If your “rugby tankard” has been running a little low lately, this weekend your cup should floweth over. There is so much rugby going on, especially if you’re an American rugby fan, that it’s hard to keep track of everything. So, we’re going to try to do it for you.
First, we’ll start with the big one. San Francisco Golden Gate against the Life Running Eagles for the 2009 USA Rugby Super League Title. There are other games this weekend that stand far taller in magnitude, but for USA Rugby fans this game should be taken more seriously.
The game is set to air on ESPN Classic Saturday night. It is the only game played this weekend that everyone has a chance to watch for free… tune in or record it. Everyone should have access to ESPN Classic, so there isn’t any excuse to miss it. It should be be one hell of a game to boot.
Next, we’ll travel overseas for another championship, this time the Super 14. Widely considered the best professional league in the world, the Super 14 has had a great playoff race and the title game shouldn’t be any different. The game pits the Chiefs (New Zealand) against the Bulls (South Africa).
To make matters more interesting, this is the Chief’s first trip to the finals. This one airs on Setanta Sports Saturday night about the same time as the Super League Championship. Watch one, record the other. It’s your duty as a rugby fan.
Then, of course, you can’t forget about the British and Irish Lion’s Tour which brings together the top players from Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland. The tour kicks off on Saturday against a South African Royal XV and goes on throughout June.
Lion’s Tours only come around once every four years, so this is another series to watch out for. The game airs on Setanta Sports at 7:00pm (EST), just before the Super 14 Championship.
Looking for something else on American soil? On Sunday the USA Eagles take on Ireland in the Setanta Challenge Cup. Held at Santa Clara’s Buck Shaw Stadium, the game airs on Setanta Sports at 3:30pm (EST). This is your first chance to get a look at the 2009 National Team squad.
With a big year of international tests ahead of them, hopes are riding high. This also marks the first outing of Eddie O'Sullivan as Eagles Head Coach and to add pressure it's against his former team.
The USA sevens team also takes the field this weekend for the final stop on the IRB sevens Series. The final tournament takes place in Edinburgh, Scotland. With the youngest team in the history of the IRB sevens Series, the USA took some lumps last week but shows alot of promise for the future.
No details have been provided for broadcast, but ESPN360 has streamed the games from Day Two of most of the tournaments this season. Expect them to have coverage on Sunday from Scotland.
Lost in the shuffle of all of this international action is the USA Rugby Men’s Club Championship that is being held Saturday and Sunday in Glendale, Colorado. The top four Division I, II, and III amateur men's teams from across America will duke it out for the National Championships of their respective divisions.
The Division I Semifinals on Saturday serve as a curtain raiser for the Super League Championship. The championships of each division were streamed last year, but there hasn’t been any announcement from USA Rugby as to whether the same treatment will be given this year.
There you have it. With the dizzying number of games going on this weekend, stay tuned to Rugby America for scores and updates from all of the rugby on tap for this weekend.