Monday, March 12, 2018

Select Side Tournament Venues Announced

Recently, the Midwest Territorial Union and Midwest Competitive Region announced the formation of select sides to represent various regions and states. Ahead of the kick-off of the competition, news came down laying out when and where the opening matches would take place.

There will be teams formed from the Allegheny, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Chicago Area, Michigan and Minnesota Unions. A special President's Selects will be formed to help round out the women's side of the bracket. Once the best 28 players have been placed on their respective teams, they will prepare and then converge on their respective venues.

Since teams will be traveling from all around the region, two match locations have been selected for each round to best account for these travel requirements.

For the women, the Conference Round of matches will happen on the weekend of April 14-15. The Eastern Conference teams - Allegheny, Indiana, Ohio, President’s Selects East - will face off at Bailey Park (2289 Knapp Avenue) in Youngstown, Ohio. For this weekend, the Allegheny Union will act as host. The Western Conference teams - Wisconsin, CARFU, Minnesota, President’s Selects West - will take the field at the Wisconsin Rugby Sports Complex (4064 Vilas Road)  in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin will play host during this leg of the competition.

The men will play the following weekend, April 21-22. The Eastern Conference sides - Allegheny, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio - will compete at the Fortress Obetz (1841 Williams Road) in Columbus, Ohio. The Ohio side will play host to this opening round of matches. The Wisconsin Union will host the Western Conference men's teams -  CARFU, Iowa and Minnesota - at the Wisconsin Rugby Sports Complex as well.

The first round of matches will be determined by lottery drawing. Once that process is completed, a schedule will be sent out the week before to the competition commences. These matches will happen on Saturday, while the second round will happen on Sunday. These matches will pit the two winners from Saturday against one another; and the two losers will play one another as well. Once the Conference Round is completed, sides will be placed into cup, plate, bowl and shield finals. The competition will conclude at the Chicago Blaze's facility on May 5.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Canton Continues Elite Coaching Tradition

Every old dog needs to learn some new tricks now and then. The Canton Maddogs are taking active steps to expose high school players to different styles of and philosophies on play. In February, Canton Area High School Rugby will hold the third iteration of its Indoor Elite-Level Guest Coach Series.

Throughout the month of February, the men's team will welcome some accomplished and diverse rugby minds to come and impart some knowledge on the club's members. In the past, coaches like Brandon Sparks, from the University of Michigan; Mike Hidgins, from the University of Buffalo, and players from Notre Dame College led clinics for coaches as well as players involved with Canton's club. These men took the time to spread the knowledge they have because they know the importance of supporting up-and-coming clubs.

"These coaches understand that USA Rugby is almost entirely a grassroots community," said Chad Everitt, the event's organizer. "They have committed countless hours to the sport and to developing young men and women as the young players grow into adult roles."

This year's slate of guest coaches certainly have the pedigree necessary to continue that trend.The 2018 docket includes Jason Fox, Donnie Harbert and Stoney Brooks. Fox and Brooks have their roots in the realm of coaching collegiate men's rugby, while Harbert has foud success on the senior level in the men's and women's leagues. Though their experiences are diverse, what unites them is the time each has dedicated to honing the craft of coaching and bringing the best out of each player.

"We greatly appreciate their time and efforts," Everitt said. "These coaches are leaders, who I gladly invite to work with the student-athletes I coach. They are examples of what an American-born rugby player can become with dedication and hard work."

The sessions are open to everyone from the Canton rugby community - youth to senior, player and coach alike. Fox's session is tentatively set to kick off this year's sessions on February 11, followed by Harbert on February 18 and Brooks on February 25. All sessions will be held at the Hall of Fame Fitness Center. Times may vary. For details, head over to the Canton Area High School Rugby Facebook page.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Findlay Rugby Hosts Introductory Rugby Referee Class

The University of Findlay is working with the city's rugby community to provide an educational opportunity on its campus. On March 4, 2018, the university will host a referee course for anyone looking to get certified in time for spring rugby.

The university, in conjunction with its women's rugby team and the SCARS RFC, will host a Level 1 clinic for aspiring referees. Everything kicks off bright and early at 8:00am.

A portion of the class will take place in the classroom, but the  bulk of the day will be spent in the gym or on the pitch. Those that attend will role-play during the practical sessions, so participants should prepare for physical activity. Active clothing an weather-appropriate attire is recommended, as well as footwear for gym and field use.

