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33 minutes | Apr 22, 2022
Denver Barbarians vs. American Raptors - The Local Darby
On Saturday, 4/23/22, the Denver Barbarians will play against the American Raptors. The teams have played on and off since 2007, and each time they square up against each other, the rugby fans of Denver Colorado benefit. Since 2007, the competitions have morphed and shaped year to year (see below). The product always seemed to be elite level clubs on the cusp of professionalism. With the PRO Rugby formation (and quick disintegration) in 2016, everything changed. The two teams have not played consistently since 2016 and Saturday's game looks to change that. Super League Elite Cup (2012) Pacific Rugby Premiership PRO Rugby MLR Professionals vs. Amateur Club What dynamics go into each differing set up? Advantages/disadvantages of being professional? Advantages/disadvantages of being amateur club? Importance of playing local Darbies Building the level of competitive rugby in Denver Growing the Denver rugby fan base. Iron Sharpens Iron Players to Watch: American Raptors: Max Dacey Seimou Smith Line Latu Kaleb Repp Luke Mallette Denver Barbarians: Luca Tani Mike Lawrensen Eric Sykes Conor O’Brien Malik Bryant Saturday - 4/23 3:00pm - Denver Barbarians vs. American Raptors 5:00pm - Denver Barbarians vs. Denver Waterdogs Infinity Park Turf 1055 S Cherry Street PICKEM!
15 minutes | Mar 21, 2022
Three Screens Are Better Than One - MLR Update (ft. Tommy NoPiks)
Over the past 6 weeks, we've been watching the games and keeping a temperature on the early part of the 2021 MLR season. On Saturday night, Bt and Tommy NoPiks sat down to take in 3 games at once (4 games if you count the 2nd half of the Cali Cup). Much to the chagrin of our dear friend (the 2020 "Blogger of the Year" RPA winner) and seasoned rugby reporter Bryan Ray, the MLR decided to load up Saturday night's slate of games. While Bryan prefers the game schedule to be laid out over the course of an entire weekend, we strongly disagree... What could be better than 3 games on, all at once?! We saw a great opportunity to binge some games and thanks to a generous TV donation by The Rugby Network, we built a triple screen masterpiece. Final Scores and thoughts from a great Saturday night MLR binge (winners in bold): LA Giltinis - 26 SD Legion - 13 Commentary Booth: Gareth Rees (play by play) Mike Tolkin (color) A poorly timed yellow card in the 60th minute killed San Diego's chances to level the score. They just couldn't seem to get the ball over the try line despite many appearances down in LA's 22. Luke White continues his rampage as one of the best scrummaging props in the MLR. Billy Meakes (better known as "Sir William Meakes" in Rugby PickEm circles) was MOTM. Meakes in an absolute GUN! Austin Gilgronis - 17 New England FreeJacks - 25 Commentary Booth: Kit McConico (play by play) Jim ___? (color) Some people disagreed with the call that went against Mason Pederson and cancelled Austin's late try to bring the game close, but the bottom line is that New England scored and defended when they needed to. They walk away with a massive win on the road, and rested some starters too. Zach Bastres scored his first MLR try coming off the bench to help seal the game. NOLA Gold - 17 Rugby New York - 30 Commentary Booth: Ian McNulty (play by play) Geoff Ormsby (color) We we're pulling hard for NOLA to get their 3rd straight win and jump back into contention in the East ... but it wasn't meant to be. New York was in control throughout the majority of the game. Ed Fidow continues to be a master class for the New York backline, running through anything to get his team on the front foot. NOLA has some lengthy tries late in the match, but too little too late for NOLA. They are 0-4 at home to begin the year. Dallas Jackals - 12 Seattle Seawolves - 34 Commentary Booth: Matt McCarthy (play by play) Marc Scterbina (color) An early red card saw Dallas up against it at Choctaw Stadium. The team continues to have moments of play that are magnificent, but a lack of defensive cohesion lead to a litany of Seattle tries that put it out of reach. Dallas will get their first W before the season ends, it's just a matter of which team takes them too lightly. Seattle ends a three game slide and will have to front against the defending champs next weekend. What a fantastic Saturday night of MLR action! Stay tuned for more Rugby PickEm to follow in the coming weeks! PICKEM!
