Denver Barbarians vs. SFGG (1:00 p.m. MT, Infinity Park, live stream here)
With a win this week San Francisco Golden Gate can take over first place in the standings, albeit having played one more game than resting Glendale. That’s a place they haven’t found themselves since early on in the season and would also put them firmly in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot with only a few weeks to go in the season. SFGG has been playing terrific rugby lately after a few shaky results, as evidenced by their win over Glendale last week. One of those shakier results early in the season was to Denver all the way back in week two where SFGG only prevailed by two points. That said, SFGG should be the favorites in this match but they will have to go on the road to Colorado once again.
Denver enter the match with their playoff hopes on the line. They still have a game in hand over OMBAC but they are really chasing both SFGG and Belmont Shore for the final spot. With only four weeks left in their season after this weekend they can’t afford to pick up that fourth loss. Even with their current three losses they will need help to make the playoffs but can do themselves a huge favor with a win over SFGG. The Barbarians are a team that matches up well with SFGG, especially in the backs where the Barbarians have Ata Malifa, Max De Achaval, and Elliot Dillon-Herzog all playing fantastic rugby. Plus, the Barbarians have been a strong home team this year.
Belmont Shore vs. OMBAC (3:00 p.m. PT, Cal State-Long Beach)
Not only is this a rivalry amongst solid SoCal teams but this match has huge implications for a playoff spot. OMBAC sit at on four wins and four losses and if they pick up their fifth loss it’s all over for them. They may still be mathematically alive for a week or two but for all intents and purposes they would need a massive amount of help from elsewhere. Once again the team will be missing Todd Clever but this week they will also be missing Will Holder. The OTC player had a hat-trick last week for the club as they beat Olympic Club and his scoring punch will be missed. OMBAC will be upset about their late loss to Belmont Shore back in week two and will look to gain revenge this week.
After a bye last week Belmont have the chance to make the playoff chase a three team affair with themselves, SFGG, and Glendale with a win. Belmont sit in a good position with only two losses on the year but need to pick up more full point victories. Peter Dahl has been a steadying presence for them since re-joining the team while Mike Te’o and Peter Sio have been fantastic as always. Jack Tracy has also played well for the club this year. If Belmont isn’t able to pick up the win and SFGG wins, they will be in a big uphill battle the rest of the way with their regular season finale against SFGG looming large.
Santa Monica vs. Olympic Club (3:00 p.m. PT, Daniel Webster Middle School)
Even though both Santa Monica and Olympic Club are out of the playoff hunt they are two teams in desperate need of a win. Santa Monica had a great start to the season losing a close match to Belmont and then beating Olympic Club and Denver to go 2-1. They even had a draw with SFGG a few weeks later. However, their defensive issues have come to roost once again, including last week against Denver. They can triple last year’s win total and help put a positive spin on the season with a result.
For Olympic Club it’s about getting any sort of result. They’ve earned five losing bonus points on the year showing that they can score but they will settle for anything else in the standings. The Bay Area side hasn’t played poorly this year but have struggled recently. They have missed the play of Colin Hawley and need to improve their depth across the pitch. For them, preparation for next season begins now.