Provo, UT—The Varsity Cup announced today that Central Washington University (CWU) has been selected to participate in the 2013 Varsity Cup National Collegiate Rugby Championship.
CWU comes into the Varsity Cup after the forced departure of the University of Utah following a recent administrative suspension of the Utah rugby program.
The Wildcats immediately join the Varsity Cup this postseason with an on-going participation commitment through the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
As an NCAA member institution Central Washington University is led by current head coach Tony Pacheco, who concurrently serves as the USA Rugby Collegiate All American 7’s head coach.
CWU boasts an 8-0 regular season record in 2012-13 and a #5 national ranking in the USA Rugby D1-A poll.
The Wildcats also field one of the country’s top 7’s squads with CWU being 2012 Collegiate 7’s Runners-Up and a spate of recent 7’s rugby tournaments victories over the last year, including an appearance in February’s acclaimed USA Sevens Las Vegas Invitational where CWU advanced to the Cup Championship only to fall to a strong University of Victoria 7’s team.
CWU’s Director of Rugby Bob Ford says the invitation to join the Varsity Cup Championship was an opportunity his program couldn’t afford to pass up.
“The competition structure is something that will provide consistency to our program,” Ford said,”And will provide our players with access to a high level of rugby on a regular basis. This is an opportunity we did not see on our immediate horizon and one that required careful consideration in a compressed timeline. We look forward to the competition the Varsity Cup provides and are excited about promoting the growth of rugby.”
The decision to invite the CWU Wildcats into the inaugural Varsity Cup came after timely but careful consideration with the participating Varsity Cup universities’ administrators and coaching staffs.
“We had significant interest from a number of programs,” said BYU’s David Smyth, “In the end, all of the Varsity Cup universities were unanimous that inviting Central Washington was the best course. We’re pleased to have a team of the caliber of the Wildcats join the Varsity Cup Championship.”
CWU will slot into the vacated #4 seed and meet the Air Force Academy in the Western Super-Regional hosted on the campus of UCLA.
Kick-off for the AFA vs. CWU match is set for 2pm PT on Saturday, April 20th. Meanwhile the hosts will take on 2012 National Collegiate Rugby Champion BYU in the Varsity Cup Western Super-Regional concluding match at 4pm.
The inclusion of CWU doesn’t affect the Eastern Super-Regional as 2011 National Collegiate Rugby Champion California takes on Notre Dame and Navy meets Dartmouth.
Both Eastern Super-Regional matches are also scheduled for April 20th and are set to be played at 1.30pm ET and 3.30pm ET respectively inside the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
ABOUT THE VARSITY CUP: The Varsity Cup is America’s top collegiate postseason championship. The mission of the Varsity Cup is to grow American rugby by harnessing the collective strength of collegiate rugby and collegiate sport in general. The Varsity Cup features eight of the most recognized and accomplished collegiate rugby programs in the country vying for the right to be named the Varsity Cup National Collegiate Champion.
The eight Varsity Cup teams are the U.S. Air Force Academy, Brigham Young University, the University of California, Dartmouth College, the U.S. Naval Academy, Notre Dame, the University of California, Los Angeles and Central Washington University. In the 33 years of the collegiate rugby championship play 31 of the collegiate national champions have come from one of the eight Varsity Cup teams. In total, a Varsity Cup program has played for the collegiate title in every year of the championship’s existence except for 1984.
The eight Varsity Cup programs also boast hundreds of Collegiate All Americans and scores of USA National Team members making the Varsity Cup a veritable proving ground of American rugby. With the country’s best high-performance training facilities, state of the art match venues and strong coaching experience, the eight Varsity Cup programs set the standard for elite player development in America.