New York face tough task

When Old Mission Beach Athletic Club and New York AC meet on Saturday in the last regular season match of the USA Rugby Super League Season, the results will be felt not just in New York and San Diego, but in Dallas, Chicago, Long Beach and Washington DC.

For OMBAC, there is little pressure. Win or lose the defending champions from San Diego are in the play-offs as a wild card and will travel to Chicago to face the Lions in the first round.

An OMBAC win, however, would knock NYAC out of the play-offs – unless the New Yorkers could manage at least four tries in a loss and not lose by more than seven.

Such a loss would earn them two league points and secure them the final wildcard spot, sending them to face top-seeded Belmont Shorein the first round.

If NYAC were to be eliminated, it would open the door for Potomac Athletic Club to slip in as the final wildcard, sending the DC side to face Belmont instead. No doubt PAC players and coaches will be anxiously awaiting Saturday’s result with fingers crossed.

NYAC – league champions themselves in 2005 – hopes to be the bearer of bad news for PAC. If they beat OMBAC they’re in the play-offs – either as the White Conference second seed (if they earn a bonus point by scoring four or more tries) or as a wild card – and will most likely travel to face the Chicago Griffins in Round 1.
The Dallas Harlequins – currently in second place in the White Conference – would have to face Belmont Shore if NYAC win. Otherwise, the Harlequins travel to Chicago to face the Griffins, who won the Blue Conference in their first Super League season.

Coming into Saturday’s crucial match, NYAC and OMBAC find themselves coming off losses to the league’s top-rated teams.

OMBAC fell to undefeated Belmont Shore 23-17 in a well-contested rematch of the 2006 final while NYAC were outpaced by the Chicago Lions 35-22, despite two tries by standout wing Brian Fitzgerald and solid kicking by centre John Cronin.

On Saturday NYAC will have to contain full-back Evan Haigh – who has been on a scoring streak over the past three weeks – as well as the rest of an OMBAC line-up stacked with US Eagle Rugby World Cup candidates.


365 Digital

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