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Thursday, February 26, 2015

2015 RRRC D1 Pick 'Em Panel - Week 6 (28 February)

Week 5 of the RRRC D1 Season was the eye-opener of the season. The Blacks finally got out of third gear and put meaningful deeds to words after the 44 minute mark of their match with the Reds. The Blacks practiced patience. The Reds forgot their discipline. The Blacks put big Ty Terrazone in-goal while a Red sat out 10' for a Yellow Card. The Reds bunched up their defense. The Blacks struck with their speed, putting Reed, Kereti, then Radzavich through. The Reds don't bunch up much, but striking with the forwards when the Reds have discipline issues seems to be their weakness.

New Orleans lost form 20 minutes into their match against the Harlequins, then it was all their championship run experience could do to stave off the Quins on attack. That may work for NOLA at home, but they cannot allow such sloppiness on the road in this conference. The Quins are getting better with every game and will use this loss to be a much tougher opponent when NOLA visits them later this spring.

The Griffins play a steady game of rugby. The Huns surged on them, but it was too little too late. To win against the Griffins, a team must score early and often, then never let down their guard. The Griffins like to punish teams for letting down their guard.

Let's see what our pundits picked this week!



NOLA meets the Quins Defense head on!
Picture courtesy of NORFC
Houston Athletic at New Orleans

Grant - This is the week I want HARC to win. They've had two weekends in a row to recuperate and refocus. But they are on the road to New Orleans and picking HARC on the road is not the smart play. NOLA needs to pick it up. They should be playing better than they have been. I think NOLA will win, but I also think it will be much closer than they would like (again). If it is a close match, the Reds and the Blacks will be licking their chops.

Ted - There are two things at play in this game. HARC isn't nearly as bad as their record shows and NOLA might not be as good as their record shows. NOLA is, at least, not the same team they were last year and have had trouble putting teams away. HARC is going to need a major resurrection to salvage their season. They've traveled poorly this season, so there is little reason to believe that they'll go to NOLA full strength. Even with the way they've played this season, NOLA will be the heavy favorite. Pick: NOLA

Gordon - HARC is a terrible division 1 side and NOLA are a good side at home. NOLA will have adapted a little better to the loss of Chance Doyle and will win easily.

Gift - HARC has just been struggling all season. Injuries and depth have decimated this teams season so far, leaving them as one of the surprising production disappointments this season. That being said, HARC is still a team that can come back out and punch you in the mouth at any moment. New Orleans played to their opponents level last week, and cannot afford another lackluster performance like that. HARC still has enough talent on the team to take advantage of any weaknesses shown. That being said, I look for New Orleans to still maintain a strong homefield advantage and take the win against HARC.

Buss - NOLA. If NOLA had coasted this may have been a trap game. But they almost tripped up. That will focus them and ground them. This will be a big statement game for them.
Big Ben Nelson skies in the lineout for Griffins against the Huns' lock, Welborn.
Picture courtesy of Griffins Rugby
Griffins Rugby at Dallas Reds

Grant - The Griffins are probably playing more steady than any team in the RRRC at this moment. But they are not playing at the level that they would like to be playing, which is scoring at least four tries every game, win or lose, and ensuring that the losses are close enough for a bonus point. If the Griffins were on the road to the crescent city this weekend, they'd be my pick. But, the Griffins have the unfortunate opportunity of playing the Reds the weekend after a can of Blacks whup-ass was opened. The Reds won't be sitting around this week playing tiddly-winks after giving up 60 points in a match that they should have only given up 20. The Griffins CAN beat them if they play like they played in Austin. That won't happen, though. Reds by two tries, but they will have to fight for it.

Ted - The Griffins are coming off of an important win last weekend against the Huns. They face off against a Reds side that was embarrassed by the Blacks. On top of that, they have to face the Reds on the road. Can they take advantage of any possible chinks in the Reds armor? The Reds will be desperate to get the taste of last weekend out of their mouths. Hard to believe that they won't come back strong. Pick: Reds

Gordon - Griffins will grind as they usually do. The Reds have a lot of injuries in their backline which was exposed by the Blacks. They have a lot of faith in Jordan Macey righting the ship, but I have my reservations about him. The Reds have disciplinary issues and give away too many yellow cards for my liking. I would be worried they get frustrated again here and Danny Carlton makes them pay with his boot. Difficult to say this but Reds to lose two weeks in a row and Griffins to win a close one.

Gift - The Reds have got to be pissed off. Not only did they watched a perfect regular season disappear on them, they were utterly dominated in the process. The Griffins showed off their grit at home against the Huns. Proved that they can step up to the plate and grind out the win when they want to. Griffins won't have to go far, to try and continue that effort. Unfortunately, unlike the Austin Blacks, there is no bye week to help give advantage for the Griffins. While I wholly believe that the Austin Blacks dominance came from them being more battle ready after a weekend in Las Vegas, as well as the Reds disadvantage of a two week break from play, the Reds are still the team to beat in the league. I look for the Reds to rectify the mistake of last week and take the win over the Griffins.

Buss - Reds are going to be angry. You won't like them when they're angry!
Who says Brendam Rams cannot be tackled?
Picture courtesy of Norma Salinas Photography.
Austin Huns at Dallas Harlequins

Grant - There is no more evenly matched fixture this week than this one. The Huns have yet to win on the road, but they can. The Harlequins have played more like Les Bleu so far this season and less like the Blackness that they'd prefer to emulate. That being said, the Huns know how to find in-goal much better than the Quins have proven able to prevent entrance. I think the Huns are just starting to mesh and can find their first road win this weekend at Glencoe.

Ted - An intriguing match that may get overlooked this weekend. Both sides have been solid, but sit lower in the table than either want to be with identical 1-3 records. Both have played close with teams in the upper half of the RRRC. There is just a little something missing keeping them from being consistent threats. Both sides need this win if they're going to challenge to get into the upper half of the table. Pick: Harlequins

Gordon - The Huns talk about their numbers a lot but lack the top tier talent to overcome average coaching. The Quins have excellent coaching and will be confident after a good performance against New Orleans. Quins to win by 2 or 3 scores.

Gift - The Huns showed that they are still very shaky on the road. The loss to the Griffins exposed the weakness that the Huns have on defense. Harlequins played a wildly close game against New Orleans. Losing only by the skin of their teeth, the Harlequins are showing that they are tired of being considered the bottom of the league. I look for the Harlequins to handle strong at home, and avenge a close loss to New Orleans by going all out on a road weary Huns team

Buss - I don't think I've picked a Huns game right this year... They WILL mesh and make a run. Is this the week against a Quins team that must be full of confidence and vigor? No. Quins are finding themselves. Quins in another close one.


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