—As of March 17th, 2020 – the remainder of the TRU/RRRC Season has been postponed due to COVID-19 precautions put in place by the CDC, USA Rugby, and the City of Austin. For more information please see this notice.—
Playoffs are quickly approaching and teams are gearing up. Read below to see who’s in and who’s still fighting for a spot.
The Men’s Division 1 season is wrapping up with both Austin teams having one game remaining and the rest having two. The playoff format has the top four teams moving forward in a 1v4, 2v3 higher seed hosts. The winners will battle it out in Austin on April 25th at the Austin Blacks.
Thanks to their convincing win over the Austin Huns this past weekend, the Austin Blacks have secured the number 1 seed and home field advantage for the first round of playoffs. The Dallas Reds will have to beat the Dallas Harlequins on Friday to bolster their chances at home field advantage; even then they’ll have to beat the Austin Blacks in Austin on March 28th while praying for an Austin Huns loss to the West Houston Lions the same day. If not – Huns will host the Reds for the second semi-final. The Dallas Harlequins are in a better spot for the last playoff place than West Houston Lions, but as we’ve seen both teams have improved late in the season. The March 21st match – on West Houston’s home soil – between the two will likely be the decider for who advances.
The Frontier Red River Women’s Division has three Red River teams (Dallas, Austin, Houston) and three Frontier teams (Utah, Glendale, Denver). Playoffs have the top Red River team hosting the second Frontier team at home on May 2nd, and vice versa. The winners will then both travel to Western Club Playoffs on May 16th.
This schedule provides a good number of cross-conference games that better prepares the teams for Nationals. However the teams need to look to home to see how they’ll stack up come playoffs. Austin has defeated both Houston and Dallas and stands on top of the Red River, but the win over Houston was by 7 points – that rematch on April 4th will be a key one for whoever wants to host in Texas. Glendale beat Denver and squeaked by Utah in the fall, but what will the Spring hold? Already Austin dominated Utah on day 2 of their double-header to Texas. Is the Red River stronger than the Frontier? Was it just second-day pressures on Utah? With over half the season still to play, this story is far from told.
Men’s Division 2 playoffs will feature the top two in each subdivision moving forward. North 1 will play South 2; and South 1 will play North 2 on Day 1 of RRRC Playoffs, the winners will battle the next day for a place in USA Rugby’s Western Club Playoffs.
Men’s D2 North
With only one game left, Austin Blacks are in a good spot to move through. It’s not guaranteed though. There’s so many options left on the table – it’s all a matter of who gets those bonus points in the wins/losses. All eyes in D2 North will be on two key matches – Fort Worth hosting the Dallas Reds this Saturday and the Austin Blacks hosting the Reds on March 28th. We can’t even say the winner goes through – because they might not. Bonus points are the name of the game. All top three teams will be desperate to score more than 4 tries in their upcoming matches and that will likely determine, by the slightest margin, who goes through.
Men’s D2 South
This one is a bit easier – HURT takes number 1 in the South as long as they play their last two games. HARC has two games left to play and The Woodlands has three. If The Woodlands win all three, they’ll swipe the number 2 seed out of the South. If HARC can avenge their early season loss to The Woodlands on March 29th though, they might just another chance at glory in Austin.
The Women’s Division 2 in Texas follows a similar playoff pattern as Men’s D1. The top four teams advance, however more similar to Men’s D2 – they play their first match (1v4, 2v3) on Saturday April 25th with the winners facing off on Sunday April 26th.
Another important note about the Women’s D2 schedule is the number of total games played. This year, it became clear that crossover matches were critical to the teams being challenged (similar to D1 fusing with Frontier). Therefore the former South and North divisions merged and teams play one home/away within their region and one home or away in the other region. Add in another twist that McAllen is a new team and too much travel would hurt their chances of survival in the league – therefore it was determined that they would only play home/away within the South and not compete against the Northern teams.
