Although the season has ended, the Rugby Sports Club has one last goal they want to achieve this year. May 31 and June 1, 12 members of the Rugby team will be playing in the Sevens Tournament in Philadelphia; also called the Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC). They will be playing against the top 20 schools in the United States, including the defending national champion Occidental College, who the Seawolves beat at the Northern California Collegiate Rugby Conference (NCCRC).
The NCCRC took place at University of Pacific College in Stockton. It consisted of 18 games between college rugby teams who are a part of the Northern California conference, with the exception of Occidental College. The Rugby Sports Club won in the NCCRC and qualified to go to the CRC.
“We did well in the North Carolina Sevens Tournament last fall, where we took third place. It was a good learning experience and I feel confident going to this tournament,” said Jack Mcnamara, president of the Rugby Sports Club.
Every year the CRC is held at the Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL) Park in Pennsylvania. It has garnered much media attention, including NBC Sports News, who records the championship every year. It is the highest profile rugby competition in the United States, and continues to grow in popularity, attendance, and participation.
The first time any form of college rugby was aired on television was in 2010, when the first CRC took place. It has allowed smaller schools to be noticed as well as bringing attention to other schools, whether it is personal attention to athletes or new supporters and sponsors for a team. It is an honor to qualify for the CRC and a good experience for all rugby teams whether they win or lose.
“I expect the national championship and we always have a really good time on the road together. It’s been the highlight of my whole college career,” said junior Jake Kuluris. “I’ve been to the three Sevens Tournaments that we’ve been to.”
After the Rugby season ended, the sports club immediately began practicing Sevens to prepare for the CRC. They had a good season and grew from the experience they have had this year.
“We’ve been improving every year since we’ve been a club. Last year we didn’t make it to play-offs and this year we made it to the first round of play-offs,” said Mcnamara. “Last year we played in Sevens and lost in the championships, and this year we made it to two national championships.”
The Rugby Sports Club wants to continue to improve as a team and as a sports club. This is its third year as a club and it has been the strongest year yet. They want to come home with the national title for the CRC, but overall they are grateful that they were able to qualify.
“I played on the Sevens team last year when we went to Colorado. We placed second in the Western region. I feel great about going to this tournament. It’s my last year playing along with Tommy Fallon and Tommy Porter who are also graduating this year,” said senior Declan Maher. “I started playing Rugby here at Sonoma State and I’m kind of burned out, but at the same time I don’t want it to stop. We’re starting a men’s club in Rohnert Park this year that I’ll continue playing with.”
Support the Rugby team on May 31 and June 1 by watching them compete in the CRC on NBC Sports News.