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EGRL Wraps On Another Stellar Season

  • 13 Jun 2024
Rugby Showcase

The Elite Girls Rugby League (EGRL) wrapped on its 2024 15s season, which culminated on June 8-9 in Lebanon, N.J. It was a semifinal/final weekend that once again paired with the 4th annual Rugby Showcase East. The larger tournament welcomes non-EGRL and all-star teams and puts players in front of college rugby and USA Pathway eyes. It’s a truly well run event, run by a devoted administration looking to provide more and better opportunities for its players. [lead photo: @LindsayEisenhart for @RugbyShowcase]


The EGRL was divided into North, Central and South divisions, and there were four teams in each competition. Every team had to play their division mates at least once, scheduling those games on top of their local leagues. And crossover games were also encouraged, especially as one of the semifinal spots is meant for a wild card team.

In the North, Aspetuck (Conn.) went undefeated against Downingtown (Pa.), Morris (N.J.) and Play Rugby (N.J.). West Carroll (Md.) won Central with wins against Corning (N.Y.), Doylestown (Pa.) and North Bay (Md.). And Charlotte Cardinals (“Roonies”) out of North Carolina beat Clayton (S.C.), Raleigh (N.C.) and Wando (S.C.) to take the South division. There were opportunities for crossover matches at the Rugby Showcase South at Guilford College (Greensboro, N.C.) as well as the Gonzaga tournament in D.C.


Aspetuck and West Carroll took their berths to the EGRL semifinals, but the Roonies were unable to travel north for the event. The Charlotte team had won the North Carolina 15s championship nearly a month prior (stay tuned for interview with Alexa Kirschner), so the calendar doesn’t quite work out for the Southern teams. So two wild card teams were called up: Morris (which finished 5th at high school club nationals) and Downingtown (which finished 2nd in Pennsylvania).


On Saturday, June 8, Connecticut state champion Aspetuck (stay tuned for interview with John O’Neill) beat Downingtown 20-12, while Morris held off West Carroll 11-10. The final marked the third time that Aspetuck and Morris had seen each other this spring, and the last time they squared off, it was at nationals in mid-May. Morris won that 5th place game in Wisconsin, adding some incentive for Aspetuck to finish the year on a high. Stay tuned for an interview with head coach John O’Neill, who celebrated a 12-3 victory over Morris on his birthday. It was an especially poignant victory, as it marked the graduation of the team’s founding members who started as freshmen.


Meanwhile, the two grass pitches were alive with Rugby Showcase East games. There was a lot of collaboration between attendees, which included the New Hampshire Ospreys and Illinois Tornadoes, the farthest-traveling teams. There was space for middle school 7s matches, and Saturday ended with the college event. There was more rugby on Sunday, as well as two age-group games, which separate out those athletes are available for NCAA conversations. All told, the showcase drew representatives from 20 college rugby programs.


Similar to the previous three years, the EGRL and showcases were well run, visible events that placed girls’ rugby on center stage. There are livestreams and commentators and podcasts and photos — but they do so many other things than simply put on a good tournament. They are answers to that on-going question of, “How do we improve the game,” and are inspirations for other regions asking that same question.


The league website is such a wonderful resource. Not only is there current and quickly updated data, but there are also perks like team pages and player headshots. The Showcase homepage is equally useful and chock full of extras, like free photos posted days after the event. When the need emerged, EGRL created a select side program and has twice traveled to Florida for the annual all-star 15s event. (There was also a Canada tour in the works, but that’s TBD after the opponent fell through). Its coaches vote on all-league teams and the admin knows where all the seniors are heading for college, and publishes those details. This attention reflects deep, genuine care, and the admin are really special.



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