83 minutes | Feb 5, 2022
MLR 2022 - Year of the Player
MLR 2022 - Year of the Player (ft. Colton Strickler DNVR Rugby) 4 Themes and 'Motifs' for the upcoming season ... 1. Shift in Player Power - Monetizing Individual Brands It's no secret that MLR Salary caps are low relative to its European counterparts. This will push players to try and maximize their potential income, on and off the pitch. We've already seen star caliber players bring their talents stateside to help build their brand. In 2022, expect just about every type of player (from aging star to young bucks taking the leap from college) to monetize their name image and likeness off the pitch. And why shouldn't they? Players make the ultimate sacrifice for everyone else to enjoy rugby ... their body. The truly successful MLR franchises will be the ones whose front office seeks to help their players grow off the pitch financially. If you can't pay the players much now in 2022, help set them up for financial success in the years to come. In summary, expect to see: Personal Brand Deals, NFT Offerings, Players Making Content 24/7 2. Follow the $ - Front Office Consolidation & Expansion The capitalization table in the league will always be changing. Like an amoeba, the shifting of ownership percentages will be constant. Recently, Rugby ATL was sold and previous MLR owner now has a bigger piece of the league. As certain ownership groups continue to flex their checkbook and acquire bigger stakes, you can bet your ass that those ownership groups have greater say in the board meetings. New expansion teams will always pay a higher cost to entry with every additional year the league gains momentum (and hopefully meaningful revenue). The cost for future teams (St. Louis & Chicago) will be greater than teams who joined in 2020. While they will always be partners (the collective ownership group as a whole), you can bet on some serious (metaphorical) arm wrestling at the quarterly meetings. 3. Rugby Media Industrial Complex becoming too SPECULATIVE Love the fact that more and more people want to cover the league. The more the merrier ... however, with player and coaching jobs on the line, there really needs to be a threshold or structure to how people report on the game. There's a difference between journalism and content. Let's hope people aim to be right, not first to report. If someone has sources in the league, by all means work those sources. But if you're just chucking paint on a wall, and purely speculating ... well that's not fair to the parties your speculating about. Counterpoint ... many bloggers have been peeved about the lack of transparency in the league. True, it's been a pain point for the MLR in the past, but they just launched the new transaction wire. Perhaps this small offering will give the Rugby Media Industrial Complex the little taste of information they need in order to not be constantly guessing and speculating. 4. Deepest Teams Win Late in the Year Championships are won in the offseason (front office putting together an elite team), pre season (players / coaches / front office gelling and forging bonds that will last through the season) & obviously in the post season ... where championships are (literally) won. The teams with the star power may come out strong, but it's the deepest teams that will rise up the ladder and make a run for the shield in June. Special thanks to Colton Strickler for doing this years #MLR2022 preview. THE YEAR OF THE PLAYER! PICKEM
13 minutes | Jan 28, 2022
Jalen Tatum - Rugby ATL
What if I told you the future of Rugby ATL was a lacrosse convert, who's ripped up & shredded (like cheese), loves a good bump off, ... oh yeah and he's not just a great dude, but also perhaps a fashion and trend setting icon ..... ? It's Jalen Tatum and he's heading towards a try zone near you! Don't you DARE Run it Straight at this Man. Jalen and I linked up this past fall in the U-23 pathways camp. From the moment he showed up to the camp, I had a feeling there was something special to this absolute unit of a player. A lacrosse convert, Jalen dropped this stick and opted for the more physical game of rugby, cutting his teeth at Kennesaw State University. He learned quick and has blossomed into a backs coach's wet dream: A winger who can run around you or through you. After spending an entire year with Rugby ATL and going uncapped, Jalen looks to cement himself into the week to week lineup in the 2022 campaign were the franchise hopes to retain their claim atop the Eastern conference. The road to success is never a straight line, and young players often have to overcome the hurdles and curves that are ever present in professional sports. Jalen's path has landed him on his hometown squad, ready for what comes his way. It's obvious that being a great player isn't the only requirement for success. Jalen takes the term "teammate" and delivers on all fronts. He's not the yelling and screaming type, but he's able to connect with fellow teammates and offer his expertise on how to be better. Often "micro-coaching" on the pitch, he knows that the team is only as good as it's weakest link. He's a connector, a communicator, and most importantly ... a Big Time Gamer. Keep you're eyes peeled for this man in #MLR2022 ! PICKEM!
