The Southwest Rugby Conference (SWC) will not seek a bid into the USA Collegiate Rugby 15s Championships in 2014. By unanimous vote of its Member Clubs, it was decided that an alternate competition for post-season play would be pursued. The SWC has agreed in principle with the Allied Rugby Conference (ARC) and the Lonestar Rugby Conference (LRC) to participate in a four to six week, cross-conference championship competition (Texas Cup) that will take place during the month of April 2014, which will culminate in crowning the Texas Collegiate Champion.
This decision is based upon many factors, but primary has been USA Rugby's unwillingness to include all of Collegiate Rugby Conferences and Clubs in their prioritization of championship qualification, as well as the inequitable assignment of travel by USA Rugby as a direct consequence in recent years. Many other factors have directly contributed to this decision as well, but all are directly associated with USA Rugby's recent policies regarding the required formation of Collegiate Conferences and their subsequent unwillingness to provide any assistance to conferences, such as the SWC who wish to enforce the commitments made by their members.
USA Rugby allows clubs to transfer conferences without cause, even if in violation of their agreement(s)/commitment(s) and even if not in good standing with the Conference. This is allowed by USA Rugby even when such movement would penalize the remaining Clubs who are in full compliance. These policies and decisions are direct contradictions to the published rules for such. All of this, along with USA Rugby's "hands off" approach to assisting and/or administrating Collegiate Rugby Conferences has resulted in a situation that places SWC members in a position to consider such a drastic move, but one that that is seen by SWC Member Clubs as clearly in their best interest for the 2013-14 competitive cycle.
With this decision, the SWC is now able to direct its full attention and resources to the Texas Cup that will allow it to maintain the same high-level of competition within the conference and create added competition from the Allied and Lonestar Conferences, thus maintaining old rivalries and creating new rivalries within the State of Texas and including the University of Oklahoma.
SWC Members will continue to be USA Rugby members and comply with USA Rugby rules, policies and standards. SWC members will evaluate their goals and desires at the close of the 2014 Spring Semester. Hopefully, many of these issues will have been resolved and would allow SWC to again seek a USA Rugby 15s National Championship in the near future.
The New York Athletic Club will present the first of what they hope is an annual College Player of the Year award in an awards ceremony this summer.
The award will be called the Sean Lugano Award, named after the All American rugby player who played for the NYAC and died during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The award itself parallels that other college player of the year award - football's Heisman Trophy.
This is the first year of such an award, and it will be presented during an awards dinner, with the hope that it will be presented at such an event every year. This year's award will be presented to University of California captain Seamus Kelly. Kelly was a standout player for Xavier HS in New York, and has been an integral part of Cal's fortunes throughout the past four years.
Kelly led Cal to the Varsity Cup final, where he scored the game-trying try before BYU kicked the game-winning drop goal. Kelly also captained Cal to a CRC win June 2, and was named tournament MVP. His play also earned his his first USA cap in May, and his first USA start June 8 against Ireland.
The date for the awards dinner has not been set, but should be this summer.
For more on Sean Lugano and the impact he has had as a rugby player, teammate and family member, and on the impact his legacy has had through charitable work, go to:
Edina topped Southside 17-10 in the Boy’s High School State Championship to earn its second consecutive state title.
Losing 13 starters to graduation, the Edina coaching staff did not expect to win back-to-back state titles. Coach Chris Babiash described this year’s squad as an “odd group of guys.” The 2012 squad featured a talented, experienced group of rugby players that was expected to win the State Title. However, in 2013 it took a lot of juggling and lineup alterations to figure out the best combination.
After a 3 and 1 conference finish, Edina edged out both Hopkins and Southside for the conference title by amassing more bonus points.
Minnesota High School Rugby is divided into four conferences, with the top two teams earning a birth in the state tournament. However, both finalists came out of the Boys Varsity Central Conference. Both Edina and Southside easily handled their Eastern conference opponents in the quarterfinals and defeated their semi-final opponents to set up an all Central Conference final.
In their first matchup, Edina edged Southside 29-26. The final proved to be a much different contest because of a new look Edina Squad. Coach Babiash indicated that the second contest displayed a “revamped squad from their first matchup.” Edina lost their starting flyhalf early in the season and saw two first year players make a strong impact by the end of the season. Babiash praised Gabe Johnson and Kevin Coats for their quick adaptation to Edina Rugby and mid-season rise from the JV level to become impact Varsity players.
Edina learned from its first meeting with Southside by altering its game plan and making some key adjustments. Babiash stated that “Southside is a well coached team and has one of the best group of high school forwards I have ever seen.” In the first matchup, Edina struggled to identify numbers in the maul and were pushed sixty or seven meters. In attempt to neutralize Southside’s forwards, “we knew we could kick on them. I was happy to play the field position game and tire out their strong pack.”
Edina saved its best performance for the Championship. “The boys really started to trust the coaching staff and understand the game plan.” Other than a few well-placed kicks, Edina dominated the game and “starved Southside of possession.”
2013 marks, the two time-defending champs, 16th anniversary of the clubs foundation. The Edina Boys Rugby Club has taken the rugby community by storm as 5 players have been invited to the USA Eagles National team camp since 2011.
Coach Babiash believes that the programs success is a byproduct of the relationship between the program and the athletic department. Babaish indicated his dismay for the word club and believes that many programs are stuck in the 1980’s rugby mentality. “The program dedicated over 47 hours of outreach to promote the team and is more than just a social option for the athletes.” Clearly, Edina’s commitment to serious rugby has resulted in its recent success.
With a talented squad of over sixty athletes that are committed to improving their skills, it is not surprising that the Edina Boys Rugby Club has won two consecutive Minnesota State titles.
The Midwest men's club 7s series starts this coming weekend with the Minnesota 7s.
This is the first of five Midwest Series tournaments, with standings points determining which teams make it to the national championships.
This is a highly competitive pool of nine teams, with Chicago Lions and YoungBloodz being programs that have high aspirations every year. In addition, the 1823 team is connected to the Tiger Olympic Development program in Columbus, Ohio, and billed as the Tiger Cubs, will be formidable, also. Meanwhile the Chicago Griffins, Wisconsin club, and Milwaukee have all won tournaments or made the national championships in the recent past.
Pool A Western Michigan U. (Kalamazoo) Chicago Lions YoungBloodz
Pool B Wisconsin RFC Woodbury Wolfpack Chicago Griffins
Pool C Chicago Rhino 1823/Tiger Cubs Milwaukee Barbarians
Forbes Magazine's Larry Olmsted finds out how great 7s is, and talks about the USA 7s (last weekend in January 2014) and how much fun the sport is, and how much fun the fans are.Great article, and one all rugby fans should show to their non-rugby friends.http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2013... Read more...
Somehow Matt McCarthy convinced Alex Goff to appear on Rugby Wrapup. The video web show cornered Goff in Philadelphia and actually forced him to offer an opinion or two!RUGBYMag.com's Editor-in-Chief puts forth on college 7s, Alex Magleby, prospective replacements, and more.Click here to see the vid... Read more...
A new rugby game is coming down the pike this summer, Rugby Challenge 2: The Lions Tour Edition. The game is a sequel to Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge released in 2011 in conjunction with the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The new game, set for a June 13 worldwide release for the PlayStation3 and Xbox 360 platf... Read more...
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