This Saturday a new USARL Champion will be crowned, and the Boston 13s and the Atlanta Rhinos have earned their chance to be there.
By Julian Clarkstone
After the conclusion of the regular season, the teams were atop the Northeast and South Divisions respectively, setting up a mouth-watering clash for fans this weekend.
In the Conference Final last week, Boston defeated the Philadelphia Fight by 20 points to 12 to progress through to the Championship Final. Dustin Cooper, Ryan Forgione and Kiwa Oakes all scored tries for Boston in the clash. Three short years ago, Boston was in the similar situation of playing in the 2012 Championship Final, yet they came up short by one try to the Jacksonville Axemen.
Eight players are still in Boston’s team from 2012, being Cooper, Marcos Flegmann, Greg Richer, Craig MacKenzie, Trevor MacKenzie, Carl Harrison, Chris Carter and Patrick Canty. These players have discussed the 2012 loss and Coach Robin Peers believes his side can rectify this to give them every chance against Atlanta.
“Last time we didn’t put in the required effort throughout the week and just got beat by one try. This time we’ll be leaving no stone unturned and will be adding practices, but we’ll taper as the game gets closer so we hit the game at the peak of our conditioning,” Peers said.
The defensive efforts from Boston last weekend has given the team added confidence. They let in just 12 points against a side who put 60 points past the Northern Virginia Eagles the week prior in the North Division Finals.
“Our defense was key to the win and our season. We had the best defensive record in the whole USARL regular season and last week we fronted up in the middle and our slide defense worked very well,” Peers added.
Boston have been building as a team over the past few years, and recruited and retained key personnel since the 2012 season. The combinations have been developing since then, and may be the factor that gives them an advantage on Saturday in Jacksonville.