79 minutes | Jan 13, 2022
The 2021 Rugby PickEm Awards (The 2nd Annual RPA's)
A touch late on the "end of year" publication, but ... oh well. The deliberations were fiery, no stone was left unturned, and the final pieces to this year's awards have come into place. What a year 2021 was .., and where to begin? In the face of a pandemic, the MLR went 99-0 (Commish's favorite stat), Gilly hoisted some hardware, the Pioneers got to compete in Tokyo after a year delay, PR 7's was launched, & the college game returned (even though the political infighting continues) ... How does one cap a big year? The 2nd annual RPA's. No serious analysis involved, just some lighthearted shout outs to the general rugby community. Sit back, enjoy, and dive into the utter absurdity of handing out awards to the Rugby Media Industrial Complex (TM). The Categories and nominees are... Step of the Year: Tadhg Furlong Nate Augsperger Stuart Hogg MLR Mascot of the Year: Woodgy - New England Jacksquatch Koa the Warrior Panther - Utah Warriors Rucky - Seattle Seawolves Scratch - Houston SaberCats MLR Fan of the Year: Broccoli Man (Seattle) The Big Guy (RUNY) The Cohort (SD Legion) MLR Podcast of the Year: W Nation Road To Glory Cat Chronicles Who Is Winning The Rugby Streaming Wars? FLO Rugby Peacock The Rugby Network (TRN) Best Cross Over Podcast of the Year: The sole nominee and winner is .... DNVR Rugby Podcast Rugby's Hardest Worker: Steve Lewis Pat Clifton Commish Killebrew Alex Goff Ryan Kirby (on twitter) Matt McCarthy Brianna Kim Independent Podcast of the Year: Stories Unleashed Podcast - Chez Waihi Rugby on the Rise - Max Dacey Rugby Hive - Dallen Stanford & Robin McDowell Listen to the full podcast to find out who wins. PICKEM!
33 minutes | Dec 30, 2021
Matt Johnston - International Sevens Game Analyst
As professional rugby intersects with the information age, statistical trends and historical data are crucial to the success or failure of a professional team. At the test level, coaches and selectors are handed a treasure trove of information about their player pool. All of this comes to life on the back of a talented rugby analyst. Matt Johnston (Aussie by birth, but currently morphed into a global ambassador for footy) is one of the most knowledgeable rugby analysts I had ever met to date. Better yet, he was patient and kind enough to walk me through some of the areas about rugby video analysis where I was completely clueless. In a couple weeks time, he instilled the confidence in me to start flying the drone myself and biting off an additional role in the U-23s fall camp. To top it all off, he's a class bloke and one of the more easy going human beings I've met. Here's a snap shot of what we covered in the conversation. How does World Rugby design a player pathway? It's not just getting into the right locations to scout talent, but making sure that they're accessible to the young players of the region. According to Matt, "You've got to build the base of the pyramid, then you can help push people toward the apex." How does World Rugby grow the game (outside of player development)? Awareness, Enjoyment, and a lifetime participation in the game. We need people playing a full career of club footy, then picking up the whistle to coach, organize or officiate. Developing casual fans is important, but developing and retaining "fans for life" is also imperative. What is it like being an analyst for a high performance team? According to Matty "It's one of the best seats in the house." Matt got into analysis in order to help his coaching. He learned by sitting in with the best minds, and absorbing their knowledge, patiently asking questions and acquiring knowledge of how to break down film. Soon knowledge turns into know how. It soon became another form of literacy for Matt. How does an analyst balance what the see in the numbers vs. their "gut instinct"? "The numbers aren't there to steer the direction of the conversation, but more to act as an accelerant." Matt knows and stresses the importance in allowing data to paint a bigger picture, but it's never a complete substitute to the bigger coaching picture. A good analyst will stay connected with the coaching staff at each possible moment to inform and educate them on what statistical data can help compliment their decision making. To anyone in the American rugby landscape who is interested in growing their skills in analysis ... The TIME IS NOW! Make some phone calls, get plugged in with your local expert. Or just head online and learn as much as you can from available online sources. No excuses, get on your horse and help #GrowTheGame ! Thanks again to Matt Johnston, a top bloke. If you see him at one of the International 7's stops, be sure to have a yarn! PICKEM!
