Sean Common and the Brandon Barbarians play the Assassins in Winnipeg today. (FILE PHOTO)
It’s a crucial day for all three Brandon Barbarians rugby teams as they head to Winnipeg today to face the Assassins in the second-last weekend of regular-season action.
Brandon's Division 1 men’s team leads the Rugby Manitoba standings with a 10-3 record, and a win this weekend would ensure home-field advantage in the post-season.
Jon Fitzpatrick, head coach of the Barbarians Division 1 and 2 men’s teams and president of the club, said the Division 1 squad must dictate the play early against the 3-8-1 Assassins.
"They are a real physical team and they tend to push us around a little bit for no real reason," he said. "They seem to have a bit of an edge on us in the last couple of years. We’re 1-1 against them this season, and as long as we can get out and be physical to start with, we should be able to dictate the game play pretty easily."
The Barbarians Division 2 men’s team has a 4-7-1 record and a loss to the 9-2 Assassins would put their playoff chances in jeopardy.
"Our second division (team) is a little bit smaller and we tend to rely on our speed and pace a little more," Fitzpatrick said. "So if we can get a good clean ball on the breakdown and move it quickly, we should be competitive in the game."
The Barbarians women’s team also needs a win this weekend against the
9-2 Assassins as Brandon battles for a playoff spot. Last year, the Barbarians were the league champions, but they currently sit in fifth place at 6-5.
"The women’s Assassins team have dominated the play in the league this year, but our woman have given them the best game they've had this year," Fitzpatrick said. "Our girls are really excited for it."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 8, 2012