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21 June 2013


Something tells me all the VC haters are still picking up their jaws from the floor.

Wonder what Rich Cortez & USA Rugby are going to do?

what time ET is the Japan match?

Where in that linked to Wikipedia article does it say the ratings were higher than espn's NCAA lacrosse? I don't see it. In fact it says "TBD" for 2012 and 2013 ratings. I hope it does but I'd like to see proof.

So the power of NBC has shined their spotlight on another invitational tournament and we'll all declare it a national championship. And people wonder why our U20 program is getting destroyed in France, or why the Eagles are now firmly a tier 3 team that can't beat a tier 2 team, or why the collegiate all-americans are getting beat in New Zealand by basically pick up teams.

We're #1

Good point. When Clever, Z, and Wyles have to hang it up in the next 3-5 yrs, is there much in the age/grade stable to replace them? Manoa & LaValla will be a steadying force at 2nd and back rows but not seeing much else at other positions making a splash here or overseas to have confidence that we'll get out of tier 2 status.

Didn't Nigel have some sort of overseas placement plan to put our 20 or so best in fully supported academy programs in UK? I could be wrong but have a vague memory of something like this reported....

We're Tier 3!

@We're #1, how has getting collegiate rugby on NBC caused these various results? How do you define "tier 3" and "tier 2"? Why do you think that Wairarapa Bush is a "pick up" team?

Who cares if selected teams that aren't the best teams are playing on NBC? A robust competitive collegiate schedule that included many men's club vs college club matches will do all our rep programs much more good than having a college game on NBC once a year.

IRB has their way to define T1, T2 and I assume T3. I view USA as T3 because of our IRB ranking and inability to improve for the last 10 to 20 years. If the USA was in Europe, we would probably not have been to the last 3 world cups. We only have gotten to the RWC the last 20 years because of the generous number of qualifications to the Americas (2) after Argentina qualifies as a result of prior RWC performance. Basically there have been 2 spots plus a playoff opportunity for 2 continents with only a few rugby playing nations other than Argentina. At the current rate of progress the day may come where USA can't beat Chile, Brazil and Uruguay leaving no chance to get into the RWC.

Wairarapa Bush is a NZ union that is going to put together a team to play the all americans. It's a pick up game as the best talent will be off pursuing pro rugby as the ITM Cup teams are finalizing their rosters and starting pre-season training. The very best talent will be with their Super 15 clubs now in mid-season playing for their academy teams.

These are some of the more illogical conclusions and reasoning I've seen. Smacks of INTENSE bitterness and envy. But nevermind. Who cares if the USA ranks whatever against whatever countries. The point should be to elevate the game in this country. Make it legitimate, get it administrative support, make it available to as many kids/athletes as possible. If we do that, then in 10 years, all you IRB nerds will be happy with the national team's performance. But for those who love the game, this is great news because it will add yet more legitimacy to the sport and get more kids playing.

Also, everyone who is bitter about their team not being in the VC should relax. All the top teams will be brought back in over time, minus Life. Sorry, Life, but you are national broadcast poison. And then the coup will be complete and top collegiate rugby will have cleanly broken away from USAR. Minus Army who will be playing exhibition games all fall.

This is the biggest thing to ever happen to college XV rugby. Again, another national milestone with USAr watching from the outside. CRC being the most important milestone.

We know that Army turned down a chance to participate in the VC in order to lose to Life College in the first round of the USAr playoffs. Good luck now to Army playing the tier two schools in the Fall XV championship. Nice work Richy.

We also know that St Mary's and Ark St also both took a pass on the VC. This allowed St Mary's to play for the USAr version of the national championship even though they weren't up to the BYU Cal level. It is clear some schools were happy to see the VC created because it cleared to way for a shot at the USAr title.

The VC championship had the top two teams and a more impressive top 10 teams contribution. The VC was played at much better facilities in front of many more fans. In the final there was no comparison between the standards of play and crowd size.

Cortez, Battle and Melville have poorly managed college rugby and are now just watching what happens next from the outside. They need a subscription to Rugbymag to keep up with the game. Credit the VC teams for some hard work and vision.

How much money is NBC paying for the rights? Doubt it's anything except a revenue sharing deal.