32 minutes | Dec 28, 2021
Isaiah Ashley (Rugby Rent Scholarships #1)
When you start something (without the full plan of what it's going to look like), you get results that are often unquantifiable. After all, you didn't establish the ground work. You don't know what a "success or failure" looks like. You haven't done the hard work that goes into laying out a coherent, justified, deliberate end goal. Begin with the end in mind. And it's not just the long term vision ... good execution comes down to the little details. Long before we launched the Rugby Rent Scholarships website in July of 2021, Isaiah Ashley had already been in touch about playing rugby out west. Pat Kane (North Carolina based rugby coach) connected us, and Isaiah got on his horse ... he showed up before the house had even begun it's full renovation. It would prove to be a summer of changes. Isaiah first gravitated to rugby in order to get out of football spring conditioning (smart AND honorable). Grimsley HS was one of 3 teams that offered in the Greensboro, NC area, and he immediately took to the game. His size was an immediate asset, and the ability to size people up is always a fun endeavor (... for the bigger guy ... usually). Raised in a "football first" family, he accepted a football scholarship to Furman with intent of playing football and rugby, but after 4am alarms became pretty old (he also only touched the ball 3 total times ... exciting fumble recoveries), he narrowed his focus to the rugby pitch. Isaiah did the work and transformed from a 300lb offensive tackle back down to a manageable mid 200 mark. Learning how to pass and get around the pitch is often the hardest part of the game for big fellas to pick up quickly. Isaiah made it a point to put in the reps to close the gaps in his game, and it showed in his time at Furman. Isaiah's time playing 7's with the Denver Barbarians was unfortunately cut short due to an ankle injury sustained in training. He made the most of his short stay in Colorado, rooming with Uncle Johnny and the Rugby Rent Scholarships house. Even as he was hobbled on crutches, he still managed to get his passes in each day in order to improve his craft. He and Uncle Johnny gave glowing reviews of each other as roommates (espousing more and more wisdom with each trip to the bathroom), and Isaiah even gave us some insight into his content creation ... The Thiccman Inc. Podcast. Thanks again to Isaiah for the great interview, and best of luck to him and his future rugby endeavors! PICKEM! PS Listen through the credit to hear Uncle Johnny talk about life as a Jimmy Johns Delivery Guru!
10 minutes | Dec 28, 2021
End of Year Blizzard of Content ...
As is Rugby PickEm tradition, we give our listeners (and readers?) an end of year blizzard of content before the year ends. The following is an recap/update on the 2021 fall season. Over the next few days, we'll keep the feed fresh with some old interviews we did throughout the year. What a year it was. Rugby PickEm stayed busy in the fall of 2021, but here are some behind the scenes stuff that has grabbed most of our time and attention. 1) Coaching Grassroots Rugby We've always been a grassroots first podcast. In the rugby world, one reaps what one sews. Spending time at the high school and collegiate level developing the game is essential. Over the past 5 years, we've been coaching the same group of kids since middle school. It has been a long and crazy journey, but all the hard work from the players resulted in a start-up high school team hoisting their first hardware! 2) Rugby Rent Scholarships This newly launched initiative had a wild first fall season. There were some massive successes, and also some serious lessons learned during the first 4 months of operation. As inflation and the continued pandemic makes it harder and harder to find affordable housing, this initiative is all the more imperative to the success of young players in their 20's as they attempt to relocate their life to pursue the highest level of club rugby. 3) USA U-23 High Performance Fall Camp Was privileged to have the opportunity to help manage a 9 week camp where some of the best young talent was assembled in Denver, CO. The goal was to introduce players to the professional environment, and show them what it takes to be a professional rugby player. From early morning weights, to 2 a day training sessions, to eating healthy and diving into the film, the players were pushed on just about every front. Some players arrived with the professional mindset already instilled in them. Some grew substantially over the 9 weeks. Others failed to rise to the occasion and squandered their opportunities. I learned so much about what goes into creative a high-performance / professional environment. The relationships garnered from this camp are invaluable, and I am excited for these young players to show the world what they can do on the pitch. Keep an eye out for some interviews to come in January as we lead into the 2022 MLR season! 4) Reading Books Yes ... reading BOOKS! Not staring at screens or reading online articles on the phones / tablets. Let's get back to ink and paper! Here are some great reads that Rugby PickEm loved in 2021 ... My Life and Rugby - Eddie Jones - Eddie has seen it all. From the amateur's game developing into full blow professionalism, he navigates his career and gives insight into his brilliant rugby mind. If you live to coach like Eddie, this is a great read. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey - Tired of spinning your wheels and feeling like you're just keeping your head above water? This book will help instill principles of effectiveness that have stood up for centuries. Big Magic - Creative Living Beyond Fear - Elizabeth Gilbert - Do you have a creative itch you've been wanting to scratch? Willing to produce some "content" in a world full of trolls and haters? Liz Gilbert brings you into her mind and passes on ideas that will make you think twice about caring what other think. Unleash that creative edge you've been storing for far too long. More content to follow (including Uncle Johnny's stories of being a Jimmy John's delivery specialist ... p.s. he was Freaky Fast). PICKEM!
