Trio of Men’s Club Divisions settle playoff spots ahead of Quarterfinals

LAFAYETTE, Colo. - The majority of 2016 Club Championship contenders that will compete at the May 21-22 Men's Club Playoffs in either Pittsburgh or Tucson, Ariz., have been unveiled as seven of eight quarterfinalists for the Division I, II, and III fields via regional postseason competitions.

In the Men's Division I field, Life West remained undefeated by taking down Oregon Sports Union, 27-15, and claimed the playoff seed in the Pacific North. In the Red River Rugby Conference, both Austin and Dallas have qualified again, but not in the order as many had predicted. The Reds got the best of their rivals from Austin in a recent encounter, giving the boys from Dallas the No. 1 seed out of the Red River, while the Blacks settle for No. 2.

Metropolis will represent an increasingly competitive Midwest competition. The Minneapolis-based club narrowly bested the Chicago Griffins, 29-27, over the weekend.

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Old Blue of New York and Mystic River join Pittsburgh's Quarterfinal field as the Atlantic North's number one and two seeds, respectively, after strong seasons in the competitive northeast competition. Both sides finished above 2015 National Champion New York Athletic (NYAC), who finished third in the competition.

Life West's May 21 opponent from the Pacific South Region is not quite settled, as the San Diego Old Aztecs and OMBAC will battle it out May 14 for a chance to play last year's DII National Champion in Tucson.

The Mid-Atlantic bid to Playoffs is not yet determined, either, but regular season Conference Champion Rocky Gorge will most definitely be a favorite going into its win-or-go-home match against the Norfolk Blues.

There appears to be plenty of parity within the DII landscape, as Tempe is the lone club to make a return to the Men's DII quarterfinals. The Old Devils have been one of the most consistent teams in club rugby, having played in the Championship Final in 2014 and reached the Semifinals in 2015. Tempe will play Sacramento after the Capitals claimed the Pacific North seed with a 64-17 defeat of the Portland Pigs.

The rugby-loving state of Utah will have a representative at the National Playoffs thanks to Provo's advancement to the western playoffs in Tucson. The Steelers beat Boulder to take the Frontier region's place in the Quarterfinals, and will now be challenged by Red River's Little Rock.

Charlotte Rugby Club is not sending one, but two teams to Club Playoffs. While the Women of Charlotte will contend against reigning champions Wisconsin at Founders Field in Pittsburgh, the Men's team will do battle with the Detroit Tradesmen. The Detroit-based side were nearly unstoppable in the Midwest, and will surely welcome the challenge Charlotte will provide.

The Village Lions of New York, winners of the Atlantic North, will have to wait and see who prevails between the Richmond Lions and Wilmington before Village knows who they will face in the eastern playoffs.

Do not call DIII rugby social. Seven teams have qualified for National Playoffs, while three teams are still in the hunt for the coveted eighth spot in the Quarterfinals. Bremer County will contest with Savannah at the Pittsburgh-based quarterfinals. The Bucks from Bremer upended Grand Rapids for their Midwest title, while Savannah owns the bragging rights out of the South.

Filling out the Founders Field portion of the round of eight will be Fairfield and one of the following: the Newport News Mariners, Reading Rugby, or the Washington Renegades. The aforementioned clubs will compete to determine the Mid-Atlantic representative at Nationals on May 14-15 in a Mid-Atlantic Championship event that also features Rocky Gorge Rugby D3.

After missing the Quarterfinals following a one-loss conference season in 2015, Napa Valley took no chances this year by going undefeated in Northern California. Now, with an additional win over the 43rd State Crimson Lions under its belt, Napa will head to Arizona as the Pacific North Champion, where it will face the Orange County Ravens. The team from Southern California did not fare as well as it had hoped in the 2015 Playoffs, and will seek improvement May 21 against Napa.

The St. Louis Royals made quick work of their Mid-America rivals before earning the Frontier nod with wins over Wichita and the Denver Highlanders. The Royals are likely to face their stiffest competition of the season when they clash with Euless. The Red River Champions appear determined to advance in the DIII Playoffs after already accumulating postseason victories against San Marcos and Austin Blacks' D3 side.

The May 21 Quarterfinals and May 22 Semifinals will be held at Founders Field in Pittsburgh, while the western playoff rounds of eight and four will be played at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson. Each playoff location will qualify a DI, DII, and DIII team to the June 4-5 USA Rugby Club Championships at the City of Glendale's Infinity Park. The Men's DI Champion will be crowned Saturday, June 4, while the Men's DII and DIII Championship Finals will be played Sunday, June 5.