The Men’s D2 and D3 and Women’s D2 RRRC Champions were crowned last weekend in Austin, Texas at the culmination of the TRU/RRRC Championship weekend, as well as the Men’s D1 Champions formally presented with their plaque and medals. The Women’s Division 1 winners are still TBD, as their final playoff game occurs on May 7th.
Red River Rugby Conference Champions:
- Men’s Division 1: Dallas RFC
- Men’s Division 2: Austin Blacks
- Men’s Division 3: Austin Blacks
- Women’s Division 1: Colorado Gray Wolves
- Women’s Division 2: San Antonio Riveters
See the full weekend recap below:
Austin Blacks 46 – 21 Houston United Rugby Team (Semifinal 1)
The first semifinal had the Austin Blacks facing off the Houston United Rugby Team (HURT). The first half the Blacks had the wind at their backs, and started off strong with a try on the first series of plays – dotting down with just a minute on the clock thanks to fullback Vince Dutton. A few minutes later, the forwards got into the spotlight, and the in-goal area, thanks to Gus Chavez. By the 20th minute, the score was 31-0, with a try by Jerry Williams, and two tries from one of our players to watch, Joe Rizzardi. HURT finally bit back with a try from their own Kevin Griffis, and the teams entered the half with Austin leading 46-7. A tough lead to overcome, and HURT tried their hardest. Their defense would keep Austin scoreless for the second half, but two tries were not enough. The Austin Blacks would advance to the final, final score 46-21.
San Antonio 24 – 53 Dallas RFC (Semifinal 2)
At the end of the day we saw the Central Texas powerhouse of San Antonio taking on the men in red, Dallas RFC. Good thing we sent out the thunderstorm policy to all teams because it was Tommy Hever, White Lightning himself, who started off the scoring, with a try in the fourth minute. Dallas’ backline continued to dominate with Deionte “Noodles” McMurray putting his name on the board. San Antonio would chip away slowly with a penalty goal of their own from Joel Cagle. A try from Nathanial Taylor followed, and it was all tied up. Halftime saw the score 20-10 in Dallas’ favor. The second half would continue to be close, but as the time wore on, Dallas’ fitness overcame the San Antonio side; it would be Dallas advancing 53-24.
Austin Blacks 39 – 10 Dallas RFC (Final)
Both teams from the D1b advanced and Sunday was a regular season rematch between Dallas and the Austin Blacks. The regular season split was 1-1, with Dallas handing Austin their only loss of the season so far in December. With everything to play for, these two sides kicked off one of the best rivalries in Texas. Austin struck first through Conrad Hillesheim, then again through Jamelle Shaw. Dallas added a penalty kick from Maxime Delprat. Already, bodies were tired and injuries were racking up from both teams. Halftime had the score close, 12-3 with the Blacks leading. At the start of the second half, a yellow card to Dallas’ John McAuliffe opened the space for Austin to put a few more points on the board. The last twenty minutes was a melee of yellow cards, impressive scrums from the Blacks, and a whole lot of desperation, as both teams threw their bodies on the line to get the win. At the final whistle, it would be the home team triumphant, Austin Blacks winning 39-10.
San Antonio Riveters 75 – 5 Austin Valkyries (Semifinal 1)
The third installment of this series of games, the first two of which happened in the regular season; San Antonio won both of those, 63-24 and 50-22. This was for the playoffs though, and the stakes were higher. San Antonio responded accordingly. The Riveters looked unstoppable as they scored try after try, replicating what we saw in their 6-0 season. Leading the charge was Couger Jaramillo with four tries to her name, assisted by Toni Armstrong, Lyndsay Cornett, Gabriela Hillmann, Noelle Heiser all with two, and Cynthia Vargas with one. Austin wasn’t left blanked though, as winger Shaddai Salinas added one in the last 15 minutes. Still it was San Antonio who advanced to Sunday’s Championship match.
