If you consider yourself a fan of USA Rugby (or follow this blog), you've heard the names of these two teams before: Mystic River Rugby and the Austin Huns.
Hailing from the greatest state of our great nation (Massachusetts), Mystic River shocked many when they captured the National D1 Club title last year, one of the few Boston Championships that didn't come with controversey or a rash of haters. Even still, the desire and ability to win remains strong on the outskirts of the Hub.
Josh Smith, Head Coach of Mystic River, has the utmost confidence in his squad heading in. When asked what gave his team the best chance to win, Smith had this to say:
"This group of players have been together for quite a few years, these guys have played in a few playoff matches together. They should be ready for the big moments."
Well, that big moment will come this Saturday, when the defending champs will look to take on East Coast rivals New York Athletic Club. "They are a veteran squad with a great coaching staff." Smith said of their opponents. "They will make us work for everything in (the) attack."
And have to work they shall. NYAC has been a staple club of the North East for many many moons now, and very recently had a high-profile defeat over Old Blue of New York. Coach Smith acknowledged that there are areas where his team can improve, paticulary when it comes to executing inside the 22.
However, Mystic's greatest strength lies in their passing game, which nearly gave them the victory over the red hot Glendale Raptors two weeks ago. This is a facet of their game plan they will have to focus on if they hope to find an answer to the likes of NYAC players Nate Brakely, Seamus Kelly, and Harry Bennett.
While the Big Battle of the East (can I copywrite that?) is looming over Mystic and New York, West Coast will meet Deep South when San Francisco Golden Gate takes on the Austin Huns.
When you look at this match-up on paper, even the most impulsive of gambling men would hesitate to put their money down. SFGG has defeated Life West, Belmont Shore, Glendale, and a host of many others on their way to becoming one of the most dominant clubs of the past year. Meanwhile, the Austin Huns just won the Red River Conference title to put themselves in national contention for the first time since the club's founding in 1972, and are coming off a commanding showing in the MRC.
Huns Coach Eugen Eloff understands the challenge ahead of him and his team. "The standard will be higher. We wont do anything diffirent regarding preperations but realize we will have to be on top of our game, you only have one shot"
In your head, you should be able to hear loud and clear the emphasis on that last part because of how true it rings. "You only have one shot". Somebody cue the Eminem piano intro.
However, SFGG will not be allowing Austin to take their 'one shot' uncontested. Afterall, with players like Pila Huihui, who earned Man of the Match honors in a 90-0 playoff victory against ORSU, you have to expect a match that is going to get fast and competitive from the opening kick.
This is something Coach Eloff understands and anticipates. And although they are going against the same squad that last fell the dreaded Glendale Raptors, Coach Loffie doesn't see many clear disadvantages. "The only weakness or rather negative we have is that it's our 1st season together (lack of experience) where other teams have been together for a few seasons, but this is also an positive, we are the underdogs and have nothing to lose."
We are a fit side" said Eloff when asked what he sees as the potential advantages of his side "(we) have options for attack which makes is unpredictible and we can adapt to change." Those 'options' referred to by Eloff includes a gaggle of talented players such as returning Eagle Todd Clever, Captain Lomani Tongotongo, and Michael Reid, the team's wiley scrum-half who has battled injury on and off the last few weeks.
Both teams take to the pitch on Saturday. For Mystic River, it's about proving their title victory last hear was no fluke, for Austin, it's all about making a name ahead of the MLR's kick-off. Check back to Penguin Tundra for match results.
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Penguin Tundra Sports Blog was created in 2016 by a very bored college student who was obsessed with Rugby and Football. That same college student knew how to write pseudo-intelligently, so what better way to show off than to create a blog. Along your journey though the Tundra's domain, you may come across outlandish opinions, horrible spelling errors, and some shit that is just outright wrong. Well then, you should comment, give my blog more attention, and we will have our day in internet court. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy talking about sports as much as I do.
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