Record Crowds and Broadcast Ratings, Overtime Thriller Highlight Landmark Weekend at 2015 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship

Rising NBC Broadcast Figures, Elevated Quality of Play, Great Fan Support All Part of Record-Setting Event at PPL Park

Philadelphia, Penn. – June 3,  2015 – The University of California’s 17-12 come-from-behind overtime thriller over Kutztown University gave the Golden Bears their third straight Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship title Sunday, and put a cap on a landmark weekend for the event at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. Some highlights included:

  • A record setting two day crowd of 24,952 was on hand for the two days of rugby, a 22 percent jump from the previous record set in 2014.
  • Over 200 young football and rugby players participated in the first-ever “Rhino Smart Tackling” clinic in Sunday morning, with former NFL Players Hollis Thomas and Ike Reese of the Philadelphia Eagles, Nate Ebner of the New England Patriots, and NFL Director of Player Programs Matt Birk all on hand assisting.

“All the discussions about rugby’s growth, especially the fast-moving Olympic sport of Sevens Rugby, have been building, and the level of crowd engagement and enthusiasm this weekend really solidified what we have been working towards for the past few years, that this event is becoming the ‘must attend’ not just for rugby fans, but for fans of sport in general,” said Jonathan First, President of United World Sports. “We would not have had such a breakthrough weekend without our partners, especially NBC and Penn Mutual, and are looking forward to something even bigger and better next year.”

“We were elated with our first year sponsorship of the CRC and have already started to plan for making this an even bigger event in 2016 and beyond,” said Eileen McDonnell, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Penn Mutual. “Rugby is the perfect sport for us to engage with student-athletes, and this event is a great fit not just for us but for Philadelphia as well. It continues to have huge potential and we are looking forward to our next step in the partnership.”   

In addition to Cal’s three-peat, the “World’s Largest College Rugby Festival” also included a collegiate women's rugby bracket, a men's small college rugby bracket from the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO), as well as a national high school tournament with both boys and girls teams.  Results included:

  • In the Women’s Championship. Penn State University won its third straight title, defeating Lindenwood University 22-7.
  • In the Penn Mutual NSCRO Final: New Mexico Highlands defeated New England College on a try as time expired 22-19.
  • In the High School Boys Championship, Motley Defeated Thorn 36-7, while in the high school girl’s championship, Glendale defeated Doylestown (Pa.) 22-5.

This year’s main field of 20 teams who competed for the title in the fast-moving Olympic sport of Rugby 7’s included Air Force Academy, University of Alabama, University of Arizona, Arkansas State, Boston College, Clemson, Dartmouth College, Indiana, Kutztown University, Life University, University of Michigan, U.S. Naval Academy, University of Notre Dame, Penn State University, Temple University, St. Joseph’s University, University of Texas, UCLA and Virginia Tech

The championship trophy is named after Pete Dawkins, who as an All-American football standout at West Point won the Heisman Trophy in 1958.  Dawkins was a Rhodes Scholar and attended Oxford, where he used his outstanding football skills to make him a star on the Oxford Varsity rugby team, revolutionizing the game in the process. He was on hand to present the trophy to Cal on Sunday afternoon.

In addition to its CRC sponsorship, Penn Mutual is also title sponsor for The Varsity Cup, the collegiate championship of the 15-a-side rugby format, held earlier this year, and the Top Sponsor for the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO).

The 2016 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship will return to PPL Park on Saturday, June 4th and Sunday, June 5th, 2016.

About United World Sports:  United World Sports (UWS) is the largest commercial rugby entity in the United States, and the owner and operator of a growing portfolio of dynamic sports, media and apparel brands including the USA Sevens Rugby international tournament, the largest professional rugby event in North America; the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, the premier college 7s rugby championship; and the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Championship, the 15s national rugby championship. Through its apparel division, UWS owns the exclusive North and South American license for Rhino Rugby, one of the world’s leading rugby apparel and equipment brands. UWS also owns and operates, the largest and most widely read media destination dedicated to American rugby. For more information about UWS and its properties, visit:

About The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company:  Since its founding in 1847, Penn Mutual has been driven by its noble purpose to create a world of possibilities. At the heart of this purpose is the belief that purchasing life insurance is the most protective, responsible and rewarding action a person can take, and is central to a sound financial plan. The company is committed to helping individuals, families and small businesses unlock life’s possibilities through life insurance and annuity solutions. This is accomplished through a national network of financial professionals, who help clients make great things possible. Penn Mutual supports its field representatives with brokerage services through Honor, Townsend & Kent, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor and wholly owned subsidiary. Member FINRA/SIPC. Visit Penn Mutual on the Internet at

About NBC Sports Group: When the Comcast-NBCUniversal transaction was completed in January 2011, the sports assets of the two companies combined to form NBC Sports Group, which serves sports fans 24/7 with premier live events, insightful studio shows, and compelling original programming. The sports media company consists of a unique array of broadcast television, cable television, radio and digital sports assets, including NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBCSN (NBC Sports Network), Golf Channel, 11 NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBC Sports Radio and NBC Sports Digital.

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