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Once upon a time in America, there was an ambitious initiative called the rugby Super League, whose objective was to create a competitive environment for the sixteen of the USA’s top clubs. Founded in 1996, play commenced in 1997 with 14 teams in two conferences. By 1999, the league had expanded to 16 teams as follows:
West-Pacific Conference – Belmont Shore, Dallas Harlequins, Denver Barbarians, Gentlemen of Aspen, Golden Gate, OMBAC, Old Blues, and Old Puget Sound Beach
Midwest-East Conference – Boston, Chicago Lions, Kansas City Blues, Life University, New York Old Blue, Potomac Athletic Club, Philadelphia-Whitemarsh, and Washington.
The Gentlemen of Aspen won the championship in the 1997 season, and Belmont Shore were victors in 1998.
Three rounds of playoffs were added to the 1999 format, which witnessed 155 games contested among the 16 clubs. Attendance averaged about 1,500 per match.
The 1999 semi-finals witnessed Belmont Shore defeating Aspen 18-15 in Aspen’s Rio Grande Park. Meanwhile, the Denver Barbarians beat Washington 32-10 in Denver’s Observatory Park.
In the final, held in Denver, the Barbarians, prevailed 22-18 (3-6) in an exciting battle to the last whistle. It marked a double championship for the state of Colorado as Aspen won the Division I title against Golden Gate 30-13.