Photo Ron Raff
BOULDER, Colo. – D1A Rugby’s East Conference will have two programs join its competition beginning fall of 2014. Iona College and St. Bonaventure University, both formally of the Empire Rugby Conference, have accepted their invitations to the east coast’s most competitive brand of college rugby.
Former New York Athletic Club coach and Iona’s new Head Coach Bruce McLane understands the rigors of moving from DI-AA to D1A, but the team is thrilled with the opportunity.
“It’s an obvious step up in the standard of play,” said McLane. “We’re going to have to prepare, recruit and behave differently than we have in the past, but the players are really excited for the challenge.”
The St. Bonaventure rugby team has been a consistent power in the western New York area for several years, and the Bonnies’ head coach, Clarence Picard, considers the move to D1A an accomplishment for his players who have invested a lot of time and hard work into the program.
“It’s our goal to provide the most awarding experience for the students and make the best investment for the University, alumni and parents,” said Picard. “We thought the opportunity to play the great programs of Rugby East would be the best experience for our guys.”
The East Conference is currently made up of perennial contenders Army, Penn State and Kutztown, as well as an up-and-coming program in Wheeling Jesuit.