US Super League play-offs loom

With only Belmont Shore and the Chicago Lions guaranteed spots in the USA Rugby Super League play-offs, the final weekend of the regular season features crucial matches that will make or break eight other teams.

The ten squads still contending for playoff spots have their sights set on the May 19 quarterfinals. Only eight of them will be there.

League newcomers the Chicago Griffins (4-2, 21 league points) could guarantee themselves first place in the Blue Conference and a playoff berth with a win over 0-6 Charlotte. Potomac Athletic Club (4-2, 18 pts.) and Old Blue of New York (4-2, 19 pts.), meanwhile, go head-to-head in New York with the winner guaranteed a spot in the quarterfinals and the loser left needing lots of help from other teams.

Another critical battle between playoff contenders takes place in San Francisco, where Santa Monica (4-2, 18 pts.) will try to push itself into the playoffs by knocking off San Francisco Golden Gate (4-2, 21 pts.). It would be an impressive feat for the newly promoted club, which has the dubious honor of competing in the fiercely competitive Red Conference.

San Francisco Golden Gate and Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (4-1, 20 pts.) could each lose and still make the playoffs. Santa Monica would be hard-pressed without a win. Regardless of the playoff implications, the re-match of last year’s Super League final between Belmont Shore and OMBAC could be the game of the week.

In the White Conference, the Dallas Harlequins’ face a must-win situation against visiting Philadelphia-Whitemarsh. The ‘Quins’ impressive season (4-2, 18 pts.) doesn’t guarantee them a playoff spot, and neither does a win Saturday, but a loss will make reaching the playoffs impossible. White Conference rival the New York Athletic Club has just as many points, but beat Dallas head-to-head, giving NYAC the advantage.

Super League fixtures – Saturday, May 5:
(All times are local)

Belmont Shore v Old Mission Beach Athletic Club – 15:00
The Little Q Rugby Field, 9449 Friars Rd, San Diego, CA

Denver Barbarians v Old Puget Sound Beach – 13:00
Marymoor Park, 6046 West Lake Sammamish Parkway Northeast, Redmond, WA

Santa Monica v San Francisco Golden Gate – 15:00
Rocca Field, Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA

Chicago Lions v New York Athletic Club – 14:00
Travers Island, Shore Road, Pelham, NY

Philadelphia-Whitemarsh v Dallas Harlequins – 14:00
Glencoe Park, 3700 Glencoe St., University Park, TX

Boston Irish Wolfhounds v Washington – 13:00
Rosecroft Raceway, 6336 Rosecroft Dr., Ft. Washington, MD

Potomac Athletic Club v Old Blue of New York – 13:30
Baker Field Soccer Stadium, 218th and Broadway, New York, NY

Boston Rugby v St. Louis Bombers – 18:00
Sportport Soccer Complex, 12500 Sportport Rd Saint Louis, MO

Chicago Griffins v Charlotte Rugby – 13:00
Skillbeck Athletic Grounds, 2911 Bellhaven Cir., Charlotte, NC

Super League review – Week Five:

Tight matches and a few last-minute heroics were the order of the day as the USA Rugby Super League play-off picture became clearer with Saturday’s results.

Belmont Shore held off a furious second-half rally by Santa Monica to remain unbeaten while Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (San Diego) got a last minute try from star fullback Evan Haigh to edge the Denver Barbarians 39-36 in the hotly contested Red Conference.

Belmont stayed on top of the conference with its 31-21 win and OMBAC moved into third behind San Francisco Golden Gate, which topped Old Puget Sound Beach 31-14.

The Red Conference didn’t provide the only excitement of the day – two other matches with major playoff implications came down to the final minute.

The Chicago Griffins seemed on the verge of a huge win over Old Blue of New York. They led 17-13, at home, with four minutes to play. But Old

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