18 minutes | Nov 12, 2021
Autumn Nations Series
The Autumn Nations Series is well under way. There have been some blow outs, mixed with some exciting score lines as well. The series is broadcasted and sold via streaming services differently in each country. Amazon Prime has it's hand in the live rights pot, and is taking on more and more rugby. Here in the US, the streaming service that seems to have all the rugby rights wrapped into their current contracts is FloRugby. While the average American rugger doesn't like hitting a paywall (FloRugby charges monthly, but also offers $55 for an annual subscription), it's not that hard to borrow a login / password and select which International Test suits you the best (surely everyone shares their streaming passwords right?). Regardless of your Login / Password acquisition prowess ..., most games are quickly uploaded to Youtube and highlights are immediately released. Too much test footy not to carve aside some time over the next two days and feast (on food, and on watching rugby). Here's a quick wrap up of last week's International action: - Scotland stun Australia - South Africa squeak by Wales - The Italians show some fight against the mighty All Blacks - Ireland quietly cruises against Japan - The French outduel Argentina - Fiji finish out Spain - Portugal beat Canada - Romania humble red hot Uruguay
15 minutes | Nov 12, 2021
2022 MLR Schedj Release (Three Teams, One Cup)
With the release of the 2022 Major League Rugby season, fans can now decide where to spend their hard earned money come early February. Last year, with the pandemic, and other unknowns throwing wrenches into just about every teams planning, the season started later, and some teams were not able to host fans for the first few months. But 2022 offers a fresh beginning to what will be another banger of an MLR season. A few takeaways from the schedule ... 1) Warm weather cities get first home advantage The AG's host 6 of their first 8 games (and thus travel for 6 of the remaining 8 to end the year). This can work wonders for teams that want to get a hot start and a foothold in the table. Texas weather in February tends to be quite nice (pending random cold fronts that have been known to tax the energy grid), so Rugby PickEm may be looking to catch the opener come Feb 5. 2) Three seeds for each conference (with a built in bye to the semis) Six out of the 13 teams will make the playoffs in 2022. The Eastern division will field 6 teams, whereas the Western division will field 7. Does this make it harder to make the playoffs in the West? Statistically speaking, perhaps ... but we have to see which conference looks more powerful after about 4 weeks worth of gameplay (we'll check back in on East v West in March). Last year the East was significantly stronger than the West top to bottom. Will it be the same this year? How serious will Dallas' first year squad be? Another significant change: Number 1 seeds will get a bye week straight into the Semi Finals. The built in bye week for the 1st seeds will hopefully incite competition down to the very final week. The Giltinis had won the west in 2021 with about 4 weeks to go. They essentially ran away with it. Perhaps adding another team into the playoffs will keep those teams in the middle of the table more competitive towards the latter end of the year. 3) Playoffs in June Love this. Why wait until July where Eagles and other test players are being taken away from their teams? This will allow national selectors to hone in on the final weeks of the regular season and playoffs to see which young players are able to throw their hand up and demand selection in big games. The spotlight creates pressure, and from pressure you get diamonds. Let's hope a few diamonds reveal themselves in the buildup to a crucial RWC qualifying summer in 2022. Three Teams, One Cup The Texas Cup is a Rugby PickEm favorite event. However, we did have to educate Tommy NoPiks on what "Cup Matches" actually entail. With Dallas' entry into the fold (officially this time), there are now more possibilities than ever with 3 teams actively vying for the illustrious hardware throughout the year. Can Dallas get their hands on it in week 1 against a strong AG's side? Hoisting the Texas Cup would certainly be a great way to start a franchise (officially this time). If Austin wins the opener, there won't be a follow up Texas Cup game until 8 weeks later when the Houston SaberCats roll into Bold Stadium on April 3rd. BUT .... if somehow Dallas does the improbable and beats the AG's, they'll have to defend the Texas Cup just two weeks later. If the MLR is nailing anything, it's slick schedule releases in the middle of the offseason ... and the glorious Texas Cup. PICKEM!
