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Friday, April 22, 2022

Denver Barbarians vs. American Raptors - A Local Darby

 

This Local Rivalry goes back to 2007 when the Glendale Stadium was Constructed


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.

Elite Cup (2012)

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!

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Three Screens Are Better Than One - MLR Update

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):

Friday, February 4, 2022

MLR 2022 - The 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

Friday, January 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.

Crossover Athlete is an Understatement

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.

The Cactus and the Jolly Black Giant

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 !


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