The local rugby tournament is nearing its conclusion and a lot is still left undecided.
The 23 week Alex Alexander Memorial league Championship is nearing its 14th week of play. In spite of dominating performances from some of the sides, the chase for the AA Cup title and Waterford Knockout Shield crystal is still wide open.
The standings show the competition has teams that are fighting to the end.
The DHL Storm has the inside track on the AA Cup title as they boast four wins and a league-leading 21 points. Close behind are the BPC Buccaneers who also have four wins and 19 points.
Meanwhile Don Fosters Dive Iguanas are lurking in the background. They have three wins and 16 points. Also Cayman Surge and Queensgate Pigs Trotters are looking to gear up for a late-season push as they have a win each and seven and six points respectively.
Technical Director Richard Adams feels that though the standings are tight the Storm will be the team to beat.
‘Storm is looking strong. They had a big game against the Buccaneers where they could have put the title out of reach.
‘Nevertheless, Storm has the inside track on being the regular season champions. A couple wins and some bonus points and it will be near impossible for anyone else to get them.’
On the other hand, Adams said that when it comes time for the playoffs of the league, records have no bearing on who will win.
‘In the Waterford [playoffs], teams are unpredictable because they can go on runs. Iguanas and Pig Trotters are dangerous sides.
‘Pigs have had injuries to most players in the first half of the season but players are recovering and rejoining the team. Iguanas are an experienced side that know how to win.’
Last year’s AA tournament proved Adams’ point. In spite of finishing third in the league, Pigs won the Waterford shield. They beat out Iguanas and Storm who were the front runners of the league.
For most teams this season, the Achilles heel so far has been injuries. Most have been minor in the form of bumps and bruises.
In spite of the rise in personal injuries, Adams says there is a positive. He says it shows local rugby has gone to a new level.
‘For me, injuries show the standard of rugby has risen. Preparation is carried on through a longer season and more international games. The wear on the players is hard as they increase in size, skill and their standard of play. Luckily, all the injuries have been small with bruises, sore muscles, sprains and so on.’