The race for the final two spots is going to take another twist this week. Belmont Shore could be eliminated while SFGG and OMBAC will hope to avoid upsets ahead of their meeting next week.
Belmont Shore at Denver Barbarians (1:00 p.m. MT; Infinity Park; live on Infinity Park Match Player)
It’s do or die time for Belmont Shore once again. They received a finals lifeline with a win over Santa Monica last weekend but a combination of a result not going their way against the Barbarians or results for OMBAC or SFGG could see them officially eliminated from finals contention. The team is keeping much of the same core that has gotten them to this point, including Brice Schilling, Sam Lilley, and others.
The Barbarians will have more change with several of their key players missing to PRO Rugby. The likes of Max De Achaval, Michael Al-Jiboori, Logan Collins, and Bobby Impson are all away. For a team that relies on that core group it’s going to be tough to recover, especially knowing they can’t reach the final. However, they are at home.
SFGG Rhinos at Olympic Club (3:00 p.m. PT; Treasure Island; live on USARugbyTV.com)
A lot is on the line for the SFGG Rhinos as they enter the Bay Area derby against Olympic Club. SFGG still have a shot at making it to the final for the third year in a row but it will pretty much come down to their match against OMBAC next week. However, they can’t take Olympic Club lightly if they want to pick up all the points on offering. Make no mistake, Olympic Club have been competitive this year but will be missing Jake Anderson, Alec Gletzer, and Michael Haley all to PRO Rugby duty. That is going to hurt.
SFGG will have a strong line-up led once again by Tai Enosa. He has arguably been the most consistent player in the competition since its inception. Other players like Brendan Daly, although playing a new position this year, Mile Pulu, Neill Barrett, and others provide plenty of depth. Plus, SFGG can bring Pila Huihui off the bench.
Santa Monica at OMBAC (12:30 p.m. PT; Torero Stadium)
This match is being played as the curtain raiser before PRO Rugby makes its debut in San Diego. Like SFGG, OMBAC need a win to keep pace and set up their big meeting next week. Even more, OMBAC needs to continue to put down the bonus points in case something were to happen. All the signs point to that happening in this match. OMBAC have been able to score (second best in the league only to Glendale) while Santa Monica have easily had the worst defense. If you are a Santa Monica fan you have to be concerned at where things could be going in this match. OMBAC will be missing a few players to PRO Rugby but have shown the depth this year to stay hot without them.