Article by Erik Geib, Men's Club Representative
With three weekends to play before the 2016 Frontier Conference Championships, the playoff picture for the Men's Division 2 and Men's Division 3 competitions is coming into focus.
MEN'S DIVISION 2
Following a 44-6 victory over the Denver Harlequins in Grand Junction, the Provo Steelers remain atop the standings in Men's D2 with 46 league points (PTS). Provo can clinch a spot in the playoffs with a single league point (PTS) in its final match versus Glendale on April 23. If Provo can secure 5 league points (PTS) in that match, it can assure itself the #1 seed in the playoffs and a trophy for being regular season champions.
Also in Grand Junction, the Glendale Raptors won a critical match over Park City Haggis, 32-29. The win puts the Raptors back into the thick of things, but it has two huge matches remaining - both against playoff contenders. If Glendale can win out, and deny Boulder a bonus point in doing so, it controls its own destiny.
The loss to Glendale puts Park City Haggis in a difficult position, but not an impossible one. The defending RMR D2 champions can still secure a playoff berth with a win over the Denver Harlequins and the right results in other matches. Park City's best-case scenario is a late-season collapse for Boulder and a Provo victory over Glendale. However, should Boulder and Park City finish tied - and the same number of wins - Park City also holds the tiebreaker over Boulder.
For Boulder, making the playoffs is a simpler equation: win out, and control its own destiny. Boulder doesn't need anyone else to lose as long as it keeps winning, and it still has a good shot at a playoff berth even if it stumbles once. Though Boulder cruised to a big victory over Colorado Springs last weekend (60-17), it has a huge match against the Raptors this coming weekend at Infinity Park South. A win there will virtually cripple the Raptors, and put Boulder only 5-6 points (PTS) away from the playoffs with two games to go. After this weekend, Boulder has an April 23 match with the Barbarians and a make-up match with the fifth-place Harlequins to play.
Despite sitting at 4-6 overall, the Denver Harlequins could play a major role as spoiler, with two matches to play against contenders. The Harlequins' record doesn't reflect their talent, and the Quins only have a -7 overall points differential (PD) for the year despite some struggles to close out wins.
Provo Steelers: 11 GP, 46 PTS | 4.18 PTS/GM | MAX: 51 PTS
Boulder Rugby: 9 GP, 35 PTS | 3.89 PTS/GM | MAX: 50 PTS
Glendale Raptors D2: 10 GP, 36 PTS | 3.60 PTS/GM | MAX: 46 PTS
Park City Haggis: 11 GP, 39 PTS | 3.55 PTS/GM | MAX: 44 PTS
Important games remaining (Men's D2):
April 16 - Glendale Raptors D2 vs. Boulder Rugby
April 23 - Provo Steelers vs. Glendale Raptors D2
April 23 - Park City Haggis vs. Denver Harlequins
April 23 - Boulder Rugby vs. Denver Barbarians
April 30* - Boulder Rugby vs. Denver Harlequins
*April 30 is the assumed make-up date. The match may take place any time between now and May 1, however.
MEN'S DIVISION 3
With Queen City's 85-12 victory over the Northside Marauders, City clinches a spot in the RMR Men's Division 3 Championship against their crosstown rivals, the Denver Highlanders. The Highlanders have already clinched the top seed and will host on either April 30 or May 1.
Both clubs still have matches to play against Littleton, but those matches will technically give each team 5 points according to league rules. Littleton's inability to field a team properly in the Fall means that though it can win on paper, and put points towards a Centennial Cup championship, it can't technically take points (PTS) away from either Queen City or the Highlanders in their final matches. The Glendale Raptors' third squad, despite a late run, is technically eliminated. The Raptors lost their opportunity over two consecutive weekends, losing first to the Highlanders 27-5 on March 19, and then Queen City 63-24 the following weekend (March 26).
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