So, the teams I know about that turned the VC down are:
Army, St. Mary's, Florida State, Tennessee & Arkansas State.
Whose sorry now?

Penn State might get the 12th spot for next year, and I think it'll be 16 team competition not long after that.

Also, the statement about teams being 'invited' will have some teams worrying because many have just a 2-year commitment, and I bet that cuts both ways now NBC is in the mix. Teams coming from conferences better not burn too many bridges!

If NBC turns us college rugby into a property that advertisers spend millions to get on board with, it really won't matter what our global ranking is. No one cares about Fiji or whoever. They will watch good rugby played by Americans hitting each other. The universities will fund rugby to ensure they aren't throttled by 100 pts on TV. If you aren't 6'4 and 4.0 40m you'll be watching on TV instead of playing. Not sure how I feel about that outcome.

Hmm. Smyth is looking smarter and smarter. USAR decided to handicap BYU by making its returned-missionary seniors ineligible. So, either he caves or his best kids are locked out of the national championships. Instead, he gets together with Jack Clark (anybody besides me think that move was unexpected, like Nixon going to China?) and they form their own national championships with the old eligibility rules in place. Remarkably, David and Jack get many of the best college programs to join them in their revolt.

This is so cool. They wave the finger at jolly old England's ex-scrum half and the kids win. I actually like many of the folks at USAR, but their management's overwhelming arrogance in dealing with the college game has brought this about.

Go Cougars! Go Bears! Beat USAR!

USAR is trying to run everything with an outdated command and control management style. USAR is more interested in control than innovation or results.

To be fair, the eligibility change was one of many big decisions that the D1A college coaches made as a group, not an order handed down from Cortez and Battle. For better or worse, Boulder tends to manage democratic involvement from participating D1A schools rather than handing down edicts or letting a couple of programs call the shots. Cortez himself has acknowledged to genuine (i.e., not PR outlet RugbyMag) press sources that BYU were in some ways justified to feel hard done by with the eligibility vote, but Boulder abides by the will of the group.

The VC/NBC deal may be a lot of good things, but the bandwagon here may be a little harsh on USA Rugby for not throwing in with events where a couple of coaches get to choose their own warm-up matches for the final or where Temple gets the nod to play if they'll pay to fill the stadium.

To say USA Rugby is "not throwing in with events" would assume that the organizers of the events like CRC and Varsity Cup actually want USA Rugby to be included in the events. They don't want USA Rugby managing anything because USA Rugby adds no value in event management and promotion.

I don't care what side you're on, the NBC deal is great for college rugby.

That being said, please stop telling us all just how amazing the "Varsity" Cup is. Its a flipping 2 team "Tournament" with 10 other pieces of roadkill. I'd love to see if the VC has the balls to put Cal & BYU on the same side of the bracket in this soon to be 12 team crap-fest. The rest of the competition in the VC is just as shyt as the rest of the competition in D1A, outside Life and Ark State. To think otherwise is foolish.

Clemson and Texas are just the latest programs to be suckered in by JC and his magical "money is coming" bull as if NBC and THE Rugby God himself will give them any chance to get to the final.

Hey JC, why don't you prove just how far you're going to take college rugby, you self-righteous ass, and play your championship match outside of Utah and California, and put BYU and Cal on the same side of the bracket and lets see how many fans pack your stadium. 10 years of BYU and Cal in the Final should do wonders for your beloved "Varsity" Cup and the advancement of college rugby.

And please stop with the whole 98% of the past National Champions from the past 30 years are playing in the "Varsity" Cup crap. ...as if Cal doesn't make up 95% of that statistic in an era of club rugby with them being the only Varsity team.

By the way, how many teams in the Varsity Cup are actually Varsity teams? ...Hell of a name though.

Eagles scrum was a joke against Japan. Tolkin's Eagles are a mess. Dude's over his skis. Last fall was a false dawn.

Eagles should play in the Varsity Cup where they will get better TV coverage and will be able to win a game or two.

Central Washington has a shot. No CW sport has ever come as close to getting the level of exposure that rugby is about to get. They have a football team that plays in a 4k seat "stadium". That program is ripe for an injection of serious administrative support.