17 minutes | Nov 11, 2021
USA Women Head to Europe
The USA Women's Eagles head to Europe to play Ireland and England on the back of two defeats to Canada. Monday's crowd was lively considering it was cold enough to freeze your fingertips. Multiple hot chocolates sold out on a brisk night in Denver. The Eagles struggled in the lineout , but excellent goal kicking allowed the Eagles to keep the game close. However, they could not produce the go ahead try. Final score, 15-9. The second game was played 5 days later, on a lovely Friday night at Infinity Park. The crowd was boisterous and both teams sought to play a more expansive version of their attack. In the end the Canadians repeated as the victors 23-16. Rugby PickEm & crew were in attendance for both games and unilaterally agree that the crowd got much louder that it had been all fall test season. Shoutout to the Denver based fans that made it out to witness some hard nosed rugby. Both teams now head across the Atlantic to close out their autumn tour. The Americans finish with the Irish and the English. The English women's team is rolling after back to back defeats of the Black Ferns. The Canadians closeout their fall with matchups against England and Wales. PICKEM!
35 minutes | Nov 1, 2021
One (Test) Window Closes, Another Opens With a Vengeance
It took a whole month for the Rugby PickEm triumvirate to return to the same studio, but the stars aligned this week and Uncle Johnny and Tommy NoPiks returned to the show. We had left our last episode on the eve of the second leg of USA vs. Uruguay. Obviously, the results went the way of the Southern Hemisphere challenger as Uruguay cleaned up at home, winning the second leg by a score of 34-15. The final score on the aggregate (50-34) solidified Uruguay's spot in Pool A as Americas 1. Congrats to a well deserved Uruguay team that earned their spot and have been THE exciting tier 2 team in the past RWCs. With Chile defeating Canada in their home/away series, Canada has now been eliminated in their RWC 2023 qualifying efforts. It will be the first time the Canadian Men's Rugby team has not qualified for a Rugby World Cup. The shockwaves reverberated through the Provinces, and Canadian Rugby twitter was big mad. The Eagles will now have to wait a full year before they resume their RWC qualification against Chile next summer. It will be another home / away aggregate, with the winner claiming the Americas 2 spot, the final spot in Pool D (England, Japan, Argentina, Samoa, Americas 2). Onto the 1874 Cup (still can't figure out the relevance of 1874 ... but oh well) ... The All Blacks defeated the Eagles 104-14 in a game in that most believe should (or should not?) have been played. The NZRU took the majority of the revenue split, and the USA Rugby fanbase find them selves wondering what is was all for? Should we keep valiantly lining up against tier 1 teams? Or first figure out how to handle our fellow Tier 2 competitors. The only thing in full agreement was that Will Jordan is an absolute rocket of an All Black, and will continue to score tries at will during this Northern Hemisphere tour. Lastly, the USA Women's Eagles face off against Canada Women's Rugby on Monday night, 6pm at Infinity Park. Rugby PickEm bought 10 tickets and will give them out to any fan in the Denver area! Get your asses out to Glendale and support this team! PICKEM!
