On the eve of the Collegiate Rugby Championship, 122 teams, thousands of athletes, referees, fans and coaches are en route to Maryland for the largest college rugby tournament in the world. Eight national championships will be won, 297 matches played, and more than 68 hours of rugby live-streamed for free.
Every stadium match will be carried live on The Rugby Network over the weekend, including every national championship game from Small College to Premier Cup. The four outer fields will also be streaming nearly non-stop on National Collegiate Rugby’s YouTube, with more than 291 matches broadcast in total.
Friday the men and women share the stadium field for the early rounds. Saturday is championship day for the women, with every division’s semifinal and 28 total women’s knockout matches taking center stage, and Saturday men step into the spotlight Sunday for their championships.
Fighting for the Men’s Premier Cup and the Pete Dawkins Trophy are the 32 best teams in the nation. Top seeds Wheeling, Indiana, Kutztown and Notre Dame are the favorites. Chasing the Prusmack Cup and the Women’s Premier title are the top 16 from coast to coast. Brown is a favorite, coached by two-time CRC champion Rosalind Chou. So is the other No. 1 seed Army, winners of the 2010 CRC.
In Division 1, eight women’s teams and 12 men’s teams are split into pools of four. For the women, Baylor is looking to make a strong CRC debut, alongside fellow debutants Pitt, Cornell, Colgate and UMass. For the men, the University of San Diego is expected to be a contender, alongside MAC Champion Bowling Green and Boston College.
There are a pair of defending champions trying to repeat in Division II – the IUP Crimson Hawks men and Roger Williams women. Technically, Roger Williams won Division I last year, because there was no DII, but five of the teams competing in last year’s DI are chasing the DII crown this year, including runner-up Eau Claire.
In Small College, 18 men’s and 12 women’s teams will battle for national titles. Men’s runner-up from 2022, Christendom, has a short commute from Front Royal, Virginia, and they should be powered by a strong crowd. For the women, we could see a rematch of the Fall 15s final between Endicott and Lee.