The Varsity Cup gives non members something to aspire too. With more TV coverage non members can work with their schools to provide more resources to improve their rugby programs in hope of getting into the Varsity Cup. The Varsity Cup will only accept well funded teams with solid coaching and administration.

USA Rugby has not provided anything meaningful for colleges to aspire to.

But... Ark State and SMC were invited. What do you want from them? I dont get this line of argument.

Ark St and SMC probably didnt join VC b/c didnt want to look like they were "following" JC into another venture that he cooked up.

Guessed wrong. It worked this time.

So what if its setup for Cal/BYU final. Others team will eventually rise and compete for title. On TV. With sponsors.

Dont be surprised if UWS ends up being the new governing body. Curremt USAr regmine outsted JC's crew.

USAr "Be gone with you..."
JC "I'll be bach..."

VC(15s) + CRC(7s) + NBC = UWS new governing body

Build it and they will come...

I sense BYU and Cal heard this same complaint as they piled up championships in the USAR competitions. Fact is there just aren't many teams than can compete with them. So the losers are always going to complain. "BYU is older and foreign, Cal has varsity status", on and on.

One thing we can all agree on is USAR is a poor manager and operator of US college rugby, and the 8 now 12 VC teams have done something about it. Swapping out USAr for the Dan Lyle led USA7's group, now apparently called United Sports is a game changer.

The VC not only has BYU and Cal, it has the best teams from most regions. Best team in the Mid-Atlantic in Navy. Best true college in the South-East in Clemson (sorry Life isn't a real college). Best in the Pacific-NW in CWU. Best in SoCal in UCLA. Two best in the West in Utah and BYU. Best in NorCal in Cal. Best in the Ivy in Dartmouth. AFA has 3 national championships!. Texas is second only to A&M and will be greatly helped in the VC. ND is coming back after no rugby for a decade, with a paid campus coach, budget and new rugby facility.

The teams that are said to have said no to the VC are good teams and they have made a grave mistake. Paying your way through the USAR championship only to have the final be played in front of 200 fans in an empty stadium is a crime. It is clear the VC is a much better alternative for all involved.

USAR will always be the governing body and the NGB recognized by USOC. Tournaments have always been independently owned and operated by innovative rugby leadership. CRC is just another tournament that has been very successful. So is LVI and many ther smaller tournaments. Increased focus on Sevens and independent tournaments is decentralizing power away from USAR. The new SBROs, conference, and GUs are also more independent and can do more without relying on USAR. USAR will maintain control of the National Team but everything else is up for grabs. With TV, sponsors and tourney entry fees, more money in US rugby is not going through USAR than goes through USAR. USAR has no money to anything for your club.

Interesting quote from Mike Flannigan at Navy. Referring to NBC and UWS, "this is what we were hoping for with the CPD". This must mean, he was hoping for the CPD to be professionally run like the VC will now be, with a broadcast partner.

Had USAR not so poorly failed with the CPD, we could be looking at that competition being broadcast by NBC. Instead USAR never brought anything to the table, not one dollar, and kept to themselves the proceeds from 18,000 tickets paid over two years at Rio Tinto (18,000x$20=$360,000). The USAR greed and ineffective management caused 9 CPD teams (Tennessee, LSU, Dartmouth, Navy, Texas A&M, BYU, Cal, Claremont, SDSU) to drop out of the CPD.

Then in the first year the VC turns a profit, partners with UWS and NBC and expands the competition.

The VC ran by USAR like they were standing still.

Melville is missing in action, and USAR thinks switching out Todd Bell for Rich Cortez and Kevin Battle is progress. You can only feel bad for the teams under their leadership.

The prediction can only be that there will now be a snow states Fall XV's national championship, a whats leftover Spring XV's national championship. Maybe both of these at D1 and D2. Spring Small college championship run separate from USAR. And the UWS/NBC led CRC 7's and Varsity Cup which are the premier college national championships.

NBC for the final may be good, but if you think the right word for Clemson and Texas is "premier," then you may have difficulty figuring out how to use the remote to watch the final. And if you don't think they are top-level, then you don't mind another "championship" subsidized by a bunch of no-hoper teams' ticket sales being sold to the couch potatoes of the U.S. so long as it puts a rugby match on free TV.

