Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
Blacksburg and Charlottesville, VA (DATE) – The men’s and women’s rugby teams from the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech have announced a new shield trophy match to commemorate their ancient intrastate rivalry. The creation of this annual event was inspired by the time-honored tradition of the two schools playing for the Commonwealth Cup in football.
The University of Virginia will host the first of these matches on its home pitch in Mad Bowl on October 29, 2011.
Five matches will be held on a single day – men’s A and B teams, women’s A and B teams and a special match that pits the men’s alumni teams against each other. Separate shield trophies will be awarded to the winners of the men’s A team, women’s A team and the alumni team.
Ernest Marshall, head coach for the men’s team at the University of Virginia commented, “So many great things are coming together for rugby in this country right now. We are coming off our first season in the newly formed Atlantic Coast Rugby League and the creation of this Shield Match coincides with the 50th anniversary of rugby at UVa. Virginia and Virginia Tech have superb women’s teams and, should they come into this Shield Match undefeated on their seasons, they could well be playing for both the Shield and the women’s Virginia Rugby Union Championship. This Commonwealth Shield Match between these two great universities is a natural.”
“Now that rugby sevens is an Olympic sport, we are trying to raise awareness of the sport by leveraging a university rivalry that is over a century old,” said Andy Richards, head coach for Virginia Tech Men’s Rugby.
“Because college rugby is a club sport rather than a varsity sport, many people fail to recognize just how dedicated these student-athletes really are.”
As members of the Atlantic Coast Rugby League, the Virginia and Virginia Tech men’s teams already play each other every year in league matchups. However, the Commonwealth Shield competition will be a separate match every year in the fall.
Admission is free to all the games at Mad Bowl on Rugby Road in Charlottesville. The schedule calls for the women’s A teams to kick off at 10:00 a.m. followed immediately thereafter by the women’s B teams, the men’s alumni match, the men’s A teams and then the B teams, in order. Trophy presentations will be held in Mad Bowl immediately following the matches.