Contender List Runs Four Deep
An expanded MLR playoff means that two more teams will have a chance at postseason glory. That may not matter.
In the West, Austin and LA look well ahead of the pack. In the East, New England and Atlanta have a shot at the Shield. Everyone else is vying for a spoiler role.
That’s not to say that no other team could make some noise. On their day, both San Diego and New York can reach a level that takes on the top four. Seattle should be a scary matchup, but their inconsistent performances may leave them out of the field altogether. Houston can show flashes of brilliance, while the Arrows (when even a little healthier) can prove deadly, but their performances south of the border pale to those north of it.
Unlike last year, there is no odds on favorite to win the comp. Even the four contenders have their own potential weaknesses. A surprise or two could happen in the opening round of the playoffs. However, baring a massive change down the stretch, don’t bet too heavily on a team outside those four to win it all.
Old DC Finding New Glory
To say Nate Osborne has reinvigorated DC is an understatement. Picking them to beat Dallas was trendy. Picking them to win by 40 would’ve been insane. As it often does in rugby, insanity won out.
We wrote extensively about the Dallas situation last week. Utah is hardly a team on the rise either. But a two game streak for the previously win less DC has injected hope into the Capitol’s side. Oh, and all of that has occurred with star 10 Mike Dabulas out for the year.
DC travels to Osborne’s former side in NOLA next weekend. The Gold dumped their former coach unceremoniously in late December. The current regime hasn’t had nearly the success. With only four points between them, Osborne could leave NOLA behind his new team on both the scoreboard and the standings.
Canada, Jamaica Qualify for Men’s World Cup 7s; Canada Earns Women’s Berth
While 15s is tightening up, 7s had its days in the sun down in The Bahamas. Originally scheduled for February in Mexico City, the RAN 7s Qualifiers awarded two men’s berths and one women’s berth for Rugby World Cup 7s 2022.
In the men’s competition, Canada ran through the thirteen-team field. Jamaica maintained a 14 point gap against the Canadians in the Final, by far the closest margin against the Maple Leafs all tournament. Mexico finished third in the competition, reminding everyone that Mexico’s future could be extremely bright.
In the women’s competition, Canada cruised past Mexico in the Final. The six-team competition was only able to send the victor to the World Cup in South Africa.
The USA had previously qualified for both the men’s and women’s events. Neither participated in the regional competition.