Austin Huns rugby, turning pro, announce 2017 schedule

The Austin Huns, transitioning to professional rugby, announced Wednesday a 14-match schedule in 2017 for their newly formed Elite Team that begins Jan. 21 at the Dallas Harlequins.

The home opener on Saturday, Jan. 28, brings a marquee attraction, San Diego’s Old Mission Beach Athletic Club. That match will begin at 3:30 at Huns Field, 4107 Nixon Lane, in Southeast Austin.

OMBAC has won seven USA Rugby Sevens championships and eight USA Fifteens titles and groomed national team players like Todd Clever, the U.S. Eagles captain and a Huns investor.

The Huns will play teams from California, Colorado, Utah, Michigan and Louisiana in addition to Texas squads.

They will compete concurrently in the pro Major Rugby Championship and the amateur Red River Rugby Conference. The MRC is a four-team group with NOLA (New Orleans), Rugby Utah (Salt Lake City) and the Glendale (Col.) Raptors. The RRRC includes the Austin Blacks, Dallas Reds, Dallas Harlequins and Houston Athletic Rugby Club.

The semi-pro Austin Blacks have reached the Division I national finals two years in a row, losing narrowly each time. The Huns and Blacks will square off twice this season.

In an effort to turn pro, the Huns have invested to upgrade their staff and roster. They hired former South African junior national team coach Eugene Eloff to mold a roster beefed up by several international signings. The team also has an affiliation with noted French club Racing 92 of Paris.

“We will play an expansive, entertaining, try-scoring brand of rugby,” Eloff siad.

The Elite Team debuted in November with a 95-5 destruction of the United States Air Force XV Select Squad.

Huns home matches will include live music and food from Casa Chapala. The home field area is expansive, with picnic tables and playscapes for children.

Tickets can be purchased at Fans can follow the Huns on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@AustinHunsRugby).

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