MORGANTOWN, W. Va – Well it’s official, the WVURFC is moving to D1A East in the Fall! After getting off the phone with USA Rugby D1A Commissioner Kevin Battle yesterday evening the news was finally announced to the players last night at training. D1A East will see WVU play against some of the top ranked rugby programs in the country including Army, Penn State and Kutztown.
Division 1A is an elite collegiate rugby competition sanctioned and administered by USA Rugby and involves the top rugby programs in the country. The conference-based league features 38 elite men’s college rugby teams competing in six conferences: Allied Rugby, Big Ten, California, East, Mid-South, West, and two Independent team. The regular season sees all teams in the conference play one another, with the two top seeds qualifying for the playoffs. Playoffs are single elimination and the two unbeaten teams advance to the Division 1A final.
“This is a great occasion for our club and hopefully the start of yet another successful chapter in our program” comments Coach Glover, “It has taken a long time to get our program to be in a position to be invited to D1A and we intend to fully commit and work even harder to not only participate but compete against the best.”
WVU will move out of the D1AA Keystone Conference after this season’s Spring 7s season after having won back-to-back 15s titles in the Fall in 2013 and 2014. “The Keystone Conference has never been in a better place with great teams, coaches and players all looking to progress” reports Glover, “I personally owe a lot to Keystone Commissioner Bryan (Red) Hynes for all the hard work he has put in to the conference and the support he offers. Red and I have been speaking for a few weeks on our proposed move and I was delighted to hear of his support.”
A lot of hard work is ahead of the WVU rugby program as they continue to push a WVU sports administration that is slowly but surely beginning increase their support for the team. “We are very fortunate at WVU to have supportive administrative staff who are on board with making us even better to compete with the best. We enjoy a 3G turf rugby field that allows us to play in even the most difficult weather conditions which has certainly been a factor in our growth” states club president Joe Watson, “everyone is excited to be a part of this new move and we cannot wait to see our progress in the Fall.”
The move isn’t taken lightly though and everyone involved understands the challenging competition that lays ahead as Glover states, “We played Kutztown last Fall and it wasn’t a very flattering score line for us. Rugby East teams all have strong programs and we will face an uphill battle catching up with the likes of St Bonnaventure, Buffalo and Iona who joined last year and have already acclimatized the high level of rugby. It’s a challenge we are excited for and we will continue to build and improve to ensure we are ready in the Fall.”
A great future lies ahead for the rugby Mountaineers! Let’s Go!