14 Sep 2017

Mathew Brown – The Rugby Channel Column


It’s gonna be a great Fall on The Rugby Channel!

Today’s announcement of our LIVE broadcast schedule for the rest of 2017 is filled with outstanding rugby action that runs the gamut from the very highest levels of the international game to intense collegiate rivalries throughout the United States.

An annual subscription to The Rugby Channel - which costs less than a single dollar per week - will let you watch it all, either LIVE or at your convenience on Video On Demand.

Here is what you’ll get, beginning this weekend and all Fall long.

Over the next several months we’ll bring you College Rugby matches on a regular basis that you can’t see anywhere else, starting this Saturday with Harvard vs Brown and the Collegiate All-Americans vs Oxford University. Throughout October and November we’ll have matchups like Navy vs Air Force, Army vs Penn State, and Ohio State vs Wisconsin, plus the Big Ten Championships, and we’ll wrap it all up with the USA Rugby Fall Collegiate Championships.

At the International level, The Rugby Channel is loaded with content that you will definitely want to check out. On November 4th, it’s exclusive coverage of the Barbarians meeting the All Blacks at Twickenham, followed in successive weeks by England hosting Argentina, Australia, and Samoa at the same venue.

And of course we’ll have both of the USA Eagles November Tests as they face off against a much-improved Germany for the first time ever and then a week later a vital match against Georgia, a country that the USA is developing a healthy and entertaining Tier Two rivalry with.

There are also Women’s Premier League battles ahead featuring the Glendale Merlins, Berkeley, ORSU, and the San Diego Surfers, leading up to the WPL Championship weekend in early November.

Interspersed throughout all of this new programming, we’ll continue to deliver the Guinness PRO14, which has gotten off to a rousing start. If you missed any of the action from Round 2 of that competition or from the 10th Anniversary of Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado then give TRC Report #68 a look for complete highlights of all five matches on offer.

Or you can use our VOD capability to view each contest in its entirety, complete with guidance below as to what happened in every match.


Leinster’s home opener at the RDS finished up with a lopsided scoreline but the match itself was hard-fought throughout and only got away from the visitors after three quarters of it had been played. When reserve hooker Sean Cronin picked up a pilfered possession and ran it in from the halfway line untouched, that basically sealed it for Leinster and it was afterwards that the floodgates opened and they earned the tryscoring bonus point.

Cronin’s beautiful try was selected as this week’s TRC Try of the Week and fully deserved the honor!

Cardiff looked slower in the second forty as they fell off tackles and made mistakes that Leinster capitalized on with purpose. Leinster also seemed not quite at their best early but as the night progressed they began to round into the form that should once again have them considered to be one of the tournament favorites. Once they are back at full strength with all of their rested internationals starting, they will no doubt be properly formidable to all comers, especially at home.


After their Round 1 win in Cork, Munster had their Limerick opener against the Cheetahs and they didn’t disappoint. The Cheetahs managed to keep them somewhat in check in the first half, going into the break down only 22 – 6 after allowing three tries, two conversions and a penalty while kicking a couple of penalties themselves. At times the Cheetahs looked powerful and dangerous but still found it difficult to crack the Munster line with any regularity.

They started the second half like gangbusters with a rousing try from the opening kickoff but after that it was nearly all Munster as the hosts ran in five more tries before allowing a single consolation five pointer as time expired.

Munster is also not at full strength yet but they are looking like that won’t slow them down in the early rounds. Munster have started with two bonus point wins but have yet to play a team that could be considered a legitimate playoff contender. That will end in Round 3 when they travel to Wales to face last year’s semifinal opponent Ospreys in Swansea, a match that will be LIVE on The Rugby Channel.   


Ever since they started playing rugby at Infinity Park there has been a genuine rivalry between Glendale and Denver. The fact that the newly named Merlins were celebrating ten years of playing in the best rugby specific venue in the USA and the Barbarians were opening their 50th season as a club only added to the atmosphere.

The first half produced two converted tries apiece and it looked like this was going to be a cliffhanger but the Barbos were simply the better team in the second stanza and ran out clear winners with a whole bunch of their Old Boys in attendance.  


Even though the teams had different names, this was essentially a rematch of a May encounter in Canada that saw the Glendale side lose their only match in quite a while to the longtime provincial powerhouse. The Merlins were absolutely not happy with that loss and made it a point to come out focused and aggressive against the traveling Arrows.

Except for a couple of lapses in discipline the Merlins totally outplayed the visitors with hard-tackling defense, coordinated offense, and solid set pieces. This Merlins team is one of the most talented I’ve ever seen in Glendale and I’ve been covering them since the aughts. Will Magie, Shaun Davies, John Quill, and several others put in top quality performances that portend good things for the future of this outfit.

The next chance to see them do battle will be on September 23 on The Rugby Channel when they welcome Mystic River to Infinity Park.       


After opening their Women’s Premier League campaign with a road win over traditional power Berkeley I knew that the Merlins were obviously once again going to be an elite level side. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect out of Chicago as it had been awhile since I’d seen them play for the USA Rugby Division I championship and the step up to WPL level has not always been kind to newcomers.

What we got in RugbyTown USA was a fierce clash that featured huge amounts of aggression, physicality, and skill from both sides, a true pleasure to watch and one that I heartily recommend you check out.

Glendale won on the day but they had to rely on their full bench to do so as they lost some key performers early. Two tries from fullback Allison Hale proved to be the difference and both were well-constructed efforts that showed off Glendale’s superior ball-handling and teamwork.

The Merlins will play a friendly versus Lindenwood University on September 23rd and then will have a WPL encounter against ORSU on September 30th and both will be streamed LIVE on The Rugby Channel.

OSPREYS V MUNSTER – Saturday, September 16 at 10:15 AM ET

This is going to be a great early season test for both these teams to see which one is ready for the rigors of an extended season and which one is still working out the kinks.

Munster have already put their best foot forward with two bonus point wins against clubs that are unlikely to make the postseason, so they are off and running. Ospreys had a scrappy opening week win over Zebre at home then got hammered by Glasgow on the road, so they are still figuring it out.

Ospreys at times last season looked unbeatable but they also had long stretches of confusion and inconsistency. They had better hope for the former rather than the latter on Saturday when the men in red come to town. Don’t miss this one! 

USA CAA V OXFORD – Saturday, September 16 at 2:15 PM ET

The USA Rugby AIG Men’s Collegiate All-Americans will square off against Oxford University in an historic meeting at Talen Energy Stadium near Philadelphia and The Rugby Channel will deliver it to you LIVE!

The All-Americans will feature four capped Eagles 15s players and one from the World Sevens Series, adding some much-needed big match experience to the team because in general, the Oxford squad will be a bit older and more experienced.

This is your chance to watch some of the best young talent in American rugby on a big stage against quality opposition.


Now that you know what’s on the Fall schedule for The Rugby Channel, what are you waiting for to finally become a subscriber?

Subscribe Now and watch it all!