Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Thursday, 17 April 2014 12:29    PDF Print Write e-mail
Video: PRP Highlights OMBAC at SFGG
MultiMedia - Shows and Highlights

PRPIn a crucial Round 11 game of the Pacific Rugby Premiership, SFGG and OMBAC battle to see who will be in best position to push for a spot in the PRP final.

Game played at Sheeran Field in San Francisco.

Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Thursday, 17 April 2014 12:24    PDF Print Write e-mail
Video: PRP Highlights Glendale v Denver Round 11
MultiMedia - Shows and Highlights

PRPIn Round 11 of the Pacific Rugby Premiership, the Glendale Raptors play rivals the Denver Barbarians in Glendale, Colo.

This was a game Glendale was favored to win, but in a physical contest the Barbos show plenty of fight.

Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Thursday, 17 April 2014 11:07    PDF Print Write e-mail
US Rugby Foundation Launches Graham Downes Scholarship
Off The Field - US Rugby Foundation News

San Diego, CA (April 3, 2014) - To honor past Natal and OMBAC great, and U.S. Eagle, the late Graham Downes, the United States Rugby Foundation, with generous support from many friends and colleagues, in particular from teammates of his from the team he founded, the Kwazulu Old Crocs, has set up the Graham Downes Rugby Scholarship Fund.

The annual scholarship will be provided to a promising young U.S. rugby player and will include round trip airfare to Durban, South Africa, four weeks of professional instruction under some of the world's top coaches at the Sharks Academy in Durban, and accommodations.

Graham DownesInput from U.S. National Team and Age Grade coaches has been sought in this year's selection process and will continue to be weighed for future selections. After much deliberation, the list of qualified candidates for this year's Graham Downes Scholarship has been narrowed down to six. The 2014 Graham Downes Scholarship recipient will be named on May 1, 2014.

Graham "Basher" Downes died peacefully at Scripps Mercy Hospital on Sunday, April 21, 2013 after succumbing to injuries he received in an assault outside his home two days earlier.

Downes' first exposure to OMBAC Rugby was at the Las Vegas Tournament in December of 1984 and from the beginning, he fit right in. The native South African's gregarious personality and world class rugby skills made him an instant favorite to his teammates, while his good looks, warm smile and sculpted body made him an instant favorite with the ladies.

Having represented South African rugby provincial powerhouse, Natal, on 66 occasions, Downes brought rugby experience, a huge work ethic and winning attitude to an already competent OMBAC squad in 1985. He was one of the first pieces of the puzzle that OMBAC Rugby head coach Bing Dawson would assemble. With Downes the cornerstone of the forward pack that would be known as "The Pack from Hell," OMBAC would dominate rugby in the United States from 1988-1996 and his legacy helped keep OMBAC in the top echelon of rugby clubs in the U.S. into the mid-2000s.

Downes played on OMBAC's 1988, 1989 and 1991 National Championship winning teams and was an assistant coach on OMBAC's Championship teams in 1993, 1994 and 1996. After his playing and coaching days came to an end, Downes continued to provide financial support to OMBAC Rugby up until his death.

With his vast experience and knowledge, Downes could have been the boisterous leader of the OMBAC team when he arrived but he left the captaining to others, instead preferring to pick his spots to offer advice and encouragement. And when he gave it, all around him listened. It wasn't often he gave praise but if you happened to get a "You Beauty!" directed at you, you knew you did something well.
Downes always played the game fairly and that may be, as much as any reason, why he earned the respect of both his teammates and those who played against him. Upon his death, Basher received praise from both his teammates and opponents alike. One such opponent, Gerry McDonald, a former U.S. National Team prop who played for the Washington Rugby Club against OMBAC in the 1991 National Championship final at Robb Field, wrote this.

"It was very sad to find out the news about Basher. I have played and trained with him many times and would say he is the strongest and most technical prop I have played against. He played many games for Natal in South Africa and moved to play for OMBAC. He was playing in the finals with OMBAC against Washington, one game I will always remember. The name his team gave him was Basher and when you have played against him you can see and feel why he was given this name. Very sad news and another one of our prop brothers gone to heaven."

Downes used his same drive on the rugby field to succeed in business. Starting his own architecture firm with a credit card in 1994, Downes built Graham Downes Architecture into a very successful San Diego firm known for providing innovative solutions for retail, hospitality, entertainment and urban mixed-use projects. The firm's recent design notoriety has been its focus on boutique hotels, ultra-lounges, hip clubs and also urban infill housing projects.

