The Runner Sports

Second Annual USA Rugby Gold Cup Kicks Off

The second annual USA Rugby Gold Cup kicked off this past weekend; the first weekend hosted by last year’s champion, Austin Blacks, at Burr Field. The USA Rugby sanctioned Division 1 premiership-level competition, pits last season’s top two men’s clubs from the Midwest and Red River Competitive Regions.

One unique aspect of this tournament are the weekend doubles; all four take the pitch twice with only a single day between matches. Day one matched the Austin Blacks against the Chicago Griffins and the Dallas Reds versus Metropolis Rugby

In game one, Austin dominated on home turf as they rolled over Chicago 54-7. Fullback Antonio Winn opened the scoring for Austin with two unconverted tries. The Blacks were up quickly and never looked back. Flyhalf Stephen Jones also scored two tries in the first half as the Blacks went into the locker room up 32-7. The second half didn’t get any better for Chicago as Winn once again scored early, his third try of the match, leading the way for Austin’s commanding performance.

Game two was a much closer than the 33-19 final as Dallas and Metropolis Rugby took the pitch in what turned out to be a rather chippy match. The score was 19-19 midway as Metro scored their last try of the match with two of their players in the sin bin. As the clock ticked down, Reds scrumhalf Pete Santos scored a try and No. 8 Chad Joseph’s sevens-style added the conversion, putting Dallas up 26-19. A late try and conversion sealed the deal for the Griffins.

Day two saw a similar result for Dallas, who defeated Chicago 38-17 to take the early lead in the Gold Cup standings. Dallas dominated the scrum game while Chicago had little to offer in defensive pressure or attack. Dallas led at the half 17-7. Chicago brought the score to 17-12 shortly after the half with a try against a 14-man Dallas defense but they would get no closer. Chicago would score again with seven minutes remaining but by this point, Dallas was well on their way to the 21-point victory. No. 8 Chad Joseph would feature prominently again for Dallas but the highlight came early as winger Kelly ‘Spike’ Kolberg turned an errant Chicago pass into a Reds try

In the second match of the day and fourth of the weekend, Metropolis bounced back nicely against home-side Austin with an impressive 34-12 win. Metropolis now heads home to host the final leg of the tournament with some work to do if they want to claim the USA Rugby Gold Cup crown.

Dallas is in the driver seat with matches against Metropolis and winless Chicago. For Austin, they must hope Metropolis upsets Dallas and then win their rematch with Metro on their own turf. As for Chicago, they’re hoping for a strong showing on the final weekend and are playing the role of spoiler.

Weekend Player Profile: Austin Blacks Antonio Winn
Position: Wing/Fullback
College: Indiana
With the Austin Blacks this season, Antonio has started all five games he’s played in, averaging just over a try a match with six.

March 3
Dallas Reds 33 – Metropolis Rugby 19
Austin Blacks 54 – Chicago Griffins 7

March 5
Dallas Reds 38 – Chicago Griffins 17
Metropolis 34 – Austin Blacks 12

Upcoming matches: At Metropolis Rugby
March 31
Chicago vs Austin
Metropolis vs Dallas

April 2
Chicago vs Dallas
Metropolis vs Austin

Gold Cup standings:
Dallas: 2-0-0
Metropolis: 1-0-1
Austin: 1-0-1
Chicago: 0-0-2

Current Regular Season Records: Win-Tie-Loss
Metropolis: 6-0-5
Dallas: 3-0-1
Chicago: 7-0-4
Austin: 2-0-2


-By Jason Graves