Rugby Gold Cup competition launched for Midwest & Red River Competitive Regions

USA Rugby Gold CupUSA Rugby announced today that four teams will compete in the inaugural Rugby Gold Cup competition, a premiership level tournament featuring the top men’s’ clubs from the Midwest and Red River Competitive Regions (CRs). The competition will take place in November 2015 and March 2016.

“The Gold Cup is an important strategic growth opportunity for our elite level clubs in the Midwest and Red River CRs,” said USA Rugby Club Department Manager Erik Geib. “Each club has earned the right to compete in additional elite-level matches, while also attempting to qualify for the USA Rugby Division 1 National Championship.”

The intra-season tournament is a USA Rugby sanctioned competition and will feature the following premiership level clubs:

 

  • 2015 USA Rugby Division 1 National Championship Runner-up and Red River CR Champion: Austin Blacks Rugby
  • 2015 Red River CR Runner-Up: Dallas Rugby Football Club (the Reds)
  • 2015 Midwest CR Champion: Kansas City Blues Rugby Club
  • 2015 Midwest CR Runner-Up: Metropolis Rugby Football Club

 

The Kansas City Blues Rugby Club will host rounds one and two of the CR cross-over tournament on November 13 – 15, 2015, at the Championship Stadium of the Sporting Kansas City Training Facility in Kansas City, Missouri and include:

Round one (November 13, 2015):

  • 6 p.m. Dallas Rugby vs. Metropolis Rugby
  • 8 p.m. Austin Blacks vs. Kansas City Blues

Round two (November 15, 2015):

  • 11 a.m. Metropolis Rugby vs. Austin Blacks
  • 1 p.m. Kansas City Blues vs. Dallas Rugby

 

Rounds three and four will be hosted by Dallas on the weekend of March 11–13, 2016. A final fixture schedule will be released at the completion of the Kansas City event. Normally scheduled league fixtures also will count towards the overall cup standings.

Gold Cup Clubs at a Glance:

The information below is based on available background provided by the respective clubs:

Austin Blacks

  • Founded: 1967
  • Head Coach: Tane Jericevich
  • 2014/2015 Competitive Cycle Results: 2015 USA Rugby Division 1 National Championship Runner-up and Red River D1 CR Champion
  • Scouting Report:After last year’s bitter sweet season the Blacks are hungrier than ever. Losing so narrowly in the national championship has really motivated them to do one better this year. The Blacks recruited a number of domestic and foreign talent in key positions to field a stronger more competitive side than last year.
    • Notable back line members:
      • Levi Kereti: New Zealand Schools product, brings invaluable skills and intangibles to the club
      • Matt Radzavich: Former collegiate sprinter
      • Zac Mizell: Named to USA Rugby Men’s Eagle 7s squad in 2013, USA Rugby 7s All-American.
    • Forwards to watch:
      • Ty Terrazone: 2nd row, 6-5/235. 2004 Rugby All-American, 2008-2010 Air Force Mens National Rugby Team Captain.
      • Brendan Rams: Hooker, Tighthead Prop, 6-1/273lbs. Captain of 2010 Pumas U/21 Currie Cup

Dallas Rugby

  • Founded: 1968
  • Head Coach: Rhys Ball
  • 2014/2015 Competitive Cycle Division Results: 2015 Red River CR Runner-Up and qualified for western CR championships; lost to intra-conference rival, the Austin Blacks, in the Round of 4 by a score of 19-15.
  • Scouting Report: The Reds have made great strides in the last 5 years and have refocused on building a strong and sustainable base, both on and off the field. The Reds have filled some key positional needs during the offseason.
    • Notable back line members:
      • Peter Santos, Half-back, Texas All-Stars, CRC with University of Oklahoma, young, talented scrum-half
      • Kelly Kolberg, Midfielder, Invited to US Eagles Camp last year, co-captain of DRFC 7s National Qualifier team.
    • Forwards to watch:
      • Matt Upton, Prop, very smart and very technical; Dallas Jesuit and University of Oklahoma graduate. Member of D2 National Championship with New Orleans Rugby Football Club.
      • Dale Russ, #8. Originally from New Zealand, Russ is in his second season with the Reds. Russ’s prior accolades include: Player on 2009 U20 Tasman Makos Championship squad, 2010 Waimea Old Boys Most Promising U21 Player, 2012 Renwick Forward of the Year and Player of the Year, Player on 2013 & 2014 Waimea Old Boys Championship squads, Player on 2014 Nelson Bays squad that won Seddon Shield, and 2015 Dallas RFC Forward of the Year.

Kansas City Blues

  • Founded: 1966
  • Head Coach: Markus Valovalo
  • 2014/2015 Competitive Cycle Results: 2015 Midwest CR D1 Champion, lost to Mystic River Rugby 25-24 in National Quarterfinals
  • Scouting Report: The Blues have retained the majority of their roster from last season’s Midwest championship and National Championship qualifier team. The club also welcomed a few new key members and is excited about the development of the younger players in the program.
    • Notable back line members:
      • Kelly Mercer: Scrumhalf, 5-9/185. Goal-kicker and returning scrumhalf.
      • Cody Weber: Center, 5-10/195. Combination of speed and explosiveness makes him a dangerous matchup.
    • Forwards to watch:
      • Gannon Moore: Eight, 6-2/223. Moved from backline to the pack in fall ‘14. Set school rushing records as NCAA D2 football player.
      • Lloyd Saunders: Flanker, 6-3/210. From Northampton England, Played club rugby in Canterbury NZ before joining the Blues in spring 2013.
      • Walt Elder: Flanker, 6-4/240. New to the Blues 15’s side this year. Played collegiately at Kansas State University and in South Africa.

Metropolis Rugby

  • Founded: 1992
  • Head Coach: Nathan Osborne (USA MNT’s Assistant Coach – Backs and Attack)
  • 2014/2015 Competitive Cycle Results: Finished 2nd in the MW, 10-4, 54 league points
  • Scouting Report:
    • 2015 Midwest CR D1 Championship Runner-Up
    • Reached D1 national semifinals in 2014
    • Tied 2015 Naitonal Champion NYAC 13-13 during spring 2015 match in New York
    • Notable back line members:
      • Joel Yogerst: Wing, 5-10/225. Ranked #7 fullback in 2012 NFL Draft. Plays with the Negro Y Azul 7’s side.
      • Joeli “Jojo” Tikoisuva: Fullback, 6-0/185. Played for Northern California All Stars. Awarded MVP during British Columbia tour.
      • Lemoto “Moto” Filikitonga: Center, 6-1/245. High School All American. USA U20 Eagle,member of USA Men’s Selects for the ARC 2014 and South American Tour 2015.
    • Forwards to watch:
      • Derrek Van Klein: Prop/Hooker, 6-1/235. Three-time Collegiate All-American, three-time U-23 Minnesota Collegiate Selects.
      • Nick Barret: Lock/Flanker, 6-4/245. Captain of 2013 USA U20 Eagles, played for Wests Rugby Club in Canberra, Australia.
      • Ekapatelisio “Teli” Veamatahau: Flanker, 6-3, High School All-American, two-time U-20 USA Eagle.
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