After all 3 of the Austin Blacks divisional sides made the National Playoffs the Division 1 and 3 sides advance and will play in their respective National Championship Matches!
After just missing out last year, the Austin Blacks D1 have qualified for a shot at the National Championship. It was another close match, but this time they were able to outlast a much improved Life West Gladiators side to make it through. It was a dream start to the Blacks who got out to 7-0 lead in the opening 5 minutes.
However, thing stalled and Life West took advantage leveling the scores with just over ten remaining in the first half. The final ten minutes of the opening stanza were pivotal to the match, as Austin ran in 12 unanswered points before the end of the half. After 40 minutes Austin held a 19-7 lead over the Gladiators. Life West looked to have clawed back into the match, with a Tim Stanfill only three minutes into the second half.
The Blacks responded and took momentum away again. It was another 10 minutes before the next points were scored, but they were crucial for Life West, as they brought the game back to a 24-21 scoreline. That’s as close as the Gladiators would get though, as Austin slotted a penalty in the 79th minute to secure victory. They will face the Life Running Eagles.
The Austin Blacks D3 will look to defend their crown as the National Champions, after qualifying for the National Championship, with a big win over Kern County Rugby.
The Blacks were a class above the Queen City Rams on Day one winning 48-15. Kern County played a tighter affair with Napa Valley but made it through, 27-19. It was clear from the beginning of the weekend that Austin was a team hungry to repeat and it became clear early in their championship game the hunger hadn’t subsided after their first win. In the space of 27 minutes, the Blacks D3 had already established a 22-0 lead. A try and a conversion just before the half saw their lead extend to 29-0 heading into the sheds.
The second half saw Kern County attempt to make it back into the match, but it was too much to overcome as Austin did not go away and continued to press towards their hopes of repeating as national champions. When the full time whistle was blown, Austin was ahead 41-12. In a complete team performance their six tries were scored by six different players. They will face the Grand Rapids Gazelles.