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With the second place team of the American Rugby Premiership added to the mix, the DI Men’s Club National Playoffs field looks different from year’s past. With multiple new entrants from last year and Life winning the ARP, an exciting tournament is expected. NYAC joins a strong group of contenders for the crown that includes unbeaten EPA Razorbacks and Mystic River and one-loss teams like Belmont Shore, the Austin Blacks, and the Kansas City Blues. The East and West Regionals will be played on May 30th and 31st in Charlotte, N.C. and San Francisco, Calif., respectively, with the National Championship back at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo. on June 13th.
The EPA Razorbacks earned the Pacific North bid to the playoffs following an unbeaten 11-0-1 record in the NorCal. The Razorbacks average margin of victory was 30 points this season and are looking to do some damage in the playoffs.
With one week left in the Red River Conference regular season, the Austin Blacks have the top seed wrapped up with a 10-1 record and will play the Pacific South representative in the West Regionals. The Dallas Reds edged last year’s DI finalist, New Orleans, for the second seed of the conference. As the runner-up, Dallas will face the Razorbacks in the quarterfinal round.
After splitting the regular season series with the San Diego Old Aztecs, Belmont Shore will play their foe for a third time on May 9th for the Pacific South title. The Old Aztecs took the first meeting 66-12, but last week, Belmont got their payback winning 24-18. The winner will face the Austin Blacks in the West Regional.
With a 39-31 victory over Metropolis last week, the Kansas City Blues have claimed the top seed in the Midwest Conference playoffs will face the Milwaukee Barbarians set on May 16th. As the second seed, Metropolis will square off against the Chicago Lions in the other semifinal. The winner of the final will meet the Atlantic North Champs in the East Regional on May 30th.
With a 36-5 win against Portland, Mystic River completed their 8-0 undefeated season securing their spot in the NERFU Final on May 16th. They will play the Hartford Wanderers who narrowly beat White Plains 38-36 for the second seed in the title match. The winner will represent the Atlantic North Conference against the Midwest.
In their inaugural season, the Potomac Exiles won the Mid-Atlantic Conference Championship in a hard fought match against the Norfolk Blues, 26-18, last weekend. Potomac will next play the runner-up from the ARP in the Round of 8.
After dominating the Boston Irish Wolfhounds, 71-12, last weekend and coupled with Old Blue’s 30-20 loss, NYAC has earned the ARP’s automatic berth to the DI playoffs. By playing the stiff competition of the Premiership, NYAC should be considered as one of the favorites for the title.