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A tough Irish economy is becoming something of a dividend for rugby clubs in Massachusetts, as a small but influential influx of rugby players is bolstering teams in the area.

The economy has meant that semi-pro or amateur clubs, as well as professional clubs, are either unable to pay players, or even unable to find those players rapidly-disappearing jobs.

As a result, Boston has signed on some Irish players, and another is expected soon. And the Boston Irish Wolfhounds has landed a couple of players, also, with Darren O’Keeffe and Tom Walsh are expected to populate the Wolfhounds midfield at 13 and 12, respectively.

“There are a lot of Irish guys in town,” said BIW Head Coach Fergal Hehir. “It’s a logical destination for them, especially for the players who have US passports.”

The player the ‘Hounds are leaning on even more, though, might be former USA U19 star Owen Collins. Back playing for his club, Collins is one of the more popular athletes on the team. He is an running flyhalf, and when he takes the field, it seems old boys come out of the woodwork just to see him play.

“We go to play South Shore and when old boys hear Owen is playing, they make the trip with us, it’s amazing,” said Hehir. “He’s just a really exciting player.”

Collins will not be playing this weekend as the Wolfhounds take on a Middlesex team chastened by Boston last week.

Boston, meanwhile, has another stern test in Mystic. Mystic is 2-0, but against Amoskeag and South Shore, not two of the stronger teams in the competition. Certainly Head Coach Declan O’Riordan will want to see a more precise performance this week.

New England DI Club Matchups:

Amoskeag

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New Haven

Boston

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Mystic River  Rugby Club

Boston Irish Wolfhounds

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Middlesex

Hartford Wanderers

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South Shore Anchors