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March Preview – RRRC/TRU

February brought more cold and wet weather to Texas and surrounding states. Turns out there is no limit to the times the statement “I thought Texas was supposed to be warm!” can be said at a rugby match. Despite this weather, we had a number of matches played and things are definitely heating up entering the final stretch of the regular season. For some divisions we are able to map out what the postseason could look like based on current standings, others are still up in the air as there are too many matches left to be played or no clear leader. Either way, March brings a ton of rugby and hopefully some warmer weather.

February Highlight: Dallas RFC and their four-match sweep on February 19th. The Division 1, 2, and 3 sides welcomed the Austin Huns to North Texas. The Division 1 side had a winning record against the Huns from November, but that was a last minute penalty goal that won it for the boys in red, nothing to take for granted entering this second match-up. The Division 2 and 3 sides both fell to the Huns in November, and had an uphill battle to fight. With Dallas’ Division 4 side taking on Lost Souls, they needed to fill four rosters, and try to eek out four separate wins. The Division 4 side won comfortably, with a 74-12 sweep over the North Texas rivals. The Division 3 took the pitch next and played the closest match of the day. The Austin Huns D3 trounced Dallas in November with a 46-12 win; but Dallas weren’t going to be bested twice. The first half was all Dallas as they rode to a 15-0 lead, with both teams racking up a yellow card. The second half the Huns bit back, and brought the score to a tie. Another try at the 55th minute gave the Huns their only lead of the match. Dallas answered back five minutes later but missed the conversion to tie it. The final twenty minutes was a free-for-all as both teams desperately tried to get the win. In the 69th minute, Dallas dove over for the final try of the match, and the win 25-22. The Division 2 side followed with a less stressful 80 minutes but a dominant win 59-10. 

Finally the firsts took the pitch for the final match-up. The first twenty was all-Austin with a pair of tries from Caleb Strum and Jon Little, Alex Rees adding the extras. A yellow card to Austin’s hooker at the 20th minute changed the game. Dallas roared back with tries from big second row Jonny Heron and explosive wing Aaron Davis. A second yellow card to the Huns and resulting penalty try to the Dallas side split the tie and brought the halftime score to 21-14. Dallas came out shooting in the second half with a quick try, but Austin returned the volley with their own. Dallas added a penalty goal and another try amidst both teams clearing their benches to get fresh legs on for the final 30 minutes. Austin would score once more in the 75th minute, but it was too little too late; Dallas took this one 39-28 and finished perfect on the day.

February Lowlight: The number of forfeits and cancellations. It’s been incredibly difficult navigating this world beyond (and still in) the COVID-19 pandemic. Many clubs that thrived pre-pandemic are struggling for numbers, and others who struggled before the pandemic are faced with the worst decisions. We are still seeing some positive growth from some clubs, leading us to ask the question – what are some clubs doing that is working to gain and retain members, and how can that be implemented in other clubs? This is intended as a call for insight, if your club has found success in certain recruitment methods, let us at the TRU know! We’d love to gather information and compile resources to help all clubs, and ultimately rugby in the TRU grow.

 

Men's D1

February was red-hot, and not just because of Valentine’s Day. We’re talking about the Dallas RFC and their sweep of opponents in the final three weekends of February. After wins over the Austin Huns and Grand Prairie, the Dallas RFC headed down to Austin to take on the formidable Austin Blacks. The Blacks skirted by Dallas in December by two points, but allowed Dallas a crucial bonus point in the loss. Dallas had to win AND deny the Austin Blacks that same luxury to cement their place at the top of the table. Mission accomplished. If Dallas can continue their winning ways and get maximum bonus points in their last two matches of the season, they’ll stay on top.

The Austin Huns and the Austin Blacks are next in the table, and we finally get to see them go head to head this month. If the Huns sweep the Blacks, they could jump to second in the standings. That may seem like a mountain to climb, but the young Huns side might just have the best chance of any team in the D1 bracket.

The Dallas Harlequins got their first win of the season over the Grand Prairie Mavericks in a thrilling match at Glencoe. Dallas led almost the entirety of the match, but Grand Prairie were hard at their heels. Dallas Harlequins are now tied in the table standings with Grand Prairie, but with one less match played. It’ll be a dog fight to see who can get more table points and come out on top.

March Matches to Watch: Austin Huns vs Austin Blacks, at Nixon Lane on the 12th and Burr Field on the 19th. Dallas Harlequins hosting the Dallas RFC in a Thursday night, March 10th match.

Women's D1

Houston took down Denver Black Ice at home, keeping a perfect record for the 2021-22 season. The sHARCs got on the board early with a pair of tries from the backline, and Denver spent the rest of the game trying to catch up. The teams exchanged tries in an exciting contest, but it was Houston who held the lead at the final whistle. The sHARCs are now 4-0 and sit comfortably at the top of the table. Austin took down the Dallas Harlequins 36-0 giving them their first win of the season. Dallas played a forfeit against the sHARCs and brought low numbers to the Austin match. In March they will play more cross-conference matches against North Texas D2 teams before hosting Black Ice at the end of the month.

March Matches to Watch: Houston sHARCs hosting Austin Valkyries on March 19th. Colorado Gray Wolves hosting Austin on March 26th.

Men's D2

We only have one undefeated team left in Men’s Division 2 and that is San Antonio. The entire D2 division had a late start to the season, so we weren’t really able to judge how everyone looked until now. San Antonio is the team to beat after a strong February where they beat HURT and HARC in back to back weekends. The Woodlands is 3-2, they mark two forfeit wins from West Houston, and one played win from their trip to HARC this past month. HARC had their last win in January against The Woodlands, and had a streak of losses in February. West Houston has been struggling with numbers all season, and they’ve had to forfeit almost all their matches; all opponents of WH Lions will have a forfeit marked in their favor.

