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Like Division I and II the Men’s DIII playoffs sees the final eight teams playing at two locations (Dallas and Pittsburgh) for a shot at the National Title
In Dallas, the Kansas City Islanders will battle the SoCal Kings while the Life West Gladiators will take on hometown Dallas Athletic.
Kansas City won two fairly close games against the Queen City Rams and the St. Louis Royals while the Kings beat San Luis Obispo and the Tuscon Magpies for a spot in the elite 8.
The Life West Gladiators thumped the Reno Zephyrs and edged Budd Bay. Dallas beat Corpus Christi and narrowly won against San Antonio.
The Pittsburgh regional pits the Washington Renegades against the Tri City Barbarians and has the Montgomery Yellow against either Old Blue or Seacost.
Tri City shut out the Cincinnati Wolfhounds and cruised by the Chicago Riot. Like Tri City the Renegades posted a shutout in the first round of the playoffs blanking the Happy Valley Barbarians. Washington went on to beat Old Gaelic in the second round.
Montgomery defeated Asheville and Gainesville to punch its ticket to the elite 8. It is not clear who their opponent is as of yet because the result of Seacoast and Old Blue is not known.
This years field features all but one or two new teams depending on whether Old Blue advances to the final eight. It features one brand new club in the SoCal Kings.
The only guaranteed returning club is the Kansas City Islanders. Knocked out in the round of eight in 2013, the second year team is looking to build on last years experience.
"As a first year club we didn't really know what to expect last year," Vice President and Flanker Kia Tuala told Rugbymag. "The experience factor is hugh. This year we are used to travel aspect and are ready to take care of unfinished business."
Last year the Islanders traveled with only 17 players as some of their guys are active military and unable to make it. This year, however, Tuala said "we have all of our returning guys and some of the active military that didn't make it last year. We are in control of our own fate."
The match with SoCal will surely be spirited as many of the Kings are also native Islanders. In fact, the teams have been trading barbs all week since a number of the Islander players have relatives on the Kings.
"It will be a tough match as we are sure they play the same brand of rugby as us," Tuala added. "The competition as a whole this year seems much more difficult as the there seems to be much more staunch competition."
The quarterfinals and semifinals will be decided this weekend and the championship match is slated for March 31 at Breese Stevens Field, the home of Wisconsin Rugby Club.