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New England Wide Becomes Hybrid Conference

  • 19 Jul 2023
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Coast Guard Rugby

The New England Wide Collegiate Rugby Conference (NEWCRC) is realigning a portion of its membership with National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) beginning with the 2022-23 rugby season. Previously, the three-tiered competition belonged to the College Rugby Association of America (CRAA). There is an undetermined number of clubs that have yet to choose between the two organizations. [Lead photo: JJ Fagan]

“After thorough discussions with membership, and extensive deliberations among the NEWCRC Board of Directors, New England Wide Collegiate Rugby Conference will be moving forward with a partial realignment of our women’s programs, beginning in August 2023,” NEWCRC President Dave Meyer wrote to member clubs. “The NEWCRC Board of Directors wishes to thank our members, as well as the administrators from both CRAA and NCR for their patience and active participation in this process, and hope that this coming fall is a successful one for all involved.”

NEW NCR CLUBS

The National Tier represents division II teams that are moving to NCR and that will follow its DII 15s national championship pathway. NCR will name all of its 2023 women’s 15s national champions on December 2-3 in Houston, Texas. These teams will also be eligible for the 7s national championship, which occurs at the late April-early May CRC 7s.

NATIONAL TIER

U.S. Coast Guard Academy
Eastern Connecticut State Univ
Univ Maine Orono
Univ New Hampshire
Tufts
Univ. Vermont

League play kicks off the weekend of Sept. 23, and all six teams will play each other once. The top four teams funnel into league semifinals (Oct. 28) and then championship (Nov. 4). The conference champion and any at-large bids will then move into NCR’s national round of 16/8 in mid-November.

CLUBS REMAINING WITH CRAA

Eight teams comprise the conference’s Regional Tier and they will compete in CRAA’s newly created division 3. Since it’s a new competition, details are still be sorted, but at minimum, it will be a fall 15s competition with the possibility of a separated D3 7s season in the spring. More to come.

REGIONAL TIER

Brandeis
Mount Holyoke
Springfield
Smith
Wellesley
Wentworth
WPI
Yale

The teams are divided into East and West pools. They play their three pool mates and then one crossover match before the Oct. 28 semifinals and Nov. 4 championship. At present, the schedule is holding the weekend of Nov. 11-12 for potential cross-conference matches, but that info is TBD.

TBD

The conference’s Developmental Tier plays 7s and includes 13 teams. Each individual club will make its selection moving forward.

“NEWCRC’s Developmental Tier clubs will be allowed to align with the governing body – CRAA or NCR – that they feel best benefits their club, taking into account club and player registration fees, player developmental pathways, and more,” Meyers wrote. “Developmental clubs that remain aligned with CRAA will feed into the Division 3 national pathway for 7s rugby, while NCR aligned clubs will feed into the NCR Small College 7s national pathway.”

DEVELOPMENTAL TIER

Babson
Central Connecticut
Champlain
Connecticut College
Holy Cross
Johnson & Wales
Lasell
MIT
New Haven
Union
Wesleyan
Westfield
Williams

There is a series of 7s tournaments being held between Sept. 29-Oct. 22, and all members are hosting at least one event. There is an optional end-of-season 7s jamboree at Babson on Oct. 28.

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