Why expand a weak field to 12 weak teams when you obviously just want to keep just the same two good ones? Being honest about good competition and "growing the game" aren't mutually exclusive.

Clemson almost beat Navy this past Spring. And PSU/Ktown/Army are all stronger teams from the mid atlantic than Navy.

Didn't hear anyone say Navy was too premier these days either. So you're expecting Kutztown to get a VC invite? Maybe Temple or Villanova will get a two-tourneys-for-one invite this year instead. Or we could just throw Auburn in there. Grow the game!

wasnt responding to you

Clemson almost beat UCF too. Looking forward to seeing how UCF responds to their pending VC invite.

Let's get more brand names into the Varsity Cup. Throw in some of those Big 10 keg league teams too!

Tolkin lost control of the squad by throwing caps around like a guy on a fishing trip with an ice cold 30-pack of Bud. By wrapping his pro players in cotton wool when the rest of the pro internationals from the UK, Ireland and France are playing for their country in the June internationals. By accusing the players of not meeting their responsibility to generate passion to play after the Tonga loss while in the same sentence absolved the coaching staff from that role. By relying on the players he knows best from NYAC or Xavier when they aren't the form players in that position or lack playing time. He made his first mistake retaining Clever as the captain with a wink wink that it's his till the 2015 RWC. Clever is trying to coast out the rest of his career looking for sponsorships and glory playing in a soft Japan league that plays fewer games than any other pro league.

If you want to know how a real international coach approaches the June internationals and building a squad culture in a tier 2 nation, view this video of an Eddie Jones interview last week on why to play his best players against Wales, Canada and USA regardless of the quick turnaround between games and getting 3 wins.


- We're #1

The VC already asked a Big 10 team to join. And they said no.

Most of the teams that turned down invites will probably get invites again. The VC will be at least 16 teams with some teams getting the axe after 2 years of getting thumped for fresh blood to be brought in.

I heard the "regional balance" message loud and clear. The competition will likely maintain a "super regional" first-round playoff format, with costs being minimized when teams aren't required to cross the country until the semis (by which time half of the teams will be eliminated). This past year, Cal ended up going East, since BYU was seeded #1. Since BYU won, I'm guessing they'll be seeded #1 again this coming year. So, even though the rest of the teams in a bracket may be from the local region, either BYU or Cal will travel in the first round to preserve the chance for them to meet in the final.

Thus, I'm guessing that additional teams will be added in a "regionally balanced" fashion with an equal number coming from East and West. Just my opinion.

I'm really happy about rugby being on TV, but it would be great for the VC to just be "playoffs." Just like the CRC should be a national championship tournament featuring regional winners and at-large bids. That means losing control of who shows up and the brands they bring. Shame we can't have it both ways. Despite being a fan of both events, I still cringe when I hear the words "national championship" associated with either of them.

The Varsity Cup is just another sports conference with a business plan and a TV contract. Teams are attracted to the conference for a variety of reasons including quality of play, traditional rivalries and revenue potential. If you are not in the VC, you have no say in how it is managed. What is keeping the other conferences from organizing their own business plans and regional TV contracts? Neither USAR nor the VC teams are going to do anything for the other conferences. It is up to the conferences to do the work on their own with whatever resources they can pull together.

At this point they can call their championship game whatever they want. I will be glad to watch on tv.

I keep hearing that Big Ten keg team line over and over. My club is not a Big Ten club, but it has played eight of the now 14 teams in that league over the past few years. None of them could remotely be described as "keg teams". They were student organizations with varying degrees of non-student administration, given varying degrees of money and tangible resources by their universities, trying to play the best rugby they could under the circumstances (which include trying to re-perform at the same standard they finished in the fall for a winter weather shortened schedule at spring national championship). Keg teams - yeah - twenty five years ago.

Keg teams might be unfair, but the Big Ten rugby teams aren't very good. This is just a fact. Its been 20 years since they had even one contender.

The VC is a great new beginning for US college rugby.

Agreed that Big Ten teams are not at the level of the top teams in the country, but at the end of the day, there are truly only 4 to 5 teams that are even close to being able to call themselves elite. And 3 of them play in the VC and 2 of the play in D1A.

