The Austin Huns, moving up into Major League Rugby in 2018, first have some business to attend to on the semipro level. They will compete in the national club tournament this weekend in Tucson, Ariz.
Austin will meet San Francisco Golden Gate in a men’s Division I quarterfinal Saturday at 6 p.m. The survivor will advance to a Sunday semifinal at 4:30 p.m. against the winner of Belmont Shore (Long Beach, Calif.) vs. Life West RFC (Hayward, Calif.).
The national championships will be June 3-4 in the Denver suburb of Glendale, Colo.
The Huns won the Red River Rugby Conference, losing only one Division I match and earning a bye in the round of 16 in Arizona. They are the top-ranked club in Texas and won a recent match 95-8 over Houston Area Rugby Club.
Golden Gate, however, is considered the favorite. The Bay Area club has played in tournament finals each of the past four years, winning three of them. Last week Golden Gate won the Pacific North title with a 90-0 romp over Oregon Rugby.
The Huns have never been to the Division I quarterfinals, but they have invested heavily in this year’s team in a transition to the pro game under South African coach Eugene Eloff.
Watch party: Austin fans can view Saturday’s game at Green Light Social, 720 W. Sixth St. The match also will be livetreaming via http://therugbychannel.tv/.
—Kevin Lyttle, American-Statesman staff