While Basher is no longer with us, you can help keep his legacy alive by contributing to the Graham Downes Rugby Scholarship Fund.

Written by Pat Clifton    Thursday, 17 April 2014 11:14    PDF Print Write e-mail
Cliff Notes: The Four DI College Championships
Columns - Cliff Notes

The way I see it, there are four DI national championships. USA Rugby runs two of them, and the other two are startups. The debate over which one is the 'real' national championship is unwinnable, but that won't stop anyone from trying.

Life University is a DIA team. What that means remains up for debate. Ian Muir photo.So I've complied some raw data to compare these competitions, and we'll stack the Varsity Cup straight up to D1A and compare the ACRC to D1AA.

One of the criteria we look at is the number of conference champions a postseason competition includes. And not just the pure number of champions, but the number of champions versus how many it could have had.

For example, seven conferences are represented in the Varsity Cup. (Technically it's eight, but BYU isn't eligible to win the Utah CRC title, so I omit that one, and the two independent teams: Navy and Notre Dame.) Of the seven conferences that could have seen their champions compete in the VC, six did. The only conference represented in the VC that doesn't have its champion in the independent postseason is the West, as Air Force finished third.

In contrast, there are six conferences that could have seen their champions in the D1A postseason, but only three are in the postseason. The Big Ten saw its champion disqualified for eligibility violations, the Rugby East champ, Kutztown, opted to play 7s instead, and the Allied Champ, Oklahoma, spent its travel budget on the Varsity Cup instead.

There are 16 conferences whose champions could have played in the D1AA postseason, but only seven are. Conferences like the Southwest, Empire, Atlantic Coast and East Coast have seen their champs opt out.

In contrast, the ACRC got six of its possible seven conference champions, with Indiana - then still eligible - turning down its bid after winning the Big Ten.

Another figure we look at is the average conference finish of each participant team. D1AA had to reach pretty deep in the bag to find many of its participants, with three playoff teams missing their own conference playoffs. Georgia finished third in its division of the SCRC, and Brown and Princeton did the same in their divisions of the Ivy, so their best-possible overall conference finishes would have been 5th. We assign them that when figuring the average conference finish of D1AA playoff participants.

For BYU, Notre Dame and Navy in the VC and Army (which missed the Rugby East season due to suspension) in D1A, we just don't figure them into the average.

We also provide the RUGBYMag ranking of each team in each postseason.

Varsity Cup
Champs: 6/7
Avg Conf. Finish: 1.55th
Ranked Teams: 8
Avg. Rank: 9.375

Cal - PAC Champ
Dartmouth - Ivy Champ
Central Washington - NCRC Champ
Clemson - ACRL Champ
Texas - Southwest Champ
Oklahoma - Allied Champ
UCLA - PAC 2nd
Utah - PAC 3rd
Air Force - West 3rd
Notre Dame - Independent
Navy - Independent

Champs: 3/6
Avg. Conf. Finish: 2.45th
Ranked Teams: 9
Avg. Rank: 12.33

Life - Mid-South Champ
Colorado - West Champ
St. Mary's - California Champ
Colorado State - West 2nd
Santa Clara - California 2nd
Arkansas State - Mid-South 2nd
San Diego State - California 3rd
Lindenwood - Mid-South 3rd
Davenport - Mid-South 4th
Cal Poly - California 4th
Wyoming - West 4th
Army - NA

Champs: 7/16
Avg. Conf. Finish: 2.25th
Ranked teams: 4
Avg. Rank: 16.25

Bowling Green - MAC Champ
West Virginia - Keystone Champ
Iowa State - Heart of America Champ
Central Florida - South Independent Champ
South Carolina - Southeastern Champ
Stanford - Pacific Western Champ
Long Beach - Gold Coast Champ
Missouri - Heart of America 2nd
Middle Tennessee - South Independent 2nd
LSU - Southeastern 2nd Oregon - Northwest 2nd
U. San Diego - Gold Coast 2nd
Arizona - PAC 4th
Princeton - Ivy South 3rd
Georgia - Southeastern East 3rd
Brown - Ivy North 3rd

American Collegiate Rugby Championship
Champs: 6/7
Avg. Conf. Finish: 1.14
Ranked teams: 4
Avg. Rank: 18

Bowling Green - MAC Champ
Kutztown - Rugby East Champ
West Virginia - Keystone Champ
Stony Brook - Empire Champ
Middlebury - East Coast Champ
Clemson  - Atlantic Coast Champ
Penn State - Rugby East 2nd

Written by Alex Goff    Thursday, 17 April 2014 10:43    PDF Print Write e-mail
DI PLayoff Picture Latest
Clubs - Men's DI Clubs

Nineteen teams remain in the hunt for the DI club championship - three in the Northeast, four in the Mid-Atlantic, one in the South, two each in the Midwest, Red River, and Southern California, one in the West, and four in Northern California.