This VC venture, while great for its commercial achievement, will do ZERO in terms of raising the level of play among the other teams. Texas, Clemson and Utah. ...and eventually Penn State are/will be the new teams in this thing. Can any of them beat Cal or BYU. If you think the answer is yes, you are lost and shouldn't be on this page.

With the expansion to 12 teams, it creates a first round where there can be regional, relatively competitive first round matches. ND's participation is a joke, if they continue to lose their only game by 70 points to a Cal third side. But now you have the possibility of four teams receiving byes (BYU, Cal, CWU, Navy?) Then you have Clemson v. Dartmouth, Texas v. UCLA, Air Force v. Utah, ND v. Ohio St. Everyone gets a decent matchup where they won't get housed by 50+ before they get douched in the second round.

Is PSU not in the Big Ten?

PSU doesn't play Big 10 rugby.

VC Schedule - Ohio State will NOT be playing in the VC. Im guessing you meant to say Penn St.

And all the guys at the VC are doing by bringing in these half-ass'd brand name teams is they are trying to bring some sort of credibility to their competition when they go to sponsors for money. I get it. but at the same turn they lose credibility with the rugby community, when they call themselves the self proclaimed National Champions, when most know that Life and Ark State are quickly catching up to them yet don't play in the same competition. I know JC wants Life U. to go far, far away, but they aren't going anywhere, anytime soon.

Lets be honest, this is all just a big set up to get BYU and Cal on NBC. And while great for a single event, again, I have zero clue as to how this will help raise the level of play across the board as David Smith even said this would not help bring scholarships to the game. Well then how else are you going to improve the play of these teams? Magic? Without scholarship athletes on these other teams, they will NEVER get to the level of play of a Cal or BYU. period. And yes I know BYU doesn't offer scholarships but those other schools dont have the high school talent pool to pull from like BYU.

I was happy to hear Dan Lyle say that they are possibly looking at a location outside of a campus to hold the championship. If these teams play in a Chicago, or Atlanta (examples) and they can bring in 5,000 people to watch it, then I think they got something.

Jack Clark has built his legacy by always being in a walled garden. For years it was being the only varsity rugby program, with all the benefits of other NCAA sports, in the country. Eventually BYU caught up and now they're building a walled garden together keeping out the likes of Life U, Davenport, Ark State and other undesirables.

Again, The VC invited Ark St last year. Ark St turned it down. No chance Ark St wont be in the VC within 3 years. Life U is going to go away when they dont have anyone of note to play.

Whoever thinks Life U is going away is clueless. They are recruiting too much and investing more in their program. Life U attracts HS players that are not going to get into Cal, Penn St, Texas, or BYU. Call it a non-standard university or whatever makes you feel better about yourself, but the Life Running Eagles will continue to put pressure on the better collegiate clubs and will only get better with time. Life adapted to the collegiate rugby paradigm shift better than many other clubs. Unless 30-40 collegiate rugby clubs become varsity-level soon, Life will continue to vie for top 5 billing in collegiate rugby for quite some time.

Are you dumb? Do people tell you that to "Get a life?" Do you like rugby?

We have a place for you!

Life University

And yet, no one cares how well a rugger performs on standardized tests,

We ALL care how well that same rugger can grab the pill and dot it down in-goal.

Pill? Are you one of those wanna be funny talkers? Classic rugby dbag = Life

Oh dear, you've found me out. I am a "funny talker". Brilliant ad hom analysis that means abso-tively, posi-lutely nothing.

Rugby doesn't care how smart you might be by whatever standard. Rugby doesn't care what college you attend. Rugby cares that you play well and play as a team. Rugby is the great equalizer of sports.

"Rugby doesn't care how smart you might be by whatever standard. Rugby doesn't care what college you attend. Rugby cares that you play well and play as a team. Rugby is the great equalizer of sports."

And that comment shows that you know absolutely nothing about college sports...

Life is a great rugby academy, but very soon, no real college team will play you because USAR nationals won't exist and no conferences will let you in. Then you'll understand that people do care how smart you are and what academic slide rule you are using.

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