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 (formally PPL Park in Chester), has been home to the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship since 2011.
The 24-team men’s collegiate rugby field in the 2016 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, also features three-time defending champion California, as well as Arizona, Arkansas State, Army, Boston College, Clemson, Dartmouth, Drexel, Indiana, Kutztown, Life, Michigan, Navy, Notre Dame, Penn State, South Carolina, St. Joseph’s, Temple, UCLA, Utah and Virginia Tech.
There is a 16-team field for the 2016 Women’s Collegiate Championship, featuring three-time defending champion Penn State and local favorites Temple, Delaware, Bloomsburg and Kutztown.Joining them in the women’s championship are the teams from Arizona, Boston University, Life, Lindenwood, Michigan and Notre Dame. Newcomers include Ohio State, Princeton, Rutgers and the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) Selects squad, an all-star team chosen from the best of the NSCRO’s sevens teams.
There will also be a Philadelphia City College Championship men’s bracket including Villanova, Penn and LaSalle, and the National Small College Rugby Organization National Championship.
This year, 40 of the top boys and girls high school and club teams will participate from 14 states including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The 16 teams competing in the Boys Open Division are: Union City Mudturtles (NJ); Unionville (PA); National Athletic Village Select (North Carolina); Greenwich (Connecticut); West Chester (PA) Wolfpack; Blackthorn (PA); Bishop Shanahan (PA); Downingtown (PA); Coventry (PA); Burrell (PA); Narberth (PA); past champion Archmere Academy (Delaware); LaSalle Prep (PA); Malvern Prep (PA); Media (PA) and St. Augustine Prep (NJ).
The 12 teams competing in the Boys Elite Division are: Fishers Rugby (Indiana); New Jersey Blaze; Rugby South Carolina; Kiski (PA); National Athletic Village Select (North Carolina); past champion Maryland Exiles; Rhino Academy 1 (California); West Shore (PA); Utah Cannibals; Rock Rugby (Texas); Fairfield (Connecticut) and Rocky Mountain (Colorado).
The Girls Open Division boasts 12 of the nation’s top teams: past champion New Jersey Blaze; Fairfax (Virginia); West Shore (PA); DSHA (Wisconsin); Unionville (PA); Union City Mudturtles (NJ); Kiski (PA); Downingtown (PA); past champion Doylestown (PA); Rock Rugby (Texas); West End Ruckettes (Virginia); and Kingswood High School (Texas).
Pool play in the High School Rugby Championship will be on Friday, June 3rd from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the Boys competing at Neumann University, and the Girls competing at Drexel University. Knock-out rounds are Saturday, June 4th at Talen Energy Stadium and its Academy Fields adjacent to the stadium, with the semi-finals and finals on Sunday, June 5th at Talen Energy Stadium and its Academy Fields as well.