03 May 2017

Mathew Brown – The Rugby Channel Column


When you subscribe to The Rugby Channel on an annual basis it costs less than a single dollar per week. When you consider that over the course of a calendar year we deliver the entire Six Nations, the Guinness Pro12, every Eagles Test, all of England’s home internationals, the complete Women’s Sevens Series, the Greene King IPA Championship, and a huge amount of USA Rugby club and college action, that’s an incredible bargain.

If you break it down on a weekly basis the deal gets even better.

Last week, for example, The Rugby Channel brought you three crucial GP12 fixtures, the first two GKIPA semifinals, the British Army vs Royal Navy match from Twickenham, and four NSCRO Finals matches from Rugbytown USA. That’s ten LIVE matches in three days, which works out to just under a dime apiece. Amazing, right?

Well, if you think that’s a bargain get ready to be even further impressed by what’s on offer this weekend.

Beginning on Friday, The Rugby Channel will show you a total of thirteen outstanding contests that you won’t want to miss. You’ll get both semifinals and the final for Women’s Collegiate Division 1 and Elite, Finals in Women’s Division II, Men’s Division 1AA and 1A, plus the second semifinal legs of the GKIPA Championship and two fixtures from the last regular season round of the GP12.

That means each game will run you about 7 cents. That is correct, for a nickel and two pennies apiece you can watch five college teams earn National Championships, two GKIPA teams clinch spots in the Final, and three GP12 title contenders lock in their positions on the table and generate momentum heading into the postseason.

And that doesn’t even take in to consideration our weekly episodes of World Rugby TV, Toyota Grassroots Rugby, and the TRC Report!

So, if for some unknown reason you’ve been procrastinating about becoming a subscriber, now is the time to make it happen and immerse yourself in a glorious rugby weekend!

And if you want a sample of our wares, check out this week’s TRC Report #49 for highlights from our stellar programming. I especially encourage you to watch The Rugby Channel’s Try of the Week, a truly unique five pointer scored by Claremont’s Erik Anderson in their Saturday NSCRO semifinal versus Xavier.

Or you can click on the links below and enjoy each match in its entirety! Either way, prepare to enjoy!


This match had a little bit of everything. Leinster got out to an early lead, Glasgow fought back in the second half, the teams combined for seven tries, there were multiple lead changes, and the stadium went completely dark with a minute and a half to play with the outcome very much in doubt.

Glasgow was barely alive before the match and eliminated afterwards while Leinster put themselves in good position to secure top spot on the ladder. Leinster has been judiciously resting many of their starters and will definitely be ready to go come playoff time.


This was a highly satisfying and necessary win for Ospreys and a terribly disappointing and crushing loss for Ulster. Ospreys finally got back on track in Swansea and played the kind of defense against Ulster that they had displayed so often earlier in the campaign.  

Ulster never really looked like winning, always seeming to come up just short of the line or committing errors at exactly the wrong moment. Ulster is still mathematically playoff eligible but realistically next week’s clash with Leinster is going to end their season no matter the outcome. 


Connacht’s dream of repeating as champions ended many rounds ago but Scarlets hopes of winning their first title since 2003-4 are alive and well. Saturday in Galway it was apparent that this was a mismatch as the blue-clad Scarlets ran in quality tries at will while Connacht struggled to find any semblance of the form that saw them lift the trophy last year.

Scarlets’ victory clinched a playoff berth but they’ll have to wait until Round 22 is in the books before they know who their semifinal opponent will be. Whoever it is will need to be wary as Scarlets are playing some of the best rugby in the competition at the moment.


Yorkshire started and finished strong in the first leg on the road but their play in the second half when Ealing mounted a spirited fightback will give them some concern ahead of this weekend’s battle at Headingly.

Trailfinders proved that their forwards can match up well against Yorkshire’s pack but they will need to shore up their backline tackling if they hope to threaten the 18 point deficit on Saturday.


London Irish are on a mission to return to the Premiership and Doncaster proved to be barely a speed bump in their path to promotion. This match highlighted their differences in resources and talent, as well as the cultural divide between glad to be back in the playoffs Knights and the nothing but victory is acceptable Irish.

There are some exciting players in the London Irish lineup and they more than took their chances on Sunday.


As anticipated, this was a true spectacle. Twickenham was full and every bit, if not more enthusiastic than when the Men in White play there. The Army proved to be too strong and have too much high-level experience for the Navy to deal with effectively for eighty minutes but that didn’t stop Navy from playing hard and with heart throughout.

At a time when the Army-Navy American football match has diminished somewhat in popularity in recent years it was good to see how big an occasion this match still is in Britain.  

MUNSTER V CONNACHT – Saturday, May 6 at 12:15 PM ET

Munster can still overtake Leinster to finish top of the log but in order to do so they are going to have to beat Connacht and also get some help from Ulster. The first part seems a lot more likely than the second.

In their first meeting back in Round 12 it was a close match that Munster was able to win 16-9 thanks to some quality work from their forwards in wet conditions. They’ll need more of that forward effort at Thomond Park to overcome a depleted but still prideful group from Galway.

SCARLETS V OSPREYS – Saturday, May 6 at 12:15 PM ET

There is a lot at stake in this all Welsh affair. The result will determine who gets to play Leinster and who will meet Munster in the semifinals. Since both matches will be on the road no matter what happens, I’m guessing that neither side will be too bothered by their eventual opponent, they both just want to finish with a big performance to get the Irish sides thinking about what’s in front of them.

In Round 11 Ospreys beat Scarlets 19 - 9 at the Liberty Stadium in a match that was definitely defensively dominated.

Scarlets are the hotter team right now but Ospreys are more talented and used to the added pressure that comes with the postseason atmosphere sure to be in evidence at Parc Y Scarlets. I’ll be watching this one LIVE and enjoying it immensely I’m sure! 

LONDON IRISH V DONCASTER – Friday, May 5 at 2:45 PM ET

The Exiles could switch to cruise control in this fixture and still make it to the Final but I seriously doubt that’s going to happen. Instead they’ll keep creating opportunities, continue to do the basics well, and get one step closer to their ultimate goal, a 2017-18 place at the next level.

YORKSHIRE V EALING – Saturday, May 6 at 8:15 AM ET

This will be the better of the two semis because Yorkshire didn’t look overwhelmingly good last time out and Ealing showed that they are capable of playing competitive rugby if they don’t spot the opposition too big a lead.


For the fifth straight year St. Mary’s College Gaels will battle it out with the Life University Running Eagles to see which one is crowned National Champion in college rugby’s highest level of competition.

Life won in 2013, St. Mary’s took the next two titles in 2014 and 2015, and Life was again triumphant in 2016. All four championship finals were close with the average margin of victory less than a converted try.

For the second year in a row the venue will be Saint Mary’s Stadium in Moraga, California which would seem to be a big advantage to the Gaels but it didn’t work out that way last year as the Running Eagles were victorious.

Both sides are in top form, coming off perfect regular season campaigns in their respective conferences and strong performances in the playoffs.

This match alone is well worth the price of a subscription!


It really doesn’t get any better than this weekend, so don’t miss out, Subscribe Now!