Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – February 11, 2016 – The Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, the largest annual collegiate Rugby Sevens event in the world, today announced that the field for the 2016 Women’s Collegiate Championship will expand to 16 teams for the first time ever, and that the women’s championship final will be televised live nationally on NBC Sports Network.
This year’s event will be held Saturday, June 4th and Sunday June 5th at Talen Energy Stadium (formerly PPL Park), the home of the Philadelphia Union, in Chester, PA.
Putting the spotlight squarely on the new Olympic sport of Rugby Sevens (which will make its return to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer), this two-day rugby festival is one of the largest gatherings 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 once again return as both broadcaster and event partner. Philadelphia, and Talen Energy Stadium, has been home to the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship since 2011.
The women’s collegiate rugby field includes 16 of the nation’s top collegiate programs, including three-time defending champion Penn State (winner in 2013, 2014, and 2015) and local favorites Temple University (which returns to the event after missing the 2015 competition), University of Delaware, and Kutztown University. Also returning to the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship are the women’s rugby squads from American International College (AIC); University of Arizona; Boston University; Life University; Lindenwood University; University of Michigan, and the University of Notre Dame.
New to the expanded line-up this June are Ohio State University; Princeton University; Rutgers University; and the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) Selects squad, an all-star team chosen from the best of the NSCRO’s sevens teams.
Competition in the 2016 Women’s Collegiate Rugby Championship will begin with pool play on Friday, June 3rd at the Academy Fields at Talen Energy Stadium, and continue with playoffs on Saturday, June 4th. Semi-finals and the Championship final will be played on Sunday, June 5th. The Championship final will be telecast live, for the first time, on NBC Sports Network. The winner takes home the Penn Mutual CRC Cup.
The “World’s Largest Collegiate Rugby Festival” also includes an expanded 24-team men’s collegiate rugby sevens championship bracket, with the winner taking home the coveted Pete Dawkins Trophy, as well as the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) national championship, and the nation’s largest high school tournament with both boys and girls teams.
The men’s field was announced in December; additional announcements for each tournament and other events are pending.
The interest in Rugby Sevens (also known as Rugby 7s) will continue to grow as the sport returns to the Olympic Games in 2016, following an 84-year hiatus.