Little Rock 76 – 5 Round Rock Rage (Semifinal 2)
With a near identical scoreline to the other semifinal, this one was a bit more uncertain to kickoff. Little Rock had really only played one match all season due to forfeits. Now that match they won handedly, but it was back in December, and anything could have happened since then. Round Rock Rage are a new club on the scene, and impressed at the start of the season with their 48-15 season opening win over the Austin Valkyries. With the chance to represent at Nationals on the line, we thought it was anyone’s game. Turns out, Little Rock were determined to prove it was theirs to win. In the first minute, winger Cambre Awtrey found her way into the in-goal and put Little Rock on the board. Though it would be another 15 minutes before either team scored again, Little Rock had made their statement opening. From there the scores flowed in, with Round Rock only getting on the board once at the half thanks to the loose forward Samantha Ondra. Little Rock would score 12 times, half of those from the ferocious winger Awtrey who started the flood. Little Rock closed the day with a 76-5 win and a date with San Antonio the next day.
San Antonio 37 – 15 Little Rock (Final)
Sunday was a big one, the battle of the two undefeated teams. These two had never met in a RRRC Championship match before, the path always seemed blocked by the formidable Austin Valkyries. With San Antonio dispatching them on Saturday though, it was down to two. The first try went to Little Rock, by way of the fullback Dominique Reyes. San Antonio added their own, and another, and another. By halftime the score was 27-5 by way of San Antonio. Little Rock regrouped at the half and held the Riveters off until the 58th minute when Abby Vestal slotted a penalty goal for the Arkansas side. San Antonio liked that move and Noelle Heiser kicked her own not two minutes later. A try each at the close did nothing to change the tides, thanks to a dominant first half, San Antonio raised their first Championship trophy, beating Little Rock 37-15.
Austin Blacks 79 – 7 Bay Area (Semifinal 1)
The first match of the Men’s Division 3 semifinals had the home team, Austin, facing off against the Bay Area Rugby Club. Bay Area had Donavin Apiag back in the lineup following an injury earlier in the season, and Austin hadn’t played a match in weeks, so there was high excitement for the opening whistle. For the first twenty minutes, Bay Area’s defense worked to keep Austin at bay, but it was hard going. The Blacks found the in-goal three times thanks to David Comerford, Charles Davidson, and Edrique Visser. Halftime was 22-0 to Austin; a gap, but achievable for Bay Area to close. Bay Area would score shortly into the second half thanks to winger Ryan Macheska, but Austin began to pull away by then. A flurry of tries at the end of the second half widened the scoreline beyond Bay Area’s repair. Despite an incredibly competitive first half, it would be Austin who advanced 79-7.
Fort Hood Old Skool 38 – 41 Houston Arrows (Semifinal 2)
Probably the most anticipated match of the weekend, and boy did it deliver. The Arrows dotted down first in the opening minutes, by one of our players to watch, Norm Dillon. The score was 17-0 when a yellow card to Houston’s Mitchell England changed the game. Fort Hood found their footing and the in-goal as they shocked Houston with three tries in seven minutes, leading as the teams entered the half 19-17. Another player to watch, Marcus Allen, would continue the scoring for Fort Hood as the second half started. The score was 26-17 when the Arrows decided it was all or nothing and James Mati dove over to bring it 26-22. Then it was Fort Hood again, then the Arrows, then Fort Hood. With five minutes to go, Fort Hood had the lead 38-29. The Arrows hadn’t come this far just to be bested at the first match though. It was Michael Toussaint first, then Michael Mumaugh, for the arrows in the final five. The kick from Norm Dillon at the death was just for show, as the Arrows advanced 41-38.
Austin Blacks 84 – 21 Houston Arrows (Final)
The first match on Saturday was the ticket to the Men’s Division 3 Quarterfinals in Houston, TX. When it comes to the D3 Championship, there’s only one way out of Texas – and it’s through the Austin Blacks. And the Austin side showed their might as they pounded in try after try, holding the Arrows scoreless in the first half. The second half though, the Arrows regrouped and decided they were here to play their game and not Austin’s. Michael Mumaugh scored the first, and five minutes later Norm Dillon followed. Austin didn’t fall on their heels though, they added a few of their own. A tale of two halves, Austin 52-0 at half, Houston adding 21 to Austin’s 32 in the second half. The Austin Blacks continue their domination, and head to Houston on May 7th on the road to defend their third National Championship Title.
Members of the Dallas RFC Division 1 side were present to formally receive their Championship awards. Dallas finished first in the regular season of the Red River Conference, thus advancing directly to the Men’s Division 1 Semifinal to be held in Atlanta, GA on May 20th, 2022.