved to be the undoing of the Perth toursits. Flanker Jacob Rice, off to University of Arizona next year, led Jesuit with three tries as he helped his squad to a 60-24 victory.

Written by Brian Hightower    Friday, 18 April 2014 16:12    PDF Print Write e-mail
Melrose Chronicles - The Final Chapter
Sevens - All-Stars

The author has shaken his jetlag and remnants of a Scotch tasting session with a former British & Irish Lion to pen his final piece.

Tiger Rugby Jefe James Walker. Photo by Max Rugby.Game Day at the 7s
At 2:40pm last Saturday, I sat with recent retiree Paul Emerick in the cramped antique press box at Melrose R.F.C. We tried not to be obtrusive, but had already made quick work of the complimentary tea and biscuits and were now elbowing a metrosexual media specialist from Glasgow who was in a huff because we’d asked him to rearrange his laptop and notebooks to make room for us.  So much for subtle.  Anyway, from our vantage point we had an eagle’s eye view as Tiger Rugby ran onto the park for their first match, a do or die battle against Heriots from Edinburgh.  

The grounds were full, as fans from all corners of Scotland and beyond had packed themselves onto the pitchside berms until their toes approached the dead ball lines.  The weather in the morning began as what the Borderers referred to as a “wet rain,” but now yielded what promised to be a nearly moisture-free afternoon.

Early in the contest, as Zach Pangelinan lined up the conversion for his own try to take the Tigers out to a 7-0 lead, I caught a glance at Emerick nervously placing a couple of fingers on his pulse point.  The explosion of endorphins that releases from the hypothalamus and into the neural network on a rugby Saturday is the drug that had kept the iconic “Cactus” on the field into his mid-thirties.  And now he was measuring to see if an adrenaline rush still accompanied the kickoff whistle even as a spectator.  “Yep, it’s still there!” he exclaimed. I assured him that for at least fifteen more years, it would continue.

What the.....?
In a blink, the buzz that had come to us just moments before as we stood above the grandstand would be replaced by bewilderment.  Our liaison officer, Eion, had made not-so-subtle references throughout the week about the possibility that Tiger, if not focused, could find themselves gone after a few minutes...”Naw yee lessen!!, he exhorted.  Dint be daft!!  (We never really understood most of what he was saying.)  Turns out the dude with the brogue was right, Tiger was done, 29-28.  As in, pack your bags, laddies.  Done.  

The disappointment that we experienced looking down on the field paled in comparison to the profound hollowness of the ten who were on it.  Perhaps they’d looked beyond Heriots.  Maybe a good result in their scrimmage with Melrose had left them overconfident.  Sometimes a team just has a bad showing. Whatever the reason, they had gone trans-Atlantic for just one game of 7s.  It was like getting kicked in the man parts.  

As foreshadowed, the story of this lone match was defense.  Heriots, like their native Clydesdale horses, were bruising up front and plowed straight ahead.  The Tigers were dangerous with the ball, but failed to match the physicality of the big Scotsmen, thus ending their original quest to play long into the evening.  I’ll leave the analytics to the coaches, Walker and Holmes, who at some point will need a few cold ones to wash back the sour bile of the result before diving into game film.  

A Few Rays of Sunshine
1.    A character builder...
It would be a mistake to measure the success of the Melrose tour merely by the Tigers’ loss. Part of Walker’s return on investment is a long term strategy.  In fact, the real value of this tour may not actually be known for months, even years, and it will manifest idiosyncratically for each player.  For some, there will be a rekindled fire in the belly that elicits pre-dawn wake-ups, vomit inducing training sessions, and a steely resolve to compete at the highest level.  They will tour with Tiger again, and some will challenge for spots on the national team.  But that is only one side of the spectrum, and only a few of the ten will be so motivated.  In truth, others will be happy to have simply made the historic trip.  Their path will eventually include more frequent trips to the McDonald’s drive-thru and the occasional Thursday night Guinness, and eventually they will be propped up at a pub spinning yarns about their touring days.  This is not a censure of the less motivated group, it’s just evolution. Tiger Rugby will keep its lens focused solely on the former (though coaching positions may be available for the latter).                  

2.  Tip of the iceburg (Is it iceburgh in Scotland?)...
Finally, nobody has agonized over this team’s unmet expectations more than Tiger Director James Walker, but dude has some serious stones.  He knew in bringing over the Tiger side that one of the potential outcomes could be a loss in the opener.  Audentes fortuna iuuat , as those pithy Romans used to say, “Fortune favors the bold.”  At the end of the day, this is just a stepping stone for Walker and Tiger Rugby.  Count on hearing about more fixtures down the road that will give some American up-and-comers the opportunity to grow their game.  After all, what players need are consistent high level matches, which aren’t always aplenty stateside.  In fact, Tiger already has a full international touring schedule through the rest of the year, and are making connections with some of the bigger dogs on rugby’s porch.  Tiger is filling a niche in the domestic 7s market.  And while it seems that USA Rugby is still trying to figure out how many eggs they should have in the same basket, Walker and his sous chef, Paul Holmes, are making omelets.               

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