Top of the Ladder Clashes Highlight This Week’s Club Rugby Saturday Six Pack

This week with many of the East Coast teams taking part in the Saint Patrick’s Day Tournament in Savannah, we turn our focus to those on the West Coast and some of the important games that are taking place in the Pacific Time Zone.

Northern California Men's Division III: Diablo Olde Gaels vs Colusa County Rugby:

Our featured match for the weekend pins Diablo Olde Gaels up against Colusa County, the top two teams in the third division of Northern California. Both teams are perfect through the season, sitting at 5-0 with the maximum 25 points. The Olde Gaels are currently ahead in the standings due to point differential, enjoying a plus/minus of 113 points while Colusa's tally sits at 97.

This season is the first in Division III for the Olde Gaels, who had previously spent their seasons on the bottom half of the Division II ladder. They've been able to channel their experiences in Division II to help them develop a strong preparation process, helping them execute on attack. When asked about their potent attack, Olde Gaels' John Compaglia explained, "It is a function of being fit, tailoring our schemes to our players... and looking at the game plan for the team we are playing."

For Colusa they've been in in the third division for a while, and they have been one of the strongest performing teams in recent years. When asked about their ability to sustain success Colusa County's Christian Cowsert replied, "(Our) key to sustained success is truly our team being a family. Being we are a close group we have been able to focus on our game and train in practice just how we will play in the game."

The winner of the game this weekend will, in all likelihood, take the Northern California Division III regular season title. When asked about keeping the players' attention on executing and not worrying about the significance of the game, both teams gave similar responses. "Honestly we don't have to really work on the players to keep them even keel. The boys have learned over the years that being good is a bonus to the hard work. They continue to work hard win or loss," Cowsert illuminated. The Gaels chimed in as well, noting, "We develop our training sessions around fitness, drills that enforce communication with teammates, and situation play." A solid week's training is key to both teams' preparations for Saturday.

Both teams are expecting a tightly-fought contest and will be ready to adapt to the other's game plan as quickly as possible.
Northern California Men's Division II: San Jose Seahawks vs. Sacramento Blackhawks:

The San Jose-Sacramento rivalry is one of most heated throughout the country. When they go round for round this weekend, don't expect too many pleasantries to be extended. The Blackhawks currently sit at 6-0, with 30 points in the division, while San Jose sits at 5-0, with 24 points. With a one game advantage, a win here could put a lot of pressure on the Blackhawks and their perch atop of the division. Both teams boast impressive points for and against totals (points differential; PD), with the Blackhawks having a PD of 87 points and San Jose enjoying a 100-point differential. This weekend the Blackhawks will be looking to their scrumhalf, Josh Holland, to be their main point of attack. Holland is lethal with ball in hand, as well as with his boot. Overall, he has crossed the white line 5 times and added ten conversions. For the Seahawks, they'll be looking to Richard Webber who has been an absolute terror to other defenses, having scored 8 tries this season. Expect a fiercely competitive bout between these two.

Samurai Sportswear Pacific Rugby Premiership: Old Mission Beach Athletic vs San Francisco Golden Gate:

In another top of the ladder clash, the Samurai Sportswear Pacific Rugby Premiership (PRP) will pit the first-ranked Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC), against second-placed San Francisco Golden Gate (SFGG). OMBAC is the only undefeated team left in the PRP but SFGG, having lost only once this year, is closing in on them. OMBAC's victories have been comprehensive so far this season, with their point differential being a massive 81 points in three matches. This differential is in large part thanks to Tai Tuisamoa (Eagle #448), their number 8 who has added 5 tries to their tally this season. SFGG, after a one point loss in the opening round, have been locked in tighter games and have a point differential of 23. Their ability to pull ahead in these close games will come, undoubtedly, from their flanker, Langilangi Haupeakui (Eagle #494), who recently enjoyed a stint with the Glasgow Warriors of the Guinness PRO14. Langilangi's experience will be relied upon here this weekend.

Pacific South Men's Division II: Pasadena Rugby vs. Las Vegas Irish:

Pasadena and the Irish are both sitting atop their groups within the second division of men's play in the Pacific South. Pasadena remains undefeated and sits 9 points clear in its group, while the Irish are in a tightly contested group where they have a lead by the leanest of margins. The Irish have relied on David Pale and his boot all season. He has been able to score at will through his kicking prowess, as well as his ability to run the ball. Pasadena is familiar with having a prolific center as their own center, Garrett Manoukian, has kept defenses up at night while scoring 5 tries already this season. 

Pacific South Women's Division I/II Crossover: Tempe Ninjas vs. Old Pueblo Lightning:

The Pacific South requires that its Division I teams play at least one Division II two every year, and for the Tempe Ninjas, they've decided to test themselves by going up against the top team in the second division. Old Pueblo has been enjoying an undefeated season, winning by an average margin of thirty-six points. This has been in large part thanks to Alex Rath, who has been able to contribute more than 50 points this season via her boot. For Tempe, they too are undefeated. They've won their three games by an average margin of 21 points and have been looking to Erica Hiddink as their main offensive weapon. She has been threatening with both boot and ball, and will be a key component to Tempe's ambitions.

Pacific South Women's Division I/II Crossover: Belmont Shore vs. Las Vegas Slots:

Las Vegas sits one spot and three points behind the Lightning in the second division; Belmont Shore, with a record of 1-1, sits in third in the first. This will be an important game to both teams, as a win here and a slip up by their counterparts could have massive postseason implications.