2019 Men's & Women's Club Of The Year

Gabby Cantorna, Joanna Kitlinski, Glendale Merlins

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At the heartbeat of any strong rugby nation is the grassroots level, where people play and dedicate their time simply for the love of the game. 

It's a unique culture, in that people from all ages and all walks of life come together and share an enjoyment for the best sport on the planet, all while putting their bodies on the line every week. 


The club rugby scene in America has been around since rugby itself was introduced to Americans. Clubs rise and fall, grow and shrink, go through good times and grow through rough times. 

Here we want to recognize two outstanding clubs that serve as good models for how rugby teams can operate when everyone is bought in:

Men's Club of the Year: Austin Blacks


Since 1967, there's hardly been a club more consistent, decade after decade, than the Austin Blacks. They may not have the same number of championships as some clubs, but for sustained success, you won't find anyone better.

2019 was a culmination of sorts for the Blacks, who sent a D1, D2, and D3 side each to the national quarterfinals, with the D1 and D3 reaching the national championship. 

The D1 side took on an extremely good Life Men's team, and the game was an outstanding back and forth contest. 

Unfortunately for Austin, a 79th minute penalty by Life gave the Running Eagles a one-point victory, making it three second-place finishes in five years for the Blacks D1. 

Their D3 side, however, dominated their way all the way through the final, winning their second consecutive national championship and taking some of the sting out of the D1's loss. 


Women's Club of the Year: Glendale Merlins

Glendale's women are the only club to have a team in both the WPL and in USA Rugby Division 1. 

Their WPL side was spectacular this year, bouncing back from an opening round loss against Life West to win nine straight and claim the WPL title. 

Along the way, they defeated Life West twice, including a barn-burning 39-31 win in the championship game. 

The Merlins' D1 side also had a great season, reaching the D1 semifinals before going down to the Austin Valkyries in a close 29-22 loss. 

For a team to have such success at both levels, it takes a lot of commitment and focus from everyone involved, and Glendale demonstrated they could do both in 2019. 


McKenzie Hawkins After Big Semi-Final Win

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Round 4: Super Rugby Aotearoa/AU Team of the Week

Codie Taylor, Crusaders

With the Australian Super Rugby teams entering the fold this week, the Super Rugby Team of the Week selection just got a whole lot tougher. There were plenty of great performances over the weekend, and a few names on the sheet that continue to show up week in and week out. 

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MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: New England Freejacks

New England Free Jacks

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

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Reds, Harry Wilson

The gifts keep on coming, as Super Rugby AU's new season just got underway this past weekend with two scintillating matchups, while Super Rugby Aotearoa once again dazzled fans. 

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MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: Houston Sabercats

Houston Sabercats

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

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More Rugby! Super Rugby Australia Kicks Off With Reds vs Waratahs

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Much to the delight of many rugby fans all around the world, Super Rugby began a New Zealand-only competition three weeks ago, giving spectators something great to feast their eyes on after a long rugby layoff since the start of the pandemic. Well, starting this weekend the rugby universe will be treated to another great competition, as Super Rugby now begins its Australian-only league. 

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TWO UNBEATENS REMAIN: Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 4 Preview

Richie Mo'unga, Crusaders

Through three rounds of Super Rugby Aotearoa, it's the Blues and the Crusaders who still remain unbeaten, while the Chiefs and the Hurricanes are still in search of a first victory on the season. The Highlanders, meanwhile, sit at 1-1 after two heart-stopping fixtures against the Chiefs and the Blues. 

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Date Set For New Zealand's North vs South Island Battle

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For the first time since the mid 1980's, New Zealand is set to reintroduce the famous North vs South Island match on August 29th, pitting players from each of the two parts of New Zealand against one another to settle where the best rugby players in the country truly come from. 

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MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: Colorado Raptors

Colorado Raptors

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

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Could New Zealand Be Hosting The Entire 2020 Rugby Championship?

New Zealand v South Africa - Rugby World Cup 2019_ Pool B Warren Little Getty Images For World Rugby.jpeg

With much of the world shut down still thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, rumors are swirling that New Zealand could be home to the entire 2020 Rugby Championship. The past three weeks have seen the beginning of the Super Rugby Aotearoa, a competition involving just the four New Zealand Super Rugby franchises. 

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MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: Austin Gilgronis

Gilgronis vs Toronto Arrows

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

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