24 minutes | Oct 1, 2021
Eagles vs. Los Teros & Premier Rugby 7's
The Eagles are a home/away series vs. Uruguay away from qualifying for the Americas 1 spot in the Rugby World Cup 2023 in France. After a scintillating win at Glendale two weeks ago against Canada, the Eagles showed they can win with their backs against the wall overcoming a -15 point deficit against the men in red. Saturday night, they'll be without AJ MacGinty their first form five-eight. Oddly enough, the lineup involves 5 MLR forwards all from the Eastern Conference (... 3 from RUNY, 2 from NOLA) AND 5 MLR backs all from the Western Conference (3 Gilgronis, 1 Warriors, 1 Seawolves). Isn't that ODD? Can the Eagles win these next two games against Los Teros ??? We certainly hope so ... can you imagine how great it would be to watch USA play France IN France? Even a chance to upset the host team would be a great opportunity for the Eagles. Or even a chance to square off against the haka in a RWC? How good mate???? Premier Rugby Sevens in Memphis will be exciting. There's plenty of USA 7's capped Eagles sprinkled into the mix, along with some other up and coming 7's talent. And how about those team names?! -Experts -Headliners -Loggerheads -Locals -Loonies -The Team Here's the teams we're riding with for October 9th: Uncle Johnny - Headliners Tommy NoPiks - Loonies Bt - Loggerheads See you all at Infinity Park Saturday for a ton of rugby action: 10am - USA Pathways Academy vs. 404 Academy (turf) Noon - Denver Barbarians vs. Denver Waterdogs (turf) 2:30pm - American Raptors vs. Seattle Rugby Club (stadium) 6:00pm - USA vs. Uruguay (stadium) PICKEM! Update on Tommy's Tik Tok Project .... "It will drop this weekend, for sure".
26 minutes | Sep 4, 2021
Carly Waters recently signed with Saracen's Women's in North London, and brings an exciting, tempo based skill set across the pond from her time playing in the states. She spent the last decade honing her skills here in the states, and has excelled through the ranks of Women's Rugby in the USA. Waters doesn't just do her job, she does it right and she raises the level of play around her. Both on and off the field, she continually coaches, mentors and most importantly backs her teammates. After grinding through a tough season commuting through America's most notorious turnpike (The New Jersey Turnpike), she got the call from Rob Cain and Kate Daley. and was invited to participate in a USA Eagle camp. She seized her opportunity, grinded through some brutal fitness and was eventually was selected for her first cap (above, against the Black Ferns, in Soldier Field).... in sheer shock she responded ..."Are You Sure?" 😂 After having the Women's Rugby World Cup in NZ pushed back an entire year, Carly has been chomping at the bit. It's hard to put your entire career / life / plans on hold for 12 months, but she's going to get an amazing opportunity with Saracens to refine her craft as we count down the days until the Women compete in Aotearoa later on in 2022. Carly's #Top3 Kate Daley - XV's Coach, Carly's coach at Penn State Bui Baravilala - Great teammate, uses creativity and field vision Meya Bizer - The Human Sledgehammer Rugby PickEm wishes Carly the best across the pond .... and guess who got named in the first lineup of the year?!?!?! She could make her debut tomorrow!
20 minutes | Aug 28, 2021
Rugby Rent Scholarships
Introducing Rugby Rent Scholarships. This was a long-time in the making, an idea that's resonating for years before finally being turned into a reality. Our Mission: Provide affordable housing to rugby players who want to grow on and off the pitch. We also believe in 4 Core Pillars: 1) Play Rugby 2) Develop Career Skills 3) Volunteer in the Community 4) Mentorship If you'd like to learn more about what we offer, please head to our website --> www.rugbyrentscholarships.com I hope you enjoy my first attempt at a solo podcast ... more exciting rugby content to follow this fall season. 2021 has been a wild ride, and I can not wait for what lies ahead.
28 minutes | Jul 30, 2021
MLR Finals Preview (ft. RATLer standout Jeremy Missile Misailegalu)
The MLR Final has arrived featuring the L.A. Giltinis hosting Rugby ATL at the Coliseum Sunday night on CBS (or "big" CBS, as the commissioner likes to refer to it as. When he's not chatting it up at the Hooch, he's volunteering in his community and spreading the game of rugby in Atlanta. We caught up with Rugby PickEm favorite Jeremy "Missile"🚀 Misailegalu who has held down the #14 jersey all season for Rugby ATL... 🚀🚀🚀 - Players spend their entire rugby careers trying to get to a Final. Will you have butterflies before kickoff in LA on Sunday? Yes. I often puke before games. It's almost a pre-game ritual at this point. - If your team is victorious, you'll be the first player in MLR history to hoist the shield with two different teams. What would that mean to you? It would be a huge honor. To accomplish that so early in my career would be special. - Your instagram stays fresh ... have you enjoyed building your personal brand throughout this successful season with Rugby ATL? I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Growing my personal brand along with growing the Rugby ATL team identity has been an amazing ride. - Lastly, what is your pregame meal and what song do you have in the earbuds on the way to the game? Well, they feed us before the game, so we don't really get to choose, but I keep it light (....because of the pregame butterflies). And if I'm listening to something pregame, it's coming from Lil Wayne's No Ceilings mixtape. PICKEM!
