WHEELING, W. Va. – Wheeling Jesuit and 16th-ranked Notre Dame announced today the formation of a new annual rugby competition between the two schools dubbed “The Catholic Cup”. The first Catholic Cup match will be held Saturday, April 6th on the Notre Dame Campus in South Bend, Indiana.
The Catholic Cup will be an annual event between the two like-minded institutions that hold high standards both in the classroom and on the rugby field. In addition to traditionally excellent Catholic education, both rugby teams take a high performance approach to the game of rugby, and have aspirations to develop the top programs in the country.
“We’re excited to partner with Notre Dame and form the Catholic Cup.” Said Wheeling Jesuit Head Coach Eric Jerpe. “It’s a great opportunity to promote the sport of rugby at our schools, and in our local Catholic communities. There is a natural rivalry there, and people are always excited when the Fighting Irish are on the schedule.”
“Eric & I knew that this was a fabulous opportunity for like minded Universities to create an event, ‘The Catholic Cup’, that promotes our great game,” said Notre Dame coach Sean O’Leary.
“We played Wheeling Jesuit in 7s in the fall and know that this will be a highly competitive game. We are delighted to host Wheeling Jesuit and their supporters this weekend. I think it’s brilliant they’re coming to visit South Bend.”
Notre Dame edged the Cardinals in the fall 7s match, 12-7. Rugby was also played at Wheeling Jesuit from the mid 60’s to the mid 90’s as a club sport. During those years, WJU and Notre Dame faced each other many times. The Catholic Cup will be a resurgence of that competitive history.
Wheeling Jesuit comes into the match with a 9-2-1 record in their first season as a varsity sport. The Cardinals will field a largely freshman team against the Fighting Irish. Coach Jerpe adds the competition against a quality side will help mature the Cardinals quickly.
“This match will raise the bar, competitively speaking, for our young team. We hope to become one of the premier programs in the country, and a match against quality opposition like Notre Dame will be a big step in the right direction.”
In conjunction with the event, the Wheeling Jesuit Alumni Department will be hosting a post-game alumni party at O’Rourkes’ Public House immediately following the match. For more information on the alumni gathering, visit www.wju.edu/alumni.