In Men’s D1-B it’s a wild chase. The Austin Blacks are on top after remedying a December loss to Dallas with a 51-10 thrashing this past weekend. Dallas sits second, followed by the Austin Huns. Fort Worth is 2-6, but their two wins are over the Austin Huns and the Dallas RFC, notable for the later part of the season, as the men from Fort Worth clearly love an unexpected upset. Little Rock are at the bottom of the table due to a late forfeit against the Huns at the end of February.

Too many matches left to play to really start calling the postseason race, but we can see San Antonio going the distance. The Austin Blacks seem to be ramping up as the season continues but they have two matches against the Austin Huns in March that could throw their postseason dreams in reverse. Dallas only has three games left, and they have to make them all count if they want to take the top back from the Austin teams.

March Matches to Watch: San Antonio at the Woodlands on March 19th. The Austin Huns against the Austin Blacks on March 12th and 19th. HARC against HURT on March 26th.

Women's D2

The Women’s Division 2 has really just begun this month. We had one match in December and two in January, but regular play started in February. On top is the San Antonio Riveters, who are 3-0 entering March. San Antonio put up big numbers; 69-14 over BARC, 63-24 over Austin, and 62-0 over Round Rock Rage. We’re not sure anyone can stop this explosive side before the playoffs. Austin has been improving since the season started; they lost two early ones to Rage and the Riveters, but a win over Bay Area has the Valkyries hopeful they can turn to winning ways this month. The D2 North has been struggling to make matches happen, largely thanks to the two ice storms that happened in February. The Dallas RFC are training and lying in wait for their next opportunity to shine. They played Little Rock in December and a friendly against D1 Dallas Harlequins, but they are hungry and ready for some competition in March.

March Matches to Watch: Austin Valkyries hosting San Antonio Riveters March 12th. Dallas Athletic hosting Dallas RFC March 19th.

Men's D3

It should come as little surprise to anyone that the two-time D3 National Champions are undefeated and running rampant in the TRU. That’s right, the Austin Blacks are an impressive 5-0 with an even more impressive 277 point differential. That’s just… bonkers. It’s important to note that their Division 2 side is also top of the table, and Division 1 has only one loss this season, so don’t shoot the messenger, the Austin Blacks are just rolling. The Austin Huns sit second thanks to a win over the Dallas Harlequins on February 12th and a bonus-point loss to the Dallas RFC the following weekend. The Grand Prairie Mavericks booked two impressive wins over the Dallas RFC and the Austin Huns, but a one-point loss to the Dallas Harlequins early in the season kept them at third.

In D3 Central, Fort Hood Old Skool rugby is also undefeated, boasting a 3-0 record for their first season in Division 3. Alamo City beat the Other Rugby Club in a low-scoring match, vaulting them into second, while McAllen still looks for their first win of the season.

D3 North has Shreveport at the top of the table with the last undefeated record of the D3 clubs, 4-0. In years past we’ve seen D3 clubs struggle while playing away, but Shreveport remains unaffected. Their impressive 45-5 win over Alliance on the road pays tribute to that.

In D3 South, Bay Area handed the Houston Arrows their first loss of the season and vaulted into first on the table. Bay Area got on the board first with a penalty, and the Arrows responded with a try. The teams entered into the halftime break 10-5, Bay Area leading. In the first 10 of the second half, Bay Area stretched the lead to 24-5, but the Houston Arrows scored an impressive three tries in under 10 minutes to narrow the gap 24-22. A penalty goal nudged Bay Area ahead, then a try at the 75th minute sealed it. The Arrows would score at the close of the match, but Bay Area would take the win on the day, 34-29. Galveston sits at 0-3, but with a four point loss to Bay Area on the last weekend of February, March could be their time to shine. Corpus Christi is 0-2, with many matches left to be played in the rest of the season.

March Matches to Watch: March 12th- Fort Hood hosts Alamo City. March 19th – Houston Arrows take on Galveston. March 26th- Grand Prairie hosts the Austin Huns and Shreveport hosts Alliance.

Men's D4

Only one match took place in February for the Men’s Division 4, Lost Souls hosting Dallas D4 on February 19th. A second match was slated between OKC Crusaders and Lost Souls, but had to be rescheduled due to icy conditions. Between Lost Souls and Dallas, Dallas showed clear dominance after a score in the first minute and a final tally of 74-12 in Dallas’ favor. However we want to emphasize that both teams boasted nearly full rosters, with Dallas suiting up 23 and Lost Souls 22. The purpose of the Men’s Division 4 is to allow a platform to grow the game and get player experience, both of which were achieved on the weekend.

March gives us a chance to see OKC Crusaders in action, as they take on Dallas D4 on the 26th. We hope to see the reschedule between the Crusaders and Lost Souls as well. The more rugby the better!

March Matches to Watch: March 26th, Dallas D4 hosting OKC Crusaders.

Women's D3

We got to see some of the Women’s Division 3 players in action on February 12th at Alliance. With one side a no-show, the ladies combined from Denton, Grand Prairie, Alliance, and OKC played three friendly halves showcasing some great rugby. We love the drive and effort put in by these teams and look forward to March when more rugby will be at hand.

As always, the information above is gathered from team-entered CMS data and is accurate at time of posting. The embellishments are unbiased and for fun. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out to TRU Admin Kat Roche kat@texasrugbyunion.com.

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