New York Athletic Club has the Northeast wrapped up even though they lost to Old Blue this past weekend.

The big question remains whether it is Old Blue or Boston that will join them in the playoffs. The #2 team from the Northeast travels to Life University for a play-in.

"Defensively we were much better," said Old Blue Assistant Coach Stephen Lewis, who acknowledged that OBNY defense was a problem in the fall. Old Blue lost to Boston last fall, but won comfortably in a non-league game earlier this year. Bolstered by the play of Nate Auspurger at scrumhalf, Old Blue believes they are a stronger team now.

Meanwhile, the Mid-Atlantic regular season is done and the playoffs loom. Norfolk, Baltimore-Chesapeake, PAC, and Schuylkill River will play off April 26 and 27, with the winner making the national quarterfinals. The Norfolk Blues, who won the regular season standings, are strong favorites.

There are still games to play in the Midwest, but it's down to a two-horse race. Metropolis leads in the standings but it could all come down to the May 3 game between the two teams. The If Kansas City can stay within three points over the next two weeks, which looks likely, then it's all down to that game.

So the playoff scenario for the Pittsburgh national quarterfinals May 17-18 looks like this:

NYAC v. Old Blue, Boston, or Life (winner of Old Blue v Boston April 19 plays Life for the right to play NYAC).

Metropolis or Kansas City v Norfolk, Baltimore-Chesapeake, PAC, or Schuylkill River.

Metropolis leads the Midwest but it will be down to the May 3 game with KC. Norfolk is favored in the four-team MAC playoffs.

In the playoffs set for Dallas on May 17-18, there is also a distinct lack of clarity.

Provo has officially won the West conference, with the conference standings now including the two teams that pulled out - Glendale and Denver - to show a relatively full schedule. Provo and Utah Islanders split their two games, but Provo on their victory more impressively and win the league.

Because the West league is reduced, the winners will have to play in to get to the quarterfinals. Here's where it gets fun - Northern California originally declined to have their #2 team travel to the West champion for the play-in. So the play-in now involves the #2 from the Red River conference.

But Dallas is petitioning to have that game at home, not in Utah. Oddly, had Northern California had that option of hosting the game, they would have accepted it.

And ... if travel is forced on Provo, they would prefer to travelt California.

What is likely, however, is that the #2 team from Red River will be Dallas and they will play Provo for a spot in the quarterfinals. The #1 team from Red River will likely be New Orleans, given that the final match for New Orleans is against HARC, who just lost to Dallas 93-0.

In Southern California, Los Angeles and the San Diego Old Aztecs will play for the title. These two played this past weekend, with the Old Aztecs winning, but LA had already clinched 1st, so that result isn't necessarily a harbinger of the championship game.

In Northern California, the quarterfinals saw Santa Rosa and Fresno advance. The semis are set for April 26 with Santa Rosa against East Palo Alto Razorbacks, and the heavily-favored Sacramento Lions against Fresno.

So the Dallas bracket looks like this:
Los Angeles or San Diego Old Aztecs v Provo or (probably) Dallas
Sacramento, EPA, Fresno or Santa Rosa v Most likely New Orleans
(Sacramento is strongly favored in Northern California)

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Coaching/Techniques Video

Video: PRP Highlights OMBAC at SFGG

News image

In a crucial Round 11 game of the Pacific Rugby Premiership, SFGG and OMBAC battle to see who will be in best position to push for a spot in the PRP final.Game played at Sheeran Field in San Francisco. Read more...

Video: PRP Highlights Glendale v Denver Round 11

News image

In Round 11 of the Pacific Rugby Premiership, the Glendale Raptors play rivals the Denver Barbarians in Glendale, Colo.This was a game Glendale was favored to win, but in a physical contest the Barbos show plenty of fight. Read more...

Varsity Cup Round 1 Video - Dartmouth v Clemson

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Full game footage of the Varsity Cup 1st round game between Dartmouth College and Clemson University.Check out more about the Varsity Cup at Read more...

Varsity Cup Round 1 Video - Utah v Air Force

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Full game footage of the Varsity Cup 1st round game between the University of Utah Utes and the Zoomies from Air Force.Check out more about the Varsity Cup at Read more...