Boulder, Colo. – Locations have been finalized for all five divisions of the 2016 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club National Playoffs. Beginning May 21, 40 teams from across the United States will compete for the Men’s Division I/II/III and the Women’s Division I/II National Championships.
Spanning three locations, this year’s playoffs feature two familiar venues as well as one new to the national rugby scene.
“USA Rugby is eager to deliver a memorable championship experience across these playoff venues,” James Wilber, USA Rugby’s national championships manager, noted. “The community will be welcomed back to the familiar confines of rugby-centric facilities in Pittsburgh and Glendale, and treated to a new stadium venue in the west made possible by a partnership between Tucson RFC and Visit Tucson.”
Located in Tucson, Ariz., the Kino Sports Complex will host the western portion of the National Quarterfinal/Semifinal weekend, to be held May 21 and May 22. The facility features three competition fields for rugby, including two stadium grandstands with capacities of 1,000 and 3,000 seats, respectively. Hosted by the Tucson Rugby Football Club, Pima County Stadium District, and Visit Tucson, the event promises to be a showcase for rugby in the American southwest.
“The Tucson rugby community is truly an international rugby community with a rich history that reaches back nearly five decades,” said John Rouff of Tucson Rugby. “In the eighties and nineties the Michelob Classic brought international rugby clubs to Tucson on an annual basis, so we are excited to be able to reestablish Tucson as a rugby destination."
Across the United States, Founders Field and the Pittsburgh Harlequins return to host the eastern portion of the National Quarterfinal/Semifinal weekend, having previously hosted more than 35 USA Rugby playoff events, including 21 National Championship finals. Founders Field continues to be one of the preeminent rugby facilities in America, featuring two 144m x 70m competition fields, seating for up to 1,200 spectators, and a clubhouse envied by most domestic clubs.
“The Pittsburgh Harlequins are excited to host the 2016 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Men’s & Women’s Club National Playoffs at Founders Field,” said Matt Rosemeyer, executive director for the Pittsburgh Harlequins. “It is an honor to have the top rugby talent compete here as they chase a national title.”
After winners have emerged from both Tucson and Pittsburgh, the National Championship Finals will once again be hosted by the City of Glendale at Infinity Park Stadium in Glendale, Colo. – the only rugby-dedicated municipal stadium of its kind in America. The Men’s Division I and Women’s Division I championships will be held Saturday, June 4, with the Men’s Division II/III and Women’s Division II finals taking place Sunday, June 5. The 4,000-seat venue, located in an enclave of Denver and featuring regular rugby broadcasts to more than 100 countries, continues to remain the gold standard for club rugby venues in the United States.
“Glendale’s Infinity Park is a world-class venue, and a true showcase of what the American rugby experience is about. We’re ecstatic that the City of Glendale is hosting our championships again this year,” said Erik Geib, USA Rugby’s Club Department manager.
“We continue to see stronger crowds every year for our national club playoff events, and we’re delighted to be working with these first-rate venues. It’s important to promote the teams that drive the game locally by continuing to elevate the standards of their championship events,” said Geib.
It is expected that the 2016 USA Rugby Emirates Airline Club 7s National Championship venue will be announced in March 2016. Priority to future club 15s playoffs is allocated as follows, though stronger bids are always capable of overcoming designated geographic preference.
2017: Midwest (NCR1) & Frontier (ACR3)
2018: Atlantic North (NCR3) & Red River (ACR4)
2019: South (NCR2) & Pacific North (ACR1)
“There’s been an emphasis recently on rotating locations to disperse the travel burden placed on teams. By forming a strategic plan for placing events, we’re able to focus on finding the best possible venues in each of these areas” said Wilber.
Parties interested in hosting a future championship series event may contact USA Rugby National Championship Series Manager James Wilber (firstname.lastname@example.org; 720-508-8011). The application for hosting may be accessed here: https://form.jotform.com/42406681623958.
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