Thursday, May 22, 2014

Chester has become the Rugby epicenter

4th Annual Collegiate Rugby Championships at PPL Park May 31st to June 1st

The first time I saw Rugby Sevens at PPL Park I was hooked. The game reminded me of how we played football in the Chester streets and back alleys as kids. 

One of the first observations I had while watching the college teams play was how few black players were involved and how rugby seemed like a game blacks would be very successful playing.

Today’s New York Times confirmed that thought.

In recent years, the competition for basketball and football scholarships has grown more heated, with colleges recruiting athletes as young as 13. Danner is one of a growing number of high school students who have discovered an alternative route to college through fringe sports like rugby, rowing and lacrosse. More than 180 collegiate rugby clubs have started in the last four years, creating more financial aid opportunities. Roughly 100 women and 75 men across the country, including many minorities, received rugby scholarships last year. Click HERE for more
Each year more and more blacks are showing up as key players at PPL Park during in the Collegiate Rugby Championship. Two years ago, an all black charter school from the D.C. area dominated the high school championship game (they lost in last year's championship game). As an international sport, it’s great to see people from every part of the world participate in rugby. 

The rapid pace of Rugby Sevens reminds me of the Penn Relays as games are only 14 minutes long and there’s little time wasted before the next two teams take the field. 

Below are some details on what goes on in Chester during Rugby weekend. I encourage you to come out and enjoy one of the most entertaining athletic event you’ll ever attend.

In addition to the 20 teams competing in 44 matches over two days at PPL Park later this month, the weekend of May 30th features a number of related events bringing thousands of rugby players to Philadelphia from around the country. "Once we started, we began to hear from other rugby players and teams that they wanted to be in Philadelphia to be part of a national event," Walsh said.  "So we will have a number of the nation's top collegiate women's rugby teams competing in a tournament that is hosted by Neumann University (in Aston, Pennsylvania) with the championship finals in PPL Park.  We will also have a national small college rugby tournament, also hosted by Neumann that features teams including Duke and Middlebury, with their championships game also to be played in PPL Park.  And there will be both a boy's and a girl's high school rugby tournament, hosted at the University of Pennsylvania, with the finals at PPL Park. "In addition, we will have the Super Sevens Exhibition, to get the fans involved and let them in on the game as we continue to move Rugby Sevens forward in the U.S., and hopefully, gain a foothold for a professional league in the not-to-distant future." The current USA Rugby Sevens National team includes 13 full-time players who have competed in the CRC tournament within the past three years. Rugby Sevens features seven players per team playing on the same size pitch as a 15's match and offers non-stop action where speed, high scoring and athleticism dominate the competition. The format allows for constant entertainment with each match split into two seven-minute halves and a new high-energy match starting about every 20 minutes.

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