One of the grand rites of late winter in American rugby is the Fort Lauderdale Ruggerfest.
Scheduled for just before all the competitions get really serious, the Ruggerfest is a classic warm-weather option for teams looking to get some different competition in before, or in the middle of, league play.
This year, the top-level pickings are relatively slim, as only one club that can really be considered cold weather is in action. The Cincinnati Wolfhounds join the Tridents and Miami, both of Florida, and the Austin Blacks in the Premier Division.
"We need to find competition outside of Texas," said Austin Head Coach Lachlan Ferguson. "It's important for us to know what the bar is elsewhere. That's why we wanted to go to Fort Lauderdale."
The schedule has Austin taking on Cincinnati at 10am Saturday while the Tridents play Miami.
Three hours later, it's the Blacks v. Miami and Tridents v. Wolfhounds. Cincy then turns around to play Miami at 4pm and Austin plays the Tridents.
The top two teams play for the Premier Cup Sunday at 1:30.
In the men's club bracket, Boca, Blattner (from Minnesota), Master Gators and Cincinnati play off. Jacksonville, Fort Miami, Wisconsin and Atlanta populate a fairly competitive women's bracket, while five women's college teams: Miami, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Central Florida, and Southern Florida, are also entered.
The Ruggerfest also has a total of 13 teams in Over 45, Over 55, Boys HS and Girls HS brackets.
Fourty-four games will be played over two days on three fields at Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Fla. Games start at 8am.