Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – May 19, 2015 – A plethora of the nation’s top boys and girls high school and club rugby teams will be competing in the High School Rugby Championship (HSRC) during the upcoming 2015 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, set for Saturday , May 30th and Sunday, May 31st at PPL Park in suburban Philadelphia.
The “World’s Largest Rugby Festival,” which already boasts the 20-team field of the nation’s top men’s teams competing for the national championship and the Pete Dawkins Trophy, as well as the 12-team women’s field drawing the top women’s teams from across the country and the National Small College Rugby Organization championship, has invited 48 high school teams from 12 states and the District of Columbia, including Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas and Utah.
The complete field of 48 high school teams includes boys single schools from LaSalle (Pennsylvania); Malvern Prep (Pennsylvania); Sallies (Delaware); Stony Point (Texas); St. Joseph’s Prep (Pennsylvania); Unionville (Pennsylvania); Archmere Academy (Delaware); Bishop Shanahan (Pennsylvania); Pride (Washington, D.C.); Burrell (Pennsylvania); Roman Catholic (Pennsylvania); Downingtown (Pennsylvania); Cumberland Valley (Pennsylvania); and Saint Augustine (New Jersey).
The boys club teams include: Berkshire (Massachusetts); Exiles (Maryland); Greenwich (Connecticut); Kiski (Pennsylvania); SS Irish (Illinois); West Shore (Pennsylvania); Lions 1 and Lions 2 (Utah); Doylestown (Pennsylvania); Glendale (Colorado); North Philly (Pennsylvania); Blaze (New Jersey); North Penn (Pennsylvania); Rocky Mountain (Colorado); and Media (Pennsylvania).
The girls bracket, including both club and high school teams, features: Doylestown (Pennsylvania); Berkshire (Massachusetts);Blaze (New Jersey); South Texas; North Texas; Kiski (Pennsylvania); Downingtown (Pennsylvania); Summit (Colorado); DSHA (Minnesota); West Shore (Pennsylvania); North Penn (Pennsylvania); and West Chester (Pennsylvania).
Pool play in the HSRC will be on Friday, May 29th from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of Pennsylvania, with pool play continuing on Saturday, May 30th at PPL Park, with the semi-finals and finals on Sunday, May 31st at PPL Park.
Also on Sunday, May 31st, as part of the final championship day of the 2015 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, is the “Rhino Heads Up Tackling” clinic for both youth football and rugby players to discuss and demonstrate safe tackling techniques.
“Heads Up Tackling” is a step-by-step protocol to teach the core principles of the skill and sets a new standard in player safety. The program utilizes five fundamentals through a series of drills to reinforce proper tackling mechanics and teach players how to properly tackle with a focus on reducing helmet contacts. It is a technique that rugby has long used as the proper way to tackle, and has drastically reduced head injury and concussion in the sport over the years in both 15’s rugby and 7’s, the game which will be part of the 2016 Olympic in Rio.
Led by former Philadelphia Eagles and now media personalities Hollis Thomas and Ike Reese, Super Bowl champion, former Pro Bowler and now NFL Director of Football Development Matt Birk, and former CRC competitor and member of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, Nate Ebner, the clinic will help educate coaches and young players on the value of safe tackling. It will take place at the new Academy Fields located on the grounds of PPL Park, and all players and coaches will be able to stay for the day’s final Rugby 7’s Championship match that day.
The clinic will help conclude the two-day rugby festival, the largest gathering of collegiate and high school rugby teams in America. It is also the largest and longest-running collegiate Rugby 7’s Championship in the world, with 20 schools competing for the national title. Penn Mutual is in the first of a three year title sponsorship for the event, and NBC Sports is returning as both broadcaster and event partner.
This year’s main field of 20 teams competing for the title in the fast-moving Olympic sport of Rugby 7’s includes the two-time defending champions from the University of California, as well as the 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 winner of the CRC takes home the coveted Pete Dawkins Trophy. The championship trophy is named after 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.
The “World’s Largest College Rugby Festival” also includes a collegiate women's rugby bracket, a men's small college rugby bracket from the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO), as well as the national high school tournament with both boys and girls teams.
The interest in Rugby 7s will continue to grow as the sport returns to the Olympic Games in 2016, following a 92-year hiatus. The Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship is part of a nationwide effort to build American rugby talent in preparation for the Olympics. In the past three years, the Collegiate Rugby Championship has produced 15 players who have gone on to play for the U.S. National teams.
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. The Penn Mutual Varsity Cup was played at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 2.
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 RugbyToday.com, the largest and most widely read media destination dedicated to American rugby. For more information about UWS and its properties, visit: http://www.unitedworldsports.com.
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 http://www.pennmutual.com.
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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