landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
Saw this news on Twitter the other day. Apparently Sam McGuffie has been training with Tiger Rugby in Ohio in an attempt to convert to rugby (potentially for the Olympics, though he's likely much too late to make the squad for this year). He is currently listed as a reserve for the PRO Rugby Ohio team that is playing the San Francisco team right now (started at 6pm Eastern, will likely go until about 7:30 or so). The San Francisco team features Mils Muliaina, who played in 100 international matches for the legendary New Zealand All Blacks, so it should be an interesting match to watch.
PRO Rugby is the first professional rugby competition here in North America and is in the middle of their inaugural season. There are only 5 teams in this first season, with hopes to expand to ~10 for next year. Currently there are teams in San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Denver, and Ohio. Roughly half of the players are contracted full time while the others join the teams on a match by match basis.
It seems as though Sam will be joining the Ohio team (based in Obetz, just outside of Columbus) for tonight's match in hopes of getting some high quality match experience. The match is streaming live at the link below if you'd like to watch! Hopefully Sam will get some playing time towards the end of the match.
UPDATE: McGuffie only played the final 4 minutes (Ohio lost a relatively close match). He didn't get involved much in his limited time - only one opportunity for a tackle and didn't get an opportunity to carry the ball. You could tell he is very new to the game - looked like he wasn't sure where to be when the ball was away from him. He has mostly been training/playing 7s rugby - the Olympic version of the sport, which is a bit easier to learn/transition to - whereas this was 15s rugby. Hoping he'll get a few more opportunities to show what he's got moving forward.
It is Memorial Day Weekend and hopefully all or nearly all of you are enjoying some family and vacation time. Of note in the sporting world the Tigers got beaten like a rented mule, with two relievers giving up a combined 10 hits and 9 runs in 32 total pitches. You have to try to be that bad. Michigan baseball didn't fare so well either.
On a lighter note the girls softball team pulled out the victory 5-3.
Your beverage of choice this evening is...?
Your holiday plans this weekend include....?
Have a great, fun and safe weekend
Congratulations to Mason Ferlic, Michigan Track, on winning the NCAA east regional. Mason is the favorite to win at the NCAA nationals in Eugene in two weeks. After nationals he is off to the Olympic trials.
There is an interview with Mason at Flotrack.org.
After getting it wrong in the previous two manager selections I finally think Man U has got it right in hiring Jose Mourinho. One of the best managers in the world (not a has been or an up and comer) who has won everywhere he has gone.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes him to turn things around and whether he is given the time to do so if if doesn't happen over night. With Pep moving in next door it should add a lot to the derby over the next several years if either of them can stand to stay in one spot for more than a couple of years.
With the multitude of top notch managers moving in and the underdog puling off the impossible this year I'm very excited with what's going on in the EPL.
I usually think it's Skip Bayliss, but I heard Jason Whitlock on the radio today--claiming that Art Briles shouldn't be fired because "it's his job to stand up for the players--and now I think it might be Whitlock.
Stephen A. Smith is another "top-quality" candidate.
Who do you think is the absolute worst?
[Ed-S: We asked SBW to cover one of the best teams in Michigan sports history. Previously: Postseason primer]
All photos from Bryan Fuller
The Ann Arbor regional featured one of the more noteworthy upsets of the opening weekend of the NCAA softball tournament. Fortunately for Michigan, it didn’t happen to us. The Maize & Blue marched through the regional with relative ease, not quite hitting on all cylinders, but never seriously threatened either. Before looking ahead to the upcoming super-regional showdown with the Missouri Tigers, let’s take a quick look back at how Michigan became one of 16 teams in the nation lucky enough to go to practice this week.
The Wolverines started the weekend off against a Valparaiso team still trying to figure out just how they found their way into the tournament in the first place. With a record well below .500, the Horizon League tournament champions were one of the strangest sights in regional play in years. Michigan didn’t wait long to get on the board, with senior super-star Sierra Romero lining what’s known in Ann Arbor as a “Rom-Bomb” over the wall in the first inning. In addition to giving Michigan an early lead, the solo shot gave Romero her 300th career RBI. The Wolverines added a couple more in the 2nd, but were not able to fully solve Valpo’s pitching until the 5th inning, when all Hell broke loose. 5 singles earned Michigan 3 runs and brought about a pitching change. The change didn’t help, as the relief pitcher walked the next three batters on only 14 pitches to drive in the game-ending runs. Megan Betsa was majestic in the circle, ceding just one hit and one walk while piling up 9 Ks in the 8-0 run-rule walkover.
On Saturday, Michigan was expecting a tougher challenge, and they got one from an unexpected source. Instead of the presumptive challenger Notre Dame, the Maize & Blue had to square off against Miami (NTM), who had upset the Irish with a controversial 3-2 win on Friday. Betsa was again phenomenal, but the story of the early part of the game was Redhawks hurler Amber Logemann, who didn’t allow a hit until the 4th inning. In the 4th, though, Michigan showed a tendency familiar to anyone who watched the 2015 NCAA tournament. A good pitcher can get through Michigan’s order once, maybe twice. After that, though, the offense starts to lock in on tendencies & weaknesses, and the runs can come in bunches. 2 runs in the 4th led to 4 more in the 6th, and Michigan finally had the breathing room they wanted. Hutch took advantage of the extra cushion, resting ace Megan Betsa for the rest of the game. After a wobbly start put runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs, Driesenga retired the next 6 batters she faced on 6 consecutive ground-outs, securing a 6-0 win.
To no one’s surprise, the Irish shook off their Friday funk and emerged from the losers’ bracket to face Michigan in the regional final on Sunday. The Irish have seen their season end in Ann Arbor again and again in recent years, and would need to take 2 in a row from #2 Michigan to avoid the same fate in 2016. Sierra Romero sent a message early on that the “luck of the Irish” wasn’t going to apply in Ann Arbor, getting her money’s worth on her 300th career hit, launching a first-inning long ball for the 2nd time on the weekend (the blast was also good for her 299th career run scored, extending her own NCAA record). Another Sierra home run, this one from Sierra Lawrence, put Michigan up 2-0, but an unexpected blast from Irish lead-off hitter Karley Wester trimmed the lead back down to 1. Again it took a few innings for Michigan’s bats to acquire target-lock, but when the Irish gifted Romero 1st base on an error to start the 5th, the Wolverines were determined to take advantage. A bunt single & a walk loaded the bases, and singles from Aidan Falk and Lindsay Montemarano stretched the lead to 6-1. The Irish would get one back in the 6th, but never seriously threatened to catch up to the heavy favorites.
On the weekend, Michigan outscored their opponents a combined 20-2. On a historical note, Sierra Romero joined the extremely exclusive 300/300 club (hits & RBIs), and moved to just one run away from creating an entirely new 300/300/300 club (hits, RBIs, & runs-scored). For a team of Michigan’s caliber, the victories were expected, and celebrations were moderate compared to scenes around the country. The Wolverines will not be satisfied with anything less than a trip to Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series, and they know that just one team stands between them and that goal.
[Hit THE JUMP for a Super-regional preview]