Those interested in attending should register ahead of time. Registration involves registering with World Rugby an then completing the online modules provided. After each module is completed, download the certificate send it off to USA Rugby. The modules are the Law Exam, the Rugby Ready program and Concussion Management.

The deadline to complete these steps is February 28, 2018.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Registration Open for 2018 North Coast Rugby Festival

Spring carries various meanings for different people. It signals the time for certain traditions and ceremonies to take place. In Northeast Ohio, one such springtime tradition is the North Coast Rugby Festival.

This year's event is on March 24, 2018 at Mentor High School (6477 Center Street Mentor, Ohio). The competition is open to any varsity, JV and freshman high school teams that want to attend. The event routinely attracts teams from all over the Cleveland area and beyond. Even though entries are still being gathered, this year should be no different.

This year's tournament will be an all-day affair. Teams will take over  the MHS football field starting at 9:00am and go through 4:00pm. During this time each team will take part in two matches.  

Teams interested in in participating are being asked to register now. Team entry fees are $250, with a discount for teams that can provide a referee. All domestic teams must be registered with USA Rugby; and international sides need to have a tour sanctioning certificate.

Entry fees and RSVP can be sent to John Hummel at: 7394 South Chestnut Commons Mentor, Ohio 44060. Checks can be made out to a Mentor Rugby.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Midwest Opens Opportunities with Ohio Elite Teams

The Midwest Rugby Football Union is bringing elite-level rugby opportunities to the Buckeye State. A new competition set for the upcoming Spring will pit men and women from Ohio against representatives from other states and, potentially, put them on a course for higher-level competition.

There will be two squads coming out of Ohio for the slate of Spring matches, the Ohio Men's and Women's Elite teams. Rosters will be filled after four tryouts are held in March and April. Each tryout will take place on a Sunday and be held in different locations throughout the state. The two earlier dates will be on March 18 and 25, while the later sessions will be on April 8 and 15. While the dates have been established, locations are still being finalized.

Men's and women's teams will compete in two rounds of matches: Conference Rounds and Championship Rounds. The women will complete their conference play on April 14 and 15, while the men will play on April 21 and 22. On May 5 and 6 everyone will come together for the championship deciders. Venues for matches are still being sought out by MWRFU representatives. Players selected for the Ohio teams will face competition from the Allegheny, Chicago Area, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin unions. Details regarding format of play, participation guidelines and locations are being hammered out as well.

Those who participate on the Ohio teams will do more than just travel the beautiful Midwestern landscape and play a few weekends. Participants on these sides will be evaluated for slots on the Thunderbirds Select sides as well.

Stay tuned to the MWRFU Facebook page for details as they arise.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Referee Fund Set to Send Officials Overseas

In the rugby world there are vast amounts of opportunities for players to travel abroad and seek out the highest level of training possible. Now, thanks to the Shanagher Morris Referee Fund, there is an opportunity for the game's officiants to get some schooling overseas.

The Fund, created by the USA Rugby Trust, will send one referee to Stellenbosch in South Africa to attend the South Africa Referee Academy. While at the Academy, the chosen referee will learn from and train with some of the world's most highly skilled referees in a fully immersive environment.

The fund will cover all costs associated with the trip, including travel and lodging.

Qualified applicants are referees with a C rating that are at least 20 years old and a current member of USA Rugby. The application process requires two letters of recommendation, a rugby resume and an officiating resume and essay questions.

Applications are due January 26, 2018. The recipients of the Fund will be chosen at the end of the month.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Wee Bolts Bring Rugby Opportunities to Dayton Youths

The rugby community in the Dayton area is planting the roots for the sport's future. This Spring, the Wee Bolts will have its inaugural season for players from kindergarten through the sixth grade, and registration is open now.

The Wee Bolts is open to. boys and girls in the Dayton area that are interested in taking up the sport. The groups break down along age groups, with players is kindergarten through second grade participating in co-ed flag play. Third- and fourth-grade players will have participate in co-ed flag as well. Players in the fifth and sixth grade will play in full tackle matches.

The schedule is still being fleshed out, but matches will be held at the Dayton Rugby Grounds (620 Shiloh Drive, Dayton 45415).

While not much is known about the what the Wee Bolts' teams or season will look like, what is certain is that there is a high expectation for player, coach and parent conduct. Front-and-center in the Wee Bolts' Culture Corner is a code used by the England RFU. It implores that everyone around the sport to embody values of dignity and respect, among others, to ensure that everything is enjoyable for all people involved.

For more information on the teams and the plan for the spring season, e-mail questions to the Wee Bolts' e-mail or visit the Web site.