The Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, the largest annual collegiate rugby event in the world, today announced that the U.S. Naval Academy and the United States Military Academy will both compete for the 2016 title, which will be held the weekend of June 4 and 5, 2016 at Talen Energy Park (formerly PPL Park) in Philadelphia. It marks the first time since 2012 that Army and Navy will meet at the CRC in the Olympic sport of rugby sevens.
“The Penn Mutual CRC continues to grow in stature every year, and we are pleased to be able to add a matchup that transcends collegiate sport, Army and Navy, to our schedule for 2016,” said Tournament Director Donal Walsh. “The Midshipmen have annually been one of the most competitive national programs, and with Army now following many universities and upgrading rugby to varsity status, this rivalry will now extend even deeper on the rugby pitch.”
Navy, under coach Mike Flanagan, reached the quarterfinals of the 2015 CRC after finishing undefeated in pool play. Army, under Matt Sherman, is in their first full year as a varsity sport. They completed the fall 15’s season with a top ten ranking and are expected to be a national contender in sevens as well. The CRC usually takes in added value for the Academies, as the winner 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 then won a Rhodes Scholarship to 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.
This year’s main field of 20 teams includes the three-time defending champions from the University of California, with the majority of the field to be announced in the next few weeks. Three final qualifying schools will be announced in April to complete the field. The two-day rugby festival, the largest gathering of collegiate and high school rugby teams in the world. Penn Mutual is in the second year of a title sponsorship for the event, and NBC Sports will return as both broadcaster and event partner.
The “World’s Largest 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 a national high school tournament with both boys and girls teams. Fields for each of those events will be announced in early 2016.
The interest in Rugby 7s will continue to grow as the sport returns to the Olympic Games in 2016, following an 84-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 the 2015 Collegiate Rugby Championship, 20 of the top colleges and universities competed for the title, including Penn State, Notre Dame, Texas, Michigan, Navy, Indiana and reigning national champion, The University of California Golden Bears.
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 is played in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 7.
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 more than 5,000 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.