The National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) has made a competition-wide move to compete in the Rugby 7s Collegiate Championships (R7CC), which takes place May 14-15 at Kennesaw State’s Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Georgia. There aren’t many details surrounding the NCAA varsity teams’ participation in the new tournament – e.g., number of qualifiers and/or spots reserved for NIRA schools – but there is enough information for a general understanding of how the spring is shaped.
NCAA programs competing in non-NIRA championships is not new. AIC, Army, Dartmouth and Harvard have all competed in the former USA Rugby College 7s Championships, and three of the aforementioned competed in the last tournament in 2019. It’s important to note that DI and DII teams are eligible for the R7CC, but Division III is not (that distinction has to do with language in each divisions’ NCAA bylaws). That’s not to say that DIII teams aren’t playing rugby this spring, because they are.
Both Dartmouth and Quinnipiac have not released their spring schedules, but the rest of DI has, and the field contested its first 7s tournament last weekend at AIC. Army (2), Brown (2), Long Island and Sacred Heart joined the Yellow Jackets in Springfield, Mass. The Black Knights’ top side beat Sacred Heart 31-5 in the final. From that point on, there are 7s options every weekend through April 30 (listed below).
The Harvard 7s tournament on April 2 is a R7CC qualifier. There is no confirmation on additional qualifiers, but updates will be made to this article.
Finally, teams are participating in non-NIRA tournaments and 15s games as well. Sacred Heart is hosting Dartmouth and Quinnipiac on April 16 for 15s. Tropical 7s in Tampa, Fla., is drawing lots of teams. Queens University of Charlotte won Emory & Henry 7s last weekend, too. Navy, Bloomsburg, Life – they’re all holding tournaments that currently feature NIRA teams.
Stay tuned for more information as it’s made available.
NIRA-hosted 7s Tournaments
March 19: AIC 7s @ Springfield, Mass.
DI field: AIC, Army (2), Brown (2), Long Island, Sacred Heart
Championship: Army 31-5 Sacred Heart
March 25: New Haven 7s @ West Haven, Conn.
March 26: Hill Top 7s @ Philippi, W.V. (Alderson Broaddus)
April 2: Crimson 7s @ Cambridge, Mass. (Harvard)
April 9: Queens Cup 7s @ Charlotte, N.C.
April 10: Sorensen 7s @ Providence, R.I. (Brown)
April 15-17: Tropical 7s @ Tampa, Fla.
This is not a NIRA tournament but features on several teams’ schedules
April 16: Princeton 7s @ Princeton, N.J.
The Tigers will play its first NIRA season in fall 2022.
April 23: Ivy 7s Championship @ Cambridge, Mass.
April 23: Bowdoin 7s @ Brunswick, Maine
Bowdoin is a DIII program so the national champion won’t be eligible for R7CC
April 30: Army 7s @ West Point, N.Y.
May 13-15: R7CC 7s @ Kennesaw, Ga.