So take a look again at the standings and note that we are not looking at total competition points in order to determine playoffs position but instead weighted average competition points [wACP] (i.e. Total Competition Points Earned / Total Competition Points Available). So why does this matter? Well with Little Rock and San Antonio only losing one game each, the two could have a massive difference in competition points but still take the first and second spot entering playoffs. So what are the current wACPs? San Antonio has 0.62, Austin with 0.49, Bay Area has 0.44, Little Rock 0.43. DARC is still in the running if they bank two bonus-point wins but then would need either Bay Area or Little Rock to lose the rest of their matches without gaining a bonus point. Again, anything is possible.
Men’s Division 3 playoffs are a bit more complex than D1 or D2. Seeding will be determined by weighted average competitions points [wACP] (i.e. Total Competition Points Earned / Total Competition Points Available). The top two seeded regional winners get a bye straight into the RRRC Championship Weekend, and the number three seed regional winner would be included with the three second place teams in the Wildcard Round on April 18, 2020. The top two seeded teams in the Wildcard Round will host the matches at their home pitch.
So the top in each division is currently undefeated with the maximum number of bonus points. If this continues, the tie will have to be broken by average point differential [APD] (excluding forfeits). Austin Blacks have a APD of 66.6, Grand Prairie 50.9, and HURT 48.88. All teams have two games left to play, so expect them to be aggressive and in your face – points matter and they’ll be playing all 80 minutes like they’ve got everything to lose.
Men’s D3 North
Alliance will be representing the North as the second seed. With two losses at the hands of OKC and Grand Prairie, Alliance was on our Mid-Season report as a team to watch. They’ve scored bonus points in all matches, win or lose, for scoring more than four tries. As for their chances of hosting a Wildcard round, their wACP is currently 0.617, the biggest of all second seeds.
Men’s D3 Central
Austin Huns are in the best position to move on, but it’s not guaranteed. Losses to McAllen and Alamo City would put them in danger of ORC catching up, if ORC can pull out bonus-point wins over Austin Blacks and Corpus Christi. McAllen needs to bank all four wins, or three with bonus points – as well as hoping the Huns stay defeated ending out their season. Austin Huns current wACP is 0.60. They need big wins if they want home-field advantage in the Wildcard Round.
Men’s D3 South
Two games left to play across the board in the South. The Woodlands, Houston Arrows, and Bay Area have the second seed well within reach. March 21st will be the first big weekend. Galveston will take on undefeated HURT Henchmen, a tough battle. Houston Arrows will take on the winless Kingwood Crusaders while The Woodlands and Bay Area go head to head in a massive clash. When that weekend ends we will have a better idea of the landscape – until then it’s too close for comfort. Currently The Woodlands has a wACP of 0.50. It’s looking like whoever takes the second seed will expect to travel on April 18th.
The winner of North Division A will face the winner of North Division B on April 18. The team with the highest weighted average competitions points [wACP] (i.e. Total Competition Points Earned / Total Competition Points Available) will host the match.
The winner of that match will play the winner of the South Division 4 on April 26th in Austin, Texas.
Men’s D4-A North
Fort Worth is hot on the trail of Grand Prairie, and the two don’t play again until March 28th. Both are active this weekend, Fort Worth against Dallas Reds D4 and Grand Prairie against Alliance. Both teams will have to remain focused on the task at hand, if they look too far into the future, they might slip up before the last hurdle.
Men’s D4-B North
Thanks to some fun rescheduling Denton and North Texas play each other twice in one week. Yep – Sunday March 22nd and Saturday March 28th. We’ve begun calling it “the biggest week in TRU Men’s Division 4-B North history”. Has a nice ring to it right? Regardless, it’s going to be massive as both teams are undefeated but haven’t gotten much play time this season. North Texas Barbarians have only played one match, their other being a forfeit win against Dallas Diablos.
Thanks to a friendly scheduled between Denton and Grand Prairie, we got a look at how the teams stack up cross-conference. Although Grand Prairie got the early lead, Denton came back to win it 38-21. We have much to look forward to in April.
Men’s D4 South
Fort Hood have got this one all tied up. They have dominated throughout the season with an average of 48 points scored per match (excluding the forfeit by West Houston). We personally can’t wait to see how this team stacks up against the winner of the D4 North on Championship weekend.