Second Annual Rugby Gold Cup Returns This Weekend

Austin, Chicago, Dallas and Metropolis face-off in Premiership Competition

LAFAYETTE, Colo. - USA Rugby announced today that four teams will compete in the second annual Men's Rugby Gold Cup competition, a USA Rugby sanctioned, premiership-level tournament featuring the top men's clubs from the Midwest and Red River Competitive Regions (CRs) starting this weekend in Austin, Texas.

"Last year's inaugural Gold Cup provided high performance opportunities for elite level clubs in the Midwest and Red River CRs," said USA Rugby Club Department Manager Erik Geib. "We're excited to build upon last year's premiership-level competition with some of the country's best Division I clubs."

The 2016 Gold Champion, and USA Rugby Division 1 National Championship Runner-up, Austin Blacks Rugby will be joined by:

  • 2016 Red River CR Champion: Dallas Rugby Football Club (the Reds)
  • 2016 Midwest CR Champion: Metropolis Rugby Football Club
  • 2016 Midwest CR Runner-Up: Chicago Griffins

The inter-CR rounds for the Midwest were completed this past fall with Chicago and Metropolis splitting their two meetings. Meanwhile in Red River this past weekend, the Dallas Reds defeated the Austin Blacks, 63-35, in Dallas. The clubs will meet again on April 29, 2017, in Austin.

CR cross-over events:

March 3, 2017, at Austin Blacks Rugby:

  • 6:30pm: Austin Blacks vs. Chicago Griffins
  • 8:00pm: Dallas Reds vs. Metropolis

March 5, 2017, at Austin Blacks Rugby:

  • 11:00am: Dallas Reds vs. Chicago Griffins
  • 12:30pm: Austin Blacks vs. Metropolis

March 31, 2017, at Metropolis:

  • 6:30pm: Chicago Griffins vs. Austin Blacks
  • 8:00pm: Metropolis vs. Dallas Reds

April 2, 2017, at Metropolis:

  • 11:00am: Chicago Griffins vs. Dallas Reds
  • 12:30pm: Metropolis vs. Austin Blacks

More information about the 2016-2017 Rugby Gold Cup may be found at rugbygoldcup.com.

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GOLD CUP PLAYER SPOTLIGHT

The following information was submitted by respective club representatives:

Austin Blacks

Knute O'Donnell

  • Known as: Knoodles 
  • Position: Scrum Half/ Hype Man
  • Height: 5'8 
  • Weight: 180
  • Career highlights: 3x Midwest Champion/National finalist for Penn Rugby, 3 Year starter for Davenport University, D1AA National Champion (2012), Austin Blacks Rookie of the Year (2016)
  • Hometown: Osceola, Indiana

Matthew Radzavich

  • Known as: The Rad
  • Position: Wing
  • Height:  6'0
  • Weight: 190
  • Career highlights: Starting in a National Championship, playing in Tobago with Atlantis, playing against the Fijian National Team in a friendly scrimmage in Las Vegas
  • Hometown: Austin, Texas

Siaosi Finau

  • Known as: Sea Biscuit 
  • Position: Front Row
  • Height: 6'0
  • Weight: 240
  • Highlight: meeting people from around the world with different backgrounds, creating friendships, and later on turning those friendships into brotherhood. Truly blessed
  • Hometown: Euless, Texas

Chicago Griffins

Eric Jacobson

  • Position: 2nd Row
  • Height:  6'5"
  • Weight: 245
  • Career highlights: One of the best 2nd rows in the league. Excellent lineout and ball handling skills. Captain.
  • Hometown: Lockport, Illinois

Scott Petersen

  • Position: Center
  • Height:  6'1"
  • Weight: 240
  • Career highlights: Strong running center and solid defender.
  • Hometown: Northville, Michigan

John Luhrsen

  • Position: No.8
  • Height:  6'3"
  • Weight: 250
  • Career highlights: Powerful and very fit. He has a high work rate and is always a threat when carrying the ball.
  • Hometown: Wheaton, Illinois

Dallas Reds

Jonny "Big Red" Heron

  • Position: Lock
  • Height: 6'8"
  • Weight: 250
  • Career highlights: Jonny has had an extensive playing career in his home country of Ireland, as well as in New Zealand, France, Canada and the United States. An exceptional lock, he is as good a 7s player as he is at 15s. Jonny's individual accomplishments include being selected as the 2016 Dallas RFC D1 Forward of the Year, to the 2014 & 2015 Texas Select Sides, the 2011 ITM Cup Under 21s training squad, the 2009 Belfast Harlequins RFC Player of the Year, the 2008 Queens University Belfast RFC Rookie of the Year, and the Ulster Schools Provincial Select Sides in 2007, 2008 & 2009.
  • Hometown: Belfast, Ireland

Peter Santos

  • Position: Scrumhalf
  • Height: 5' 9"
  • Weight: 185
  • Career highlights: Pete is a talented young scrumhalf with a laser pass in both directions. He is also handy at fly half. In 2012, Pete played in the Collegiate Rugby Championships with University of Oklahoma. In 2014, he was selected from the Dallas Harlequins RFC to play for the Texas Select Side, and in 2015, was again selected from the Dallas Reds to play on that select side. Pete helped the Reds to a Division 1 semifinal appearance in 2015, and a quarterfinal appearance in 2016.
  • Hometown: Barrigada, Guam

Collin "Boogie" Yerian

  • Position: Flanker
  • Height: 5' 10"
  • Weight: 220
  • Career highlights: Boogie is a lifelong member of the Reds, having joined the Club shortly after graduating from high school. During his 6 years with the Reds, he has evolved into a punishing tackler and runner, rarely going down at first contact. Collin has assisted the Club in making six straight Division 1 playoff appearances, including two Semifinals (2014 & 2015), and a Quarterfinal (2016).
  • Hometown: Dallas, Texas

Metropolis RFC

Zach Haley

  • Position: Hooker
  • Height:  6'0"
  • Weight: 220
  • Career highlights: A high school All American as well as a USA U/20's representative. He is known for his high work rate and strong ball carrying. He is in his 1st season with Metropolis after joining them and starting in the D1 team right out of high school.
  • Hometown: Hopkins, Minnesota

Teli Veamatahau

  • Position: Backrow 
  • Height:  6'3"
  • Weight: 230
  • Career highlights: A high school All American, USA U/20's as well as a Senior USA Selects representative. He is known for his line out jumping, smart ball playing and strong defense. Although only young he is a leader on the team and someone all club members respect highly.
  • Hometown: Nuku`alofa, Tonga

Melvin Desouza

  • Position: Wing 
  • Height:  6'0"
  • Weight: 230
  • Career highlights: A very fast and powerful ball running wing. In his 1st season with Metropolis he leads the team in tries with 15 in 11 games. A player with huge potential to play representative rugby one day in the near future. 
  • Hometown: Accra, Ghana