SHSU will host the men’s National Rugby Championships April 19, at the Intramural Field 3 on campus.
This year the final eight qualifying rugby Collegiate Division II teams will compete in the soon-to-be-converted rugby pitch on Saturday. From the selected eight teams, two teams will qualify for finals in San Jose, Calif.
SHSU is not only hosting USA Rugby, the 25-member team has also qualified to compete in this year’s event.
“USA rugby is much like the NCAA,” said Amy Swingle, Recreational Sports assistant director for special events. “It oversees rugby at all levels.”
The SHSU rugby team also competed in last year’s finals, placing fourth in Arkansas, Swingle said.
“We made it to this point last year,” said Rugby Club president James Browder. “We won quarter-finals and then lost the semi-finals to Northern Iowa.”
Swingle said the event is a big deal because to their knowledge this is the first time in the history of SHSU that a National Championship has been hosted on campus.
The playoffs begin on Saturday at 10 a.m. when Middlebury College takes on the University of Northern Colorado. The next game is at 11:45 a.m. when Radford University plays against Arkansas State.
At 1:30 p.m. Claremont College will compete against the University of Northern Iowa. In the last game of the day, SHSU against Santa Rosa Junior College at 3:15 p.m.
The four winning teams of the semi-finals will then compete on Sunday at noon and at 1:45 p.m. for the two final spots.
Browder said he hopes the team will have a supportive crowd on hand to watch them compete for the title.
“We have home field advantage and would love to see students come out and support us,” he said.
Admission to the championship is free of charge. Food and drinks will be available for purchase all day.
The Rugby Alumni Association has donated its time and food to the event. All proceeds from the championships will go towards the expenses the team will need if they qualify to compete in the final tournament in California.