8 minutes | Jul 17, 2021
MLR Viral Moments
If you blink, the MLR season will pass you by. That's what the past month has felt like. Due to the pandemic, the league kicked off a bit later than usual this year, and the season has swelled well into the summer. With the final set for Sunday August 1st on big CBS, the teams will battle the heat in the final weeks of what has been a fantastic season. Some viral moments that happened since we last recorded... - LaRome White goes pick 6 (well, pick 7 under the posts...the old guard still hates the automatic conversions ... but we think it's a nice reward for a clean try) - Mikey Te'o and Ollie Thornton get cheeky for the camera - Broccoli Man takes the world by storm Will he make an appearance at Club 7's Nationals? What will his produce of choice be? All this and more in another Rugby PickEm! PICKEM!
37 minutes | Jul 17, 2021
100 Episodes ... and we're just warming up (ft. Devin Martling)
Apparently in the podcasting world, it is a requirement to celebrate oneself for reaching 100 episodes. Well here's a nice digital pat on the back to the Rugby PickEm crew for creating the content that the rugby world wanted (but certainly didn't need) since 2018. We have a special recording for Rugby PickEm's century mark as we go back in time 3 years to spring of 2018 when RP started. Devin Martling was a pivotal part to the early days (after all ... he is our 'producer'). We were experimenting with more long-form rugby bios, and Devin was happy to be our test case. He told us about growing up around club rugby (son of the legendary Lenny Martling), playing for the first time, and how his passion for the game still burns today. When we started Rugby PickEm, we thought we'd have some fun, cover the MLR, support the players and (most importantly) keep the self-proclaimed "MLR Pundits" in check. Little did we know that it would be so much more. 100 episodes in and we're just warming up 🔥 Thanks to Devin for waiting 3 years for this audio to get published! He becomes the first Rugby PickEm legacy interview, after our interview the legendary Lenny Martling (who turned out to be one of the best story tellers on the show). Thanks to all of the voicemail callers (720-259-8825), angry/outraged commenters, and the general rugby community for doing your part in bringing Rugby PickEm to 100 episodes! PICKEM!
10 minutes | Jun 25, 2021
State of the College Game
Tommy No Piks, Colton Strickler & Bt sit down and talk about the state of college rugby. ENJOY!
8 minutes | Jun 17, 2021
Olympic 7's in Tokyo
Have you ever waited for something for FOUR whole years, just to have it pushed back a FIFTH additional year? The average person has trouble keeping their focus for a week or a month ... but the core 7's squad that have been living and training in Chula Vista are locked in and ready for a Global stage. For the Olympic athletes who have waited this long to represent their countries, I applaud your patience. Both USA 7's teams will compete in Tokyo later this summer for what is hands down the highest honor in 7's rugby ... a gold medal. So can the team outperform their finish in Rio? The men competed in pool A, losing to Argentina in a heartbreaker to open the tourney. They pummeled Brazil in their 2nd game, and battled with Fiji in their final game just to fall short. Their +18 point differential was one short to New Zealand in Group C. They won their consolation match, but never got a shot at the knockouts. They will be hungry in Tokyo for a better result. The women faired much better. They lost to Fiji by a mere 5 points, then smashed Colombia and tied eventual gold medalists Australia to close out pool play. They made the quarter finals and lost to eventual silver medalists New Zealand. They have shown on the HSBC tour that they can win finals and do it with style. They will be looking to be on the medal stand when the tourney wraps on July 31st. No fans in the stands will certainly be .... strange? I imagine it's not hard to get hyped up if you know that millions are watching over a live broadcast, but I still think the empty stand will be a bit ... eerie. Either way, you can be sure the entire USA rugby community will be backing their 7's team to represent us on the medal stand. PICKEM!
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