Our picks have bumped up to a 25-26 record. So, almost average. That’s league parity and not predictor inadequacy. That’s my official take.
RUNY, Los Angeles
Houston v Austin
Look at the table, and this looks like an obvious call. Austin is in a playoff race, while Houston is fighting off elimination.
So, why does this match up puzzle me?
Austin is struggling mightily. Connor Mooneyham returns to the side, but Will Magie will be out injured. Mack Mason and Reuben de Haas will start this one on the bench. How does a new 10 and 15 impact the side? Maybe someone new getting a chance can spark the attack, but I’m pessimistic.
Houston is not a great team, but its not as bad as its league points indicate. The team still doesn’t know how to use Sam Windsor, but it still has ample talent. Could this side pull off an upset at Aveva? I’m not certain, but I think they might get the win they’re due.
NOLA v Atlanta
The games get easier to pick… after this one.
NOLA is successful when they play slow and grind it out near the ruck. Atlanta blitzes the ruck like no one else. NOLA has done well at home, but ATL is in peak form. While I’m not overly convinced, I’ll take the road side.
Winner: Rugby ATL
Toronto v San Diego
A year ago, this would’ve been the premier match up. San Diego is rising at the right time. Ethan McVeigh is one of the surprise finds of the season, and this team is on a different level when Joe Pietersen is at first-five. With the news Dan Pryor is joining the team for the stretch, adding to a flanker room that includes Eagle Psalm Wooching and a recovering Chris Robshaw, the Legion needs to stay hot until the full force of this team is unleashed.
The arrow is pointing done for Toronto. This team has fought valiantly on its Major League Rugby tour, half of this team is just waiting to join the Canadian national team. Give the edge to the Legion.
New England v DC
The Free Jacks are the dark horse in the East. They’ve proven strong at home, and Ryan Martin has a deep playbook. On the other side, Old Glory is good but playing for summer vacation. Eagle Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz remains out on suspension, and Danny Tusitala is no longer capable of bailing this team out.
Winner: Free Jacks
Seattle v Utah
This is also a bit of a trap game. The Warriors have taken command of the 2 Seed. Seattle just named Allen Clarke their permanent head coach. Will the typical ‘new head coach bump’ carry the Seawolves to an upset? I don’t think so, but my bet has now been adequately hedged.