Provo, UT—With less than 48 hours until the start of the Varsity Cup National Collegiate Rugby Championship excitement is building around America’s top collegiate postseason championship.
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.
In 2013 the Varsity Cup teams have boasted an overall record of 87-7 in collegiate play and three of the eight Varsity Cup teams finished as their respective conference champion—California (PAC), Dartmouth (Ivy League) and Navy (ACRL). UCLA was no slacker this season finishing as the outright runners-up in the PAC beating all the other PAC teams with the exception of PAC champ California.
Meanwhile, BYU, Air Force, CWU and Notre Dame played as “conference independents” but recorded a cumulative 36-4 record in 2013 against all collegiate division foes.
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.
The Varsity Cup programs’ appeal is wide reaching. The two most recent Collegiate National Championships attracted over 22,000 spectators to Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT (California—2011 & BYU—2012) with both championships being viewed live, on tape delay and on-demand on the ESPN family of networks.
University administrators and coaches alike are also anxious to get the Varsity Cup action started. Here’s what many of them are saying:
“As a campus community we are excited and proud to send our Cal rugby team to the Varsity Cup National Collegiate Championships. We are proud to compete with the elite college rugby programs on a national stage.”
-Solly Fulp, Deputy Director of Athletics/COO, University of California
“Navy is honored to be part of the inaugural Varsity Cup with so many great collegiate rugby programs. Throughout our athletics program, we pride ourselves on competing at the top level, and the Varsity Cup gives our Men’s Rugby program that opportunity. We’re excited to host the Eastern Super-Regional and support our team as they strive for the National Championship.”
-Robert Dunn, Associate Athletic Director, Naval Academy
“We are celebrating our 41st year of rugby at Central Washington University and we are excited about the direction of our program. The Varsity Cup National Collegiate Rugby Championship provides an excellent opportunity for us to compete with the nations top rugby institutions.”
- James L. Gaudino, President, Central Washington University
“We are delighted to be participating in the Varsity Cup, the Premier National Collegiate Rugby Championship in the country, and are very pleased to be hosting such esteemed rugby programs on our campus. The performance of the participating teams this past season is a testament to the strength of the Varsity Cup field, one deserving of National Championship accolades.”
-Scott Stewart, Head Coach, UCLA Men’s Rugby
“It is a huge honor and privilege for The University of Notre Dame to be playing Cal in the VC this weekend. It is a brilliant opportunity for our Rugby Program to play against one of the best and most storied programs and our players are thrilled to be playing in American Rugby’s National Collegiate Rugby Championship”
-Sean O’Leary, Head Coach, University of Notre Dame Men’s Rugby
“Dartmouth is very excited about our participation in the Varsity Cup. Competing in this premier collegiate tournament is the pinnacle of our 15’s season. We know we need to be at the top of our game to contend against Navy on Saturday.”
-Gavin Hickie, Head Coach, Dartmouth College Men’s Rugby
“I think the Varsity Cup National Collegiate Championship is something that every fan in college rugby has their eye on. If you look at the teams across the board with BYU, Cal, Air Force have all won titles and you’d be hard pressed to find programs that have consistently competed at a level as high as Navy, Dartmouth, UCLA, Notre Dame and Central Washington. Man, our guys are excited to be part of it. Our whole team will be anxiously watching the event itching for a shot next year. At the University of Texas just participating doesn’t cut it. Our Administration, alumni and supports expect us to win at the absolute highest level and this is the prize everyone has set their sites on. It’s a tremendous thing.”
-Chris Hopps, Head Coach, University of Texas Men’s Rugby
With the level of interest growing daily from the fans, players, coaches coupled with the foundation of the Varsity Cup based on solid coaches, high performance development environments, development of top-level rugby talent and an historic record of entertaining and championship rugby there’s a reason the Varsity Cup is known as “American Rugby’s National Collegiate Championship.”