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The second leg of the Texas 7s Series is taking place Saturday in Tulsa, Okla. After a solid performance, the Austin Blacks look to build on their tournament victory and take control of the region.
Unlike the first leg, however, the Blacks will not have the luxury of playing at home. The Texas teams have long drives ahead of them, but they will get a bit of a reprieve, as matches do not start until 12pm on Saturday.
“Traveling is always difficult. We must prepare mentally and physically for it,” Blacks captain Tane Jericevich said after the last tournament victory.
Oklahoma City will be hoping to upend the traveling Blacks, the rest of the Texas teams, Tulsa and Little Rock. With an easier trip, the Crusaders are looking to avenge the 26-12 defeat to the Blacks in the Austin Cup Final.
“When any team has lengthy travel it puts a strain on the players. Fatigue can often be related with travel,” Crusaders captain John White told Rugby Today.
With only three qualifiers in the series, this weekend’s qualifier can make or break many teams vying for the region’s single spot at Nationals.
“We feel like the second Qualifier in Tulsa may be the most crucial qualifier of the Red River Conference series. Depending on which teams go out and handle business doors will open or close,” White added.
All eight teams have a mathematical chance of taking home the region's qualifier berth, but the four teams that garnered points in Austin are in a markedly better qualifying position. The Blacks, the Crusaders, Bonobos and the Austin Huns earned points and are looking to secure more this weekend.
This leg of the qualifier features a more traditional schedule with eight teams divided into two pools. The seeding is based on the results of the first qualifier. The top two teams from each pool will advance to the semifinals and play for overall points in the series. The final leg of qualifying are July 28 in Houston.
|Pool A||Pool B|
|Austin Blacks||Oklahoma City|
|Little Rock||Dallas Reds|