MORAGA, Calif. –Saint Mary’s College is set to host the 2016 USA Rugby College 15s National Championships Saturday, May 7, USA Rugby announced Wednesday.
The Men’s Division 1A and Division 1AA Finals, as well as the Championship matches for Women’s DI, DII, and the new D1 Elite competition, will be played on the picturesque campus in northern California.
The San Francisco Bay Area has been a rugby and travel destination in the United States for the better part of a century, hosting more than 25 international test matches since 1912. Last year, USA Rugby won the bid to host Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 at AT&T Park in San Francisco and Avaya Stadium in San Jose, and this year’s National Development Summit was held at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront.
On top of the international rugby scene in northern California, the area’s fan base has enjoyed club rugby success at the highest level, and Rugby NorCal is in the early stages of creating a Rookie Rugby league for local youth to continue the trend of rugby being the fastest-growing team sport in the United States.
“This year’s Championships will feature some of the finest competition in collegiate rugby,” USA Rugby Collegiate Director Rich Cortez said. “All of the teams will have fought their way through competitive leagues and playoffs to reach the Finals. We look forward to featuring the College 15s National Championships in the Bay Area, where many of our most prominent rugby athletes have originated.”
Originally opened in 1973, Saint Mary’s Stadium underwent a sizable renovation at the end of 2014, updating the playing surface as well as spectator amenities. The 5,500-seat venue will accommodate the live broadcasts of all five Championship matches on the day.
“Saint Mary’s College of California is honored to host the USA Rugby 2016 College 15s National Championships,” Saint Mary’s Associate Athletic Director Marty Storti said. “We have a long and proud rugby tradition that dates back to 1888. Over the years we have hosted international teams and the best club and college teams this country has to offer.
“Saint Mary’s Stadium is the perfect venue to host such a prestigious day of rugby. The bucolic setting, coupled with the hotbed of club, high school, and college rugby in the San Francisco Bay Area, will undoubtedly bring